Finally, I Have Hair!

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will be quite familiar with my on-going hair dilemma!  Ironically, when I lost all of my hair just two weeks after starting chemo, I was not the least bit disturbed.  I had heard many stories of women whose pre-chemo hair was replaced by a head of luxurious curls when their chemo ended.  I never did really like my hair; it was too thin, too fine, and too mousey brown.   I would gladly sacrifice that hair for a big mane of sexy curls!

After chemo ended, I would rush off to a mirror every morning and examine my head under a bright light, eagerly anticipating my chemo curls.  But alas, they never appeared.  Instead of the prize winning locks, I got the consolation prize:  even thinner than before, baby fine hair, with what I can only describe as bald patches on the top and sides.  Yes folks, I had been ripped off!  At that point, I would have given anything to have my old fine, mousey hair back.

Since losing my hair, I have learned to be creative in disguising my near-baldness, with the use of:

Wigs

flo now

Hats

new year 8

And Hairbands (hint: I would rub dark brown eye shadow on the exposed areas of the scalp)

DSCN2172

I can handle the loss of my breast.  With the prosthesis, it isn’t even noticeable.  I can cope with the hot flashes.  I just deep breathe my way through them.  But the lack of hair is one side effect of chemo that really put a dent in my self-esteem.

Female baldness.  Even the words strike horror in the hearts of women.  Although my chemo ended 17 months ago, hair loss is also one of the side effects of the drug Tamoxafin, which I have been prescribed for five years.  So with no promise of hair in the near future, I desperately went surfing the net.

Between the snake oils and witches brews (all of which I tried of course), I found a medicated product called Women’s Rogaine.  I am reluctant to put anything on or in my body which could potentially do harm, so I talked to my oncologist and a pharmacist at the cancer center, and they assured me it is safe.  (If you decide to try this, DO talk to your health care provider first!) The effects were very slow and subtle, but it worked!  I wish I had a before picture to share, but I was too ashamed to have a photo taken of my near-baldness.   But I sort of looked like this:

Krusty

 (well at least in MY mind, that’s how I looked).

Here is my new hair, since I started using Women’s Rogaine:

hair2

(Excuse the extreme close up, I am not good at “selfies”)  No, I’m no Farrah Fawcett, not even a Halle Berry, but at least people no longer point and laugh when I walk by, and hardly any little kids start to cry and run away when they see me.  I am joking of course, but it just goes to show how my lack of hair affected my self-image.  I still use wigs when dressing up for formal events, but on a day to day basis, I go with what the good Lord and the people at Rogaine gave me!

(P.S….I have changed my facebook like page, so check above if you still LIKE!)

 

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21 thoughts on “Finally, I Have Hair!

  1. Yes, you were cheated! New hair should be part of the deal after all the chemo! 😉 Mine came after my second chemo baldness and I like it so much better than my old hair. I’m glad your hair is finally coming in — you look lovely in all the photos!

  2. Yay!!!!! So glad you are having success with getting your hair to grow back! You are a beautiful person, no matter what. Agree with Susan – the color is fabulous!

  3. Yea!! I think your pixie hairstyle looks adorable on you girl!! I also think you rock the bandana on the head look, which you can still do with a full head of hair. There are so many things that cancer makes you deal with. One of my best friends doesn’t have cancer, but she has alopecia and it causes her tremendous grief. More power to you for having to deal with all of this stuff. Celeste 🙂

  4. I’m glad you took the matter into your own hands – very proactive of you! My hair took a long time to grow back in evenly, so now it’s only a bit bare at the very top and temples. You look great with that lovely short hair. I hope it continues to fill in and grow out! ~Catherine

  5. Pingback: Weekly Round Up: The Survivors Day Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  6. Hello. I know this is a very late reply but I happened to google “womens rogaine cancer survivors” and saw your post. It was so refreshing to hear your story as it reminded me of my thoughts and feelings about losing my hair and it not growing back the same. Do you still use the rogaine? If so, how is your hair holding up? I have two cowlicks in the back of my head so it looks like I have two bald spots. Ugh. And my hair used to be long and super thick. Now it’s thin and lifeless and the top won’t grow. It just keeps breaking off. Anyway, please let me know if I should attempt to use the womens rogaine! Thank you! ~ Warrior Sister from San Diego

    • Sounds like me. I still have spots no follicles.Think I may try Rogaine,even though(,other post)my head finally filled in after 7years.

  7. Hello. I know this is a late reply to your post but I just found it today as I was googling “womens rogaine cancer survivors”. Your story and feelings are similar to mine. I was diagnosed in May of 2011. Had chemo until November then Herceptin for another year. I am also on Tamixifen for what I thought was going to be 5 years but I have since learned it will be a total of 10. (Sigh). I was 44 when diagnosed and now I am 48. I used to have thick and long hair. Now I have thin and blah hair. I have two cowlicks on the back of my head so it looks like two round bald spots. I know you can relate. Some people tell me that i shouldn’t worry about the hair thing but they just dont understand how important it is to some people. Anyway, i read what you wrote about the Rogaine. I am hoping it works for me as well. Can you tell me if you are still using it? How is your hair now? Thanks so much! And i wish you the best! ~ Jessica

  8. 2008chemo 3months then 28radiation treatments pelvis for endometrial cancer. First baby fuzz grew in late summer, then gradually bald patches, upside down back to forehead growth pattern, cowlick bald spots and previous scalp biopsy scar all caused painful, stubborn, slow ,patchy growth. Ugly growth. Fast-forward now, after every oil,Biotin,Nioxin, almost completely filled in, but still bald spots back left side head and left on top. Cardiologist said ok to use Rogaine. Do you think it might help complete the hair growth? Tired of this in Fort Worth(But a walking miracle!😄

  9. I too have the same problem. 19 months after chemo my hair growth is worse than a new born baby. I take Biotin, Pre natal vitamins, bosley shampoo products. I thought of buying Rogaine, but someone told me once you start it, you can’t stop using it. Does anyone know if that is true? Very expensive if you have to use it for life??

    • 7years since chemo.Terrible,painful upside-down slow growth,cow-licks &scar on scalp making it worse. Everything but Rogaine tried.Finally Biotin(Hair Skin Nails Vitamin,olive oil,dermatologist cortisone rx,now Sally Beauty scalp stimulant spray&finally scalp filled in.My Oncologist puzzled why I had so much trouble.

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