Tag Archive | chemo

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)

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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!)

 

Perk # 45: Say Good-Bye To Bad Hair Days

It may be close to Christmas, but you would never say it with the weather we had yesterday.  I dreaded going out into the heavy rain and wind  to run my errands, but alas I had hungry mouths to feed.   As I sprinted in to the grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice how many hair-do’s had gone awry in the bad weather.  There were flat do’s, frizzy do’s, and sticking-out-at-weird-angles-do’s.  I  smugly grinned to myself, thinking how super sleek my hair still looks despite the weather. You see,  I have the advantage of being able to leave my hair at home on bad days, and wear a stylish hat instead.

Tip:  If chemo has robbed you of your hair, buy yourself a good selection of hats and caps  and leave the wig at home when the weather is bad.

 

Perk # 38: Cancer Really Makes Me Appreciate The Good Days.

Wake me up for Christmas!

I am now lying in bed….in full chemo attack mode…..fondly reminiscing about the pre cancer days when my BFF, Jackie, would call me up to compare hangover symptoms.   She would say something like, “I’m perishing here,” and I would respond, “I’m sick enough to be prayed for in church.”  Well, not to sound morbid (since this is meant to be an up-lifting blog), but if you take your worst hangover day and multiply it by 100, then you’ve got a bad chemo day.

The thing that helps me through the rough days is my favourite mantra: This too shall pass.  It will pass, and I will feel good again!  Even on the days when I feel “normal-ish”  I can almost hear the  Alleluia chorus singing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alll-eee—luuuuu—IAAAAAA!  So I can only imagine how grateful I will be when this sickness is behind me.  I will never again take another “good day” for granted.

p.s. Wednesday, December 7th was my LAST chemo!

Tip:  When times get rough, just remember:  This too shall pass.

Perk #3: I Get Fast Tracked For Bloodwork

We all know how boring and time consuming it is waiting to have blood work and other lab tests done.  Before cancer, I would sit in the waiting room for hours, trying to look dignified while holding a bottle of pee in my hand.  Well now, at my hospital at least, all I need to do is say I am a chemo patient and I get fast tracked!  I think the rationale is that they don’t want us chemo patients  hanging out with “sick people” since our immune systems are low.  Hey, works for me!   I also have a special parking permit for chemo patients so that I am guaranteed a parking spot close to the hospital.

Tip:  Use your chemo status to your advantage. Find out if your hospital will fast track your routine lab tests, or give preferred parking.  It doesn’t hurt to ask!