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Need Hair Opinion from the Women of the Board


ursol

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Within the next two weeks, I will be starting Chemo and Radiation although it has not been specifically scheduled because I'm waiting for some biopsy results. Not sure which chemo drugs yet but my guess is they will be strong as I was told I would be given very aggressive treatment. Therefore, I'm assuming my hair will start to fall. Hair is one feature I have that I have always loved and have never had short hair in my 40 years.

I'm considering calling my hairdresser and telling him to cut my hair to the most stylish shortest cut he can do for me so that my children can see what I look like without the long hair and also to prepare myself for the inevitable. Someone told me the long hair falling out may be very upsetting and may be easier to deal with if my hair is short. What do you all think? Would love any opinions.

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That sounds like a good idea. Also, if you get a wig, you might not want a long, long one. This will give you a chance to see how you like shorter hair. But, don't buy a wig until you talk to your doctor. Some chemos don't cause hair loss. Good luck.

Muriel

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I can tell you that even at 31 years old and understanding completely what was going on AND Mom having short hair...the first time we "buzzed" it after chemo made me emotional.

But..remember that not ALL chemo will cause alopecia anymore, and some that do are NOT complete!

I think it's a wonderful idea to prepare the kids (especially at their ages) for the probability that your hair will thin at the least and be gone at the most. I just want you to know that not EVERYONE loses all their hair! LOL Mom lost a patch on the right side of her head and thinned all over and since she had short hair, it looked terrible so we buzzed her.

Many prayers for you ALL...do what your gut tells ya to...it's usually right!

xoxo

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Since Missy beats me to these things usually, I do have to agree with most of what has been said.I've ALWAYS had short hair, so it was no big deal to me . I'm also a hairdresser....so again , no big deal. Your kids are pretty young -but again not all chemos make your hair fall out. I was actually dissapointed when I had taxol/carbo -they told me I WOULD LOOSE my hair. ( I always wanted to know how it felt to have NO hair on your head. Mine did not fall all out. It fell out here and there -and of course there's always the hair all over the place. My hair is normally THICK. so when it started falling out I had the amount that most people have. I couldn't take the hair all over the house - so I had my 6 year old granddaughter shave it off for me. She became part of my journey - mostly so she could understand what was going on with me. The other 2 were 4 and 3. the 4 year old came in and said grandma you have no hair ! She rubbed my bald head and off she went. The 3 year old came in and walked right by me. Still don't know if he didn't notice -or care.

When I started my WBR they said I WOULD LOOSE IT FOR SURE. This time I lost it in patches - the funny of the family is which continent does it look like today.

So I opted to shave it off again - this time I had the 2 youngest do it for me.

They had the time of their lives. Again I didn't want them scared of my bald head . I still have not lost ALL of my hair - bald looks better than it did. It really is comfortable. My husband just shakes his head. I told him years ago I wanted to shave my head and he said I'd have to wear a wig in public. I do not wear a wig anywhere. I wear a hat in the sun but that's it. I didn't want to be bald because of cancer but - we don't have a choice sometimes .

I tell everyone I was delt this hand -now I have to play it out -When my first brain met came back I told everyone I got the joker and it isn't even wild. So the hand plays on.

You know your children - do what you think will be the least tramatic for you and them. Use your stylist - I'm sure he's had experience with this same situation.Good luck to you. Maybe you won't need either radiation or chemo.

We'll keep you in our prayers.

sue

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I was told my hair would fall out within the first 3 weeks of my first chemo round. So, I went to my hair dresser who ordered me a short wig, my hair color and stlyed it like I wore it anyway. Sure enough, it did start falling out on schedule. My husband and I decided to buzz it since it was really bothering me to see it fall out in clumps in the shower. I looked at myself, got tears for a minute or two and decided, what the heck, I had my wig in hand. I put it on and wore it when I went out and some great little hats I bought from TLC. In about 5 months my hair came back curly. I slowly started to leave off the wig and hats and before I knew it I had a new, curly hair style. My hair never turned grey and I was worried it would come back grey. It did not. I have the same hair color, little waves that make stlying a breeze and I love it.

So yes, find out IF you will lose your hair and if so, order an inexpensive wig in your own hair color. I agree with cutting it short BEFORE you start chemo.

Best of luck.

Nina

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I kept asking different nurses where I was going for treatment if I would lose my hair. None of them would commit to whether or not I would. Most of them gave me funny looks when I asked. Come to find out, all people on my regimen do. I don't know anyone yet who hasn't.

I didn't think it would bother me to lose my hair. But, it did. The emotions over hair loss surprised even myself. The hair loss was a confirmation to what was really going on inside my body. I couldn't "hide" my illness from the public anymore. I exerted much energy in accepting what was going on with the lung cancer; I did a pretty good job of it. I just didn't like being different from everyone else. I thought people were looking at my missing hair; not my sexy long legs.

I got a couple wigs before my hair came out. My hair almost all came out but I left the little flyaways there. In hindsight, I wish I would have cut them. I thought that they would start to grow when my "new" hair came in, but they didn't; they just fell out and new hair replaced the straglers; curly and darker than normal.

I did learn that I have a funny looking head and that my mother had lied to us all these years. She said that she gave birth to babies with nice heads. Ha! What a crock. I looked like a pin head!

Anyway, as the weeks and months rolled along, I stopped wearing scarves and wigs so much. It did feel really good to have no hair. Now I understand why guys shave their heads. It feels almost as good as skinny dipping. If I weren't such a pin-head, I might go bare-headed every Spring.

Good luck with all of this. You will muddle through and find your own comfort zone and something that feels right to you.

Cindi o'h

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I have a 10 year old son and I knew that the physical changes I would go through would really bother him. I had long, blonde (out of a bottle) hair at the time of my diagnosis. When I found out that I was going to lose my hair, I cut it short (chin length) and went back to my real color. About 10 days after my treatment I had my hair cut real short, so that I wasn't dealing with tons of hair when it started falling out. I hated the "hair falling out" process, so I buzzed my hair off by myself. I didn't want anybody to do it for me in case I got upset. It is a startling change and quite honestly, I never got accustomed to it. I wore lots of head coverings and I got a couple of wigs of varying styles and lengths.

I now have peach fuzz all over and I am not wearing anything on my head around the house anymore. I still cover my head when I go out - I figure when I can't see my scalp anymore is when I will go out without my hat in place.

I printed up the Kemo Shark book http://www.kidscope.org/kemo.htm to help my son understand what I was going through. On the days that I didn't feel great, he would say "Oh the Kemo Sharks are working hard".

Hope this helps for you too!

Pam in FL

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I had cisplatin/gemzar and DID NOT lose my hair. It thinned some, but my hair is really thick, so no one noticed that but me. I lost some eyelashes and my eyebrows got thinner, but that was about it.

My sister just went thru chemo for breast cancer and lost her hair right on schedule. For her, it was the event of hair falling out that shook her. Once it was gone, she wore her wig when she was out and those little caps when she was home. Her insurance covered most of the cost of her wig and she ordered a great looking one over the internet for about $150.

I think if it were me, I would get the short cut first.

Cindy

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Mine started to fall out in clumps on schedule - 3 weeks after first chemo - so I had it buzzed.

I never lost it all, just about 80% so kept it buzzed rather than have the mangy dog look.

I had my hair cut really short as soon as I started chemo and got a wig the same as my old hair color and style and wore it twice.

I hated the wig and found that I didn't mind going around bald headed, hats made my head itch so I went au naturel! Unlike Cindi, my mother didn't lie.....I do have a good shaped head!!!!!

I would never have thought that I could go around with no hair but I found it much easier, you may surprise yourself too.

By the way, the upside of all this is I put my razor away for the duration and I could be ready to leave the house in a flash!

Good Luck

Geri

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I think you are doing a great job of thinking this thing through! I'm sure you will be absolutely beautiful with short hair. Also, your family and friends will have time to adapt to seeing you without long hair. This way, they will connect your short hair with just a cut rather than your treatments and illness. I know that one of the most dramatic thing about treatment, to many women, is seeing those "globs" of hair on their pillows in the morning. So...you're going to be a big step ahead of the game!!! You go girl!!!!

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I do not know the length of your hair but if you have long hair there are organizations, i believe, that take you hair and use them for children's wigs (this is if i remeber correctly). So if you are planning to cut your hair it can be used for a good cause and help a child. Something to consider.

God Bless and good luck

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The organization that takes human hair to create wigs for children with cancer is called Locks of Love.

You can go to almost any hairdresser and say that you want to cut your hair and donate to them. They are familiar with it and take care of it for you. The requirement is a minimum of 10" to be cut off.

My husband has had many rounds of very aggressive chemo, and he never fully lost his hair. In fact, when he was on Cisplatin and Carboplatin, the doctors said it was guaranteed he'd lose his hair. It thinned a little bit, but not so that anyone noticed and that was it. He actually had hair loss with the Whole brain radiation. But even that was not total, about 75%. The worst part was that when it started to thin, he was so self conscious that he wore a baseball hat in public. After only 2 days of wearing it, he actually lost his hair completely smooth only on the area that the hat rubbed. So he had this band of bald as a ring around his head. This was very upsetting to him as he was always a bit particular about his hair. So, we shaved his head. It took a long time to grow back after the WBR, but it is starting to really fill in now.

So basically, it didn't fall out, but it did stop growing.

I think it is a good idea to cut your hair to a shorter style just to prepare for the posibility, but I would also not rush into shaving your head before you see what happens. It may not fall out no matter what the chemo. Some people just get lucky that way.

Wishing you the best

Carleen

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I would wait a while. I had weekly chemo concurrent with daily radiation for six weeks. I was told that the chemo was not as stong because I was recieving the radiation. My hair did not fall out at all. After surgery I had two treatments of adjuvant chemo with no radiation. The chemo was much stronger and my hair came out right away.

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thanks for all your advice on the hair thing.

I have 12 inches of hair so once I'm ready, I will donate it to locks of love. I wish sometimes I could wear a t-shirt that screams "I have Cancer" on the front and back so I don't have to stress about who knows what. Today at work I was soo uncomfortable because I have a two inch scar just below my neck but right on my t-shirt line from the medianoscopy I had on Wednesday and I found myself constantly pulling my t-shirt up to hide it so I didn't have to explain it to the entire building of 300+ people.

this is too stressing to deal with on a daily basis. the good thing is the 17 people that work for me all know and they know so I don't have to worry about them asking me "what happened to your neck".

Lilly

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I had long hair when it started to fall out. It was very messy. I was cleaning it up from everywhere. Had it buzzed about one inch long. It was shocking but was less messy.

Good luck and take care.

Mare

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It sounds like a good idea, especially if your hair is long. However, just FYI, my mom only lost 1/2 of her hair with the Gemzar/Carbo combination and never needed a wig or anything.

You may want to ask the oncologist if the treatment will make you lose your hair, sometimes they don't know, sometimes th ey can tell you if it is a chemo that won't effect it too much.

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Hi Lilly .... I was diagnosed and actually do not start my radiation and chemotherapy until next week. When they performed a lung biopsy they managed to collapse my lung and as soon as I was released from the hospital I had my daughter-in-law lined up to cut my hair. I was down the middle of my back and yest "Lock of Love" can use it if you decide to cut it. As soon as I was able I got hold of my best friend, who is a hairdresser, and had her turn it into a very very very short cut and believe it or not I absolutely love it. Now I wonder why I was always fighting my hair with blow dryers and curlers etc. This is so simple. Best wishes.

Judy

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Hi, Lilly...

Actually, you CAN get t-shirts and buttons with sayings on them that are cancer oriented, try www.choosehope.com

I have gained 60 pounds since surgery and treatment, but WHEN I lose the weight, I plan on wearing a leather halter. My scar will show and anyone that asks will be told I got it in a knife-fight in a biker bar and WOW, you shoulda seen the other guy! :wink:

It's a big scar, but it is something that has totally re-shaped my life and shifted my priorities. It makes me different, why not show it off? I paid damn good money for that look! :D

Hang in there and find your humor. You NEED to laugh at yourself, it helps. Trust me. In fact, you can point out to people that you are SOOOO beyond bad hair days! Can't have a bad hair day if you have no hair.... 8)

You can't change the facts, you may as well roll with it!

Luck to you,

Becky

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Lots of super advice here from those who have been there!!

I just wanted to add that not all hairdressers know about "Locks for Love" and not all of them will do it for you.

I donated my hair twice in 3 years(It grows insanely fast) and each time I went to the salon with my hair already in a pony-tail. I asked them to measure (12 inches 1st time) (10 inches 2nd time) and they cut it off and gave it to me. Then they finished my hair cut.

I printed the form online from the locks for love website, stuck my hair in a ziplock and mailed it to them. After each donation, about 4 weeks later I received a certificate from them in the mail with a thank you.

I'm actually thinking about doing it again (my hair is about 14 inches long again!)

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

It was easiest for my dad to cut his instead of having it fall out in clumps, both emotionally and for hygenic reasons!. His hair grew back thicker than before! The second line chemo of topotecan did not make him lose his hair at all, and like the others said, you just never know.

I would wait and see what your hair did and then decide what to do. AND I'd take Snowflakes advice...it's all about attitude and how you look at it too.

Keep us posted!!

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When my hair started falling out I called my son and had him come shave my head.I had a couple of wigs and turbans already waiting as i knew it was coming.My son had me laughing as he did it.Made it less traumatising.Making jokes.Told me I had a nice shaped head but ears like my brother.Big.

Starting to grow back now,looks like a crew cut.

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I think cutting your hair short is a great

idea.

I never did shave my head, I couldn't bring

myself to do it, I just let it fall out in

it's own good time, which it did. I was

actually lucky I had some bangs and some

left on the sides so when I wore

hats you wouldn't have known I was

really bald.

Kathy

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Very late to this thread. I think cutting it shorter is a good idea. You may not lose it, though. Charlie never lost his hair--it did thin on some treatments, though. He had a total of 12 different drugs. Even when the dr. said he would "for sure" lose it, he didn't. Praying for good results. Take care.

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