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They say it is "just" hair!

When we had it, we loved and hated it, we wished it was curly when it was straight and straight when it was curly.  We had good hair days and bad hair days.....then comes the day when we go through chemo treatment and we start to lose it. For some this is a slow process and others fast.  It may come out and will look more like "thinning" and for others in clumps.  For all of us going through this journey, we decide how this process continues.  Some decide that they want to take control and will shave it off fairly early on, some want to see the thinning through and see how "troll-like" we get and others decide to shave it off as it can be a painful process both emotionally and physically.  Whatever is decided, it is an individual's journey.  After this, we deal with having no hair at all.  This is when we see if we what kind of scalp we actually have.  Some are unable to look at it and really grieve this process.  Some will embrace it, "rock it" and will go "commando", wear scarves or wear a wig.  When treatment comes to an end, we start to see some growth which may start to look like "peach fuzz", could be patchy, could come in nicely.  As it grows, it may grow in thicker, darker, lighter, grey, curly, is a surprise to us all as to what this looks like.  
As mine has come in both darker and a bit thicker with a little curl, I have accepted what is.  I got to the point where it needed some "cleaning up" with a hair cut as it continues to grow.  I was excited, picked a hairdresser and booked the appointment.  My husband dropped me off and as soon as I walked in, the girl was super nice and sat me down to discuss what I wanted to achieve and what we could do.  What I did not expect was the wave of emotion that came over me.  I could not talk without crying. She was so good and took it in stride.  My appointment continued with me experiencing intermittent waves of emotion that lead to tears.  When she was finished and I went to pay, she told me she wanted to "gift me" my appointment.  I refused saying that it was not necessary but she insisted.  I told her she was going to make me cry which she did and she told me to go so that she could shed some tears and I some of my own.  When I got into the vehicle when my husband picked me up, he was wondering what was wrong and probably assumed I received some bad news.  I told him they were happy tears, in which he hugged me and the entire rest of the day and even still as I write this it brings tears.  Just when one thinks they "have it together" and are moving on, the emotions can hit.  I wanted to share this with all my sisters here.  Know that this is a process and for someone else, this type of emotion may occur over something else.  We have been through a lot, continue to walk our journey and it is okay to experience emotional days.  For those out there that tell you "it's just hair", it isn' is part of you, has been part of your identity for a very long time and losing signifies yet another loss, another process to overcome and all that it signifies emotionally and physically.  Yes, it grows back but it typically isn't the same as before. Welcome the "new" you, celebrate it and enjoy having it again as none of us know if we will go through the process of losing it again.  
Hugs to all of you out there wherever you are in this process! <3


  • Thank you for such a heartfelt sharing of your experience.  2 weeks after my first chemo treatment, my hair was coming out in handfuls so I went the route of buzzing it all off.  That was done on Christmas Eve so Christmas pictures are very different this year.  Thankfully, my family and I have a great sense of humour and we even took pictures of me holding a rutabaga because I honestly looked just like it.

    I have toyed with the idea of getting a wig but am not sure it is for me.  I agree that each woman has their own experiences with this and it is not "just hair". I worry that some women think that if they are worried about their hair it is vane or trivial and it is most definitely not. It is another thing that cancer takes from us and none of it is fair. 

    I pray that all of us going through this most difficult process find the strength to feel all the feels and to allow ourselves to grieve along the way. 

    Sending love to all.
  • @Strongwoman - My mother always said a woman's hair is her crowning glory. I inherited my naturally curly hair from her - most of my life it's been both a blessing and a curse.
    Between my first and second chemo treatments, I shaved it off. At the time, it was the one thing I had control over. The same day I took a picture with my husband and son - both of whom are follically challenged. I thought about getting a wig, but opted for scarves, hats and caps - my chemo was in the spring and summer.
    But for me, the devastation of losing my eyelashes overshadowed losing my hair. I could even do without eyebrows because I could 'add' them. But no lashes? I bought false eyelashes but with no lash line to guide me, I figured I'd end up with glue in my eyes and kiboshed that idea.
    I was thrilled to see little lashes sprouting after chemo. My hair grew back with the same curl, but it was softer, and remained so for about a year before the coarse texture returned.  I had the bonus of black fuzz on my cheeks and neck! After many hours of searching on the internet, I determined that waxing was the best way to remove it, which I did. Fortunately, it didn't return.
    My crowning glory is once again curly, and now almost completely gray. There are still days I bless or curse the curls, sometimes both in the same day.

  • Fearless_Moderator
    That is a beautiful, moving testament to the resilience we all rely on to get through each day.  Your tears at the salon so resonated with me Strongwoman.  Even six years later I find myself breaking down in tears when unexpected triggers appear.  So easy to look brave and in control isn't it.....much harder to actually be that.  

    Hugs back to you Strongwoman.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently.