8:14am. April 5th 2014. I just woke up.
How I’m feeling: Sad, in shock but kind of numb. Yesterday, the first big clump of hair fell from my head.
When my oncologist described my treatment plan, one of the side effects he described that hit me really hard was the hair loss. “You will be receiving the type and dosage of chemotherapy that will cause hair loss” were his exact words. While it wasn’t a complete surprise to me, to hear my oncologist say that I will lose my hair – was tough to swallow. I completely tuned out after he told me and so it was a good thing some of my family members were in the room to process all of the information for me.
It has been exactly two weeks and one day since my first chemo treatment. I have been feeling and experiencing a handful of the side effects from chemotherapy – and the hair loss was something I knew was coming my way. It was inevitable. While everyone reacts to chemotherapy differently and at different paces, I’ve been told by many that by my second chemotherapy, I likely would have already experienced hair loss.
My next chemotherapy session is this upcoming Monday, April 7th. And so all this week, I’ve been avoiding touching my head. It’s most women’s nightmare to lose their hair. I’ve been terrified of seeing that first clump of hair fall out. While I’ve had a few people describe it to me, it was something I was not prepared to experience myself. Not just yet.
And well…yesterday was that day. How about that?
When I was at one of the wig shops I’ve been frequenting three days ago, Gabi, the store owner asked if I started losing my hair as of yet. I told her that I didn’t know and that other than gentle shampooing, I had been avoiding my head area all week. She asked if she could check – and I took one deep breath and said “ok”. As she brushed through my hair with her fingers and wide tooth comb, I saw a few strands attach themselves to the comb. Both Gabi and my friend, Danielle who came with me muttered “Oh ya. It’s starting. Look over here” I took a closer look at the strands that were on the comb, looked at myself in the mirror and started crying. Both Gabi and Danielle started comforting me and started tearing up as well. I started repeating in my head “Deep breaths, Carolyn. Breathe. Breathe” I focused on inhaling and then exhaling.
The next day, I noticed this on my bed sheets.
And yesterday, this happened.
The first clump fell out when I combed my fingers through my hair. I was in shock and was really upset I guess because it’s a physical and visual reminder to myself that I have this cancer bull$#%! and that I’m going through chemo. In fact, as soon as it fell out I thought “S$#!, that’s right. I have cancer. I have F$#!ing cancer”
I’ve realized that once it goes, that it’s going to be a while before I see and feel my own hair. I decided to spend some quality time with it and give it a little bit of a goodbye. I ended up spending about two hours in my room crying and touching, smelling and admiring my hair.
I’m going to miss my annoying baby hairs that always stick straight up. I’m going to miss how low maintenance it is. I’m going to miss how stubborn it is whenever I try to style it. I’m going to miss the smell of it. I’m going to miss the fact that I’m lazy with my hair, barely brush it and can still manage to look somewhat put together. I’m even going to miss complaining about how bored I am with it.
I’m going to miss my own hair so so so so much.
While I try to keep reminding myself that the hair loss is an indication that the chemo is working it’s way through my body and killing off this god damn cancer, it doesn’t make the hair loss any less sad and tough to face. Have I considered shaving it off? Yes. It’s been suggested to me a few times and I like the idea of claiming control in what sometimes feels like a situation where I have very little control but….I’m not there yet. It’s likely what’s going to end up happening and I don’t know what it’s going to take and when it’s going to happen but *deep breath* I don’t think it’s time yet. I can’t just yet.
That’s all for now. Leia is giving me that “Mom, it’s time. I need to peeeeeee” look. I’m so grateful that I have the energy right now to walk her. Walks are our special bonding time together. And by the way, she is helping me out tremendously through this. I love her so much.