So, two weeks after my first chemo, just as the doctors predicted, my hair fell out. It doesn't fall out like it does in movies, on your pillow. For me, it happened while I was washing my hair. I would put shampoo in and instead of coming away with sudsy hands, I came away with full clumps of hair. Big clumps. Fistfuls. On the third day of this happening, I realized that it was too traumatizing to keep watching my hair come out in clumps in the shower. This is where I followed two pieces of advice that I regret.
|December 2010: Three months before diagnosis. Almost five months pregnant. Just two girls with fab hair.|
|Two weeks before diagnosis. Six months pregnant. In non-maternity dress. It looks like I ate Gavin. Who would have thought those big boobs were busy trying to kill me?|
2. I read something that said, "The anxiety about losing your hair is worse than actually losing your hair." I couldn't get that thought out of my head. I thought about losing my hair day and night. Many people will tell you that losing your hair is a superficial thought when you are facing CANCER. Why on Earth would you care about your hair when you are fighting for you life? I will tell you why. Because cancer is scary and unknown and takes all pretty out of you. And your hair is normal. Your hair is a routine. And people without hair look SICK. I don't look sick in this picture above. It was taken two weeks before my diagnosis while we were on a family vacation in Florida. I was feeling GREAT.
|Pony tail shot while sitting watching the Disney parade; two weeks before diagnosis. Six months pregnant.|
|P.S. I am carrying Brian's bag in this picture because he hates carrying stuff. It took cancer and third-trimester pregnancy for him to carry everything.|
AND THAT WAS INSANE.
We stood in the shower together so we could keep the mess in one place. We took scissors and cut my ponytail off so it could be donated to Locks of Love. Then, Brian took the clippers and shaved my head, row-by-row. Each piece came off. And I cried. And he shaved some more. And I cried again.
After we were done, I couldn't bring myself to do anything. I crawled into my bed, in the middle of the afternoon. I cried and slept and cried and felt bad for myself and cried again. And when I was done, I got up and put on a scarf.
|The night I delivered Evan. Three chemo treatments in. 36 weeks pregnant.|
|With my new baby...and my bald head.|
|No hair. No eyebrows. No eyelashes. My two week old baby had more going on.|
|Halloween. Wearing my favorite scarf. Two weeks after double mastectomy. I wore my wig to the Halloween parade at school but would wear my scarf at home.|
|Without scarf! November 2011|
This started the growing out process. WHAT A CHORE. Chemo-hair is not the same as non-chemo hair. The texture is different, the way your hair parts is different and it does not cooperate. I started following the advice of another breast-cancer survivor, to cut your hair regularly until the texture reverts back to "normal".
|May 2012: A year after I lost my hair, it now fully covers my head. And is curly!|
|My hair is longer than Evan's!|
The Brazilian Blowout is a chemical technique used to straighten and smooth hair. It changes your texture! I was willing to take a drastic measure and consequently, pay a drastic price! I had the treatment done three weeks ago and I LOVE IT! I am able to use a blow dryer again! I can use a hair straightener! And I can even get a bobby pin in it! I am on my way to looking like a real, healthy person again. My Brazilian blow-out was a perfect way to celebrate my cancer free news.
Pictures coming soon. Unfortunately, I write this blog in the morning and I have morning-hair that looks just as crazy as it always did - long or short.
If I ever have to go through chemo again, I won't shave my head. I can't stand the thought of doing that again. To me, your hair represents health and strength and confidence. I would like to keep it on my head, where it belongs! But my Hair Journey is a part of my Cancer Journey. This journey has taught me humility and gratefulness and how to appreciate every moment...and every strand.