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What's it like to lose your hair during Chemo..?

Posted by Emilienne Rebel on

I can only talk from my own experience of course as everyone who experiences hair loss from a cancer treatment feels differently. And, after 10 years (wow!) things are a little fuzzy as I still have a terrible memory which I very much blame on Chemo Brain! However, there are a few things I remember quite clearly about losing my hair... which started to fall out after the first round and towards the second of chemotherapy. 

I can't say I was particularly bothered about being bald, especially as I knew how important the treatment was to get rid of any cancer left in my body following my mastectomy.

The photo attached to this post was actually the day of my second chemo, and more importantly my beautiful baby girl Lotte's 1st birthday. I was heartbroken I couldn't give her a party (I've made up for it since!). I hate being cold and so I didn't even consider the Cold Cap at all. 

Nearing the time I was going to start losing my hair someone close to me at the time shaved my head. I can honestly say this was the most traumatic part of the experience. The enjoyment was apparent and whether the joking and laughing was to lighten the mood or whether it was just plain insensitive, I was left traumatised. I would definitely recommend shaving your head when you know your hair is going to fall out (its a good half way point and makes for less mess if anything else), however make sure it is a sympathetic person that does it whether a relative or your hair dresser. I wish I had gone to a hair dresser. 

The next thing I remember when my hair did start to fall out was the 'pain'. Not a great pain as such... but my hair hurt! It was reminiscent of when my hair was tied too tightly as a child and my head would hurt afterwards. I think this only lasted a few days.  

When my head was finally bald, I felt cold, really cold (it was December)... I lost the hair all over my body including eyebrows and eyelashes... and nose hair! My eyes would water as it would appear eyelashes are quite useful when it comes to keeping out dust from the eyes. Loosing your eyebrows totally changes your face and especially mine as I was puffy from all the steroids too.

I hated my wig. I was so uncomfortable and I felt very self-conscious, surprisingly more so than being bald! I only wore my wig at the request of my eldest daughter who struggled with my hair loss at aged 4 and it made her feel I looked more 'normal'. What I realised is that it was important to cover up for my family as I looked quite obviously ill and it was not nice for them to see. 

As a younger woman going through Breast Cancer I struggled to find headwear I liked. Everything was fussy and outdated. I found it hard to lift my arms to tie scarves (when I found one big enough!) and just wanted a simple pretty hat... hence the creation of Bold Beanies :)

Towards the end of my treatment my bald scalp quickly covered in fuzzy 'peach fuzz' hair which I didn't find very attractive, but was a comforting sign that it would grow back one day. It only took about 4-5 weeks (about the time I started Radiotherapy for the proper new hair to start growing back. It gre back brown whereas before it was blonder and sadly for me with some grey (!) and curlier than before. I actually quite liked my hair short and kept it like that for a long time... until the girls told me I looked too much like a boy... kids huh lol. 



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