Sunday, January 23, 2011

Impending Baldness

On the couch, day after chemo #2, receiving my daily infusion of vitamin L(ove) from Millie.
With the exception of a trip to the gym midday and several trips to the bathroom, I spent the entire day Saturday on the couch. The pool felt great, as it did the Saturday after my last chemo infusion. This time there was no rush so I swam a full 3200 yards (thank you steroids), but after, I was quite tired and eager for the couch again.

I stood in the shower for a long time, partly because every time I ran my hands through my hair, they came away coated in hair, individual strands and little clumps. Better out now, I figured, than in my hat or on my pillow later, so I ran my hands through over and over again. Eventually I gave up, as no slow-down seemed forthcoming. I did the same with pubic hair, and sure enough, plenty of that was shedding too.

It's not until you join the cancer club, I think, that you find out that this is part of it; that not only do you lose the hair on your head but also all over your body. I've read many cancer folks talking about how little they appreciate their nose hairs until they lose them. Apparently you get a constantly runny nose without them. I've also read that on the drugs I'm taking, I will lose eyelashes and eyebrows, but not until the very end of treatment.

In the mirror on the way out of the locker room, I checked my head for signs of impending baldness - it's not too obvious yet. Is this what it feels like to be a man with thinning, receding hair, do you look in the mirror and try to imagine what you will look like bald? Whether or not you can reconcile yourself to the imminent new you? I suppose we all do this with aspects of aging...

It is coming to my attention that this blog needs some updating. My links are all out of date and geared toward fertility stuff. I won't get rid of these, but I need to add a section about cancer. I have books and resources to recommend to people fighting cancer and to those that want to support them, and I will get on it as soon as I feel like it, which will hopefully be very soon.


Grammie said...

After my sister's chemo was over....and her hair began to slowly fill back in....she decided to die the little bit of hair that she had red for a breast cancer fashion show that she was asked to be in.

She made quite a statement! : )

PASmith said...

I appreciate that you are willing to share the bald truth (sorry!) of chemo and breast cancer. I really need to hear it.

I'm a few weeks behind you. I've had 3 surgeries in the past 6 weeks, ending in the mastectomy this past week. In retrospect, I probably should have just started with the mastectomy and been done with it, but the surgeon felt that the lumpectomy was the answer, until he couldn't achieve negative margins. 

Chemo is probably going to happen, but I don't know when. I've read all of the suggested books and websites, so I have a decent, if academic, understanding of what will happen.  It means more to me to hear your very personal story as it happens. Your honesty helps me to prepare myself and your strength is inspirational. 


Shannon said...

Breathe in. Breathe out. Hang in. Hold on. Dive. Rise. And float, again. Be.

Beautiful picture of you & your girl.

Sending good thoughts through the waves. XX -Shannon

Anonymous said...

Keep strong,
You are an inspiration Amy.
We humans can do fine without hair.

Sabrina said...

Hang in there Amy. As someone else said - breathe in, breathe out. It sucks for right now. But it will pass - you will move through it. And be an even more amazing person for it.

Anonymous said...

You have a lovely head of hair at this very moment, so enjoy it. I naturally have extremely fine hair and so yours to me (at this moment) looks thick and lush in comparison.

When you do loose yours, realize it will grow back. I've heard some people get the exact same hair as before, while others get new hair (color and texture). I hope you get what you want when you are on the other side.

P.S. Your stylist is stylin'.