Hair loss: No. 1 woe of chemo

One in a series about staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen's battle against breast cancer. Full Story
Miss Terri

American Canyon, CA

#1 Aug 22, 2010
If you would have called me you wouldn't have the feeling the wig was going to leave your Head!!!MT

Since: Feb 10

Sun City, FL

#2 Aug 22, 2010
I admire the author for the pluck, but I agree with the first poster: wigs don't have to feel insecure.

What I did to cope with it was start wearing the wig before my hair started falling out. By the time I was actually in chemo, about 5 weeks later, that was just how it looked. In fact, my driver's license has that picture on it, and everyone says "Wow -- you look great in that picture!"

I tried scarves, hats, etc. and went out for a walk around my neighborhood. People clearly stared at me. Strangers walked up and offered to pray for me or gave encouragement. while those were lovely gestures, I didn't want to be reminded every time I stepped out the door that people could see, by my head, where I was in medical treatment.

I found a very realistic looking wig and that's what I used.
Blessings

Vallejo, CA

#3 Aug 22, 2010
I've been dealing with thyroid issues for three years now, and have lost a significant amount of my once thick, long black hair. For me, it may never come back, and yes, it is devastating. I wish the author nothing but blessings on her journey, as I understand how stressful even that one thing can be. It is amazing what we women can get through, triumph over, and live to talk about.
Mary Baldwin Lenihan

Vallejo, CA

#4 Aug 22, 2010
Rachel
The best part of this journey is not just that it will pass, but there are silver linings or Ah-ha moments along the path.
Breast Cancer Survivor

Napa, CA

#5 Aug 22, 2010
That is, indeed, one of the most emotionally difficult moments of breast cancer treatment. I did buy a wig when my hair started to get so thin you could see my head. That,for me, was the worst. Once I shaved what remained off, I was okay with it and mostly wore scarves and hats because it was winter and you get incredibly COLD! Yes, people noticed. But most people at least know someone who has been through it and everyone is so supportive. I did have one breast cancer survivor come up to me and ask me if I was a survivor which forced me to make a choice that I was. And she told me a very moving and encouraging story of her recovery. Your hair will come back, Rachel. It usually comes back very curly if it was straight before (I understand the opposite is also true). Sadly, after a year or two it goes back the way it was. I loved the curly hair I didn't have to pay a fortune for! In the meantime, take it easy during chemo. You will feel better if you go straight home and sleep after treatment. If you exert yourself, that's when you may get sick. My prayers are with you as you walk this journey. It changes you. But know that there are many, many breast cancer survivors out there and each and every one is more than willing to share things with you and offer support.
ponos22

West Sacramento, CA

#6 Aug 22, 2010
really? hair loss is WORSE than losing your breasts? NOT! hair will grow back...try that with breasts, uh, doesn't work...when reconstruction fails and fails and fails again, and you know you will NEVER BE NORMAL again, then tell me about hair loss! Yes, I am a breast cancer survivor, and due to my surgeons responses to my questions, I went with mastectomy. When she denied me a mammogram for the SECOND breast, and lo and behold, 4 months later, I changed surgeons and had a second mastectomy. The problems occured with reconstruction and a narcissist plastic surgeon (that would be you Nark P @ Kaiser), who couldn't face the fact that his work was substandard. And who really cares how the patient is doing? Bodies stop bouncing back after 6 or 7 surgeries...I had TEN IN A TWO-YEAR PERIOD. Try it, you'll like it? As I stated before, hair will grow back...Ten years later, I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and weight gain (from meds), body pain from surgeries (lymph swelling, but my lymph nodes weren't cancerous but multiple surgeries affected them anyway!). Yes, I'm a piece of work, thanks to Kaiser Vallejo and, the Vacaville surgeon (thank you Cheryl M). Little compassion for your patients would be WONDERFUL...DOESN'T HELP WHEN YOU WAKE THEM UP FROM BREAST BIOPSY AND TELL THEM, "YOU DO NOT HAVE CANCER", YET let someone else ask them what are they going to do about your cancer when they come in for a Post Op! I have so much anger and helplessness...it will never go away until I pass on. Where is the compassion? Where is the understanding?
Blessings

Vallejo, CA

#7 Aug 22, 2010
I agree with you about Kaiser Vallejo....well, nearly ANY Kaiser, frankly. I finally gave up trying to get treatment through them...they just wouldn't give me the help I needed. "We don't believe in that, it doesn't work in our opinion." Many flip answers, and lack of response or caring. "THRIVE!" -my pattooty!
Soooo.... I finally saved enough and paid out of pocket to go to a private doctor, and it made a world of difference. I am finally feeling better, keeping some hair on my head, and losing weight a bit. I certainly can't compare what I've gone through with anything near what you women have endured, but I'll tell you; more and more, we all have to be advocates for our own health. Read, learn, research, and if I doctor isn't meeting your needs: Fire them. There are good and bad doctors, but in the end, they are all just practicing.
Gail Perry

Sun City, FL

#8 Aug 22, 2010
Ponos, for you hair loss wasn't the worst thing, but for other women maybe it is.
I have one breast and I feel completely normal. Everyone reacts differently. I'm sorry for all you went through.
shirley

Fonsorbes, France

#9 Aug 23, 2010
ponos - you are completly wrong - hair does NOT always grow back.
You might find this interesting
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-127...
Gail Perry

Sun City, FL

#10 Aug 24, 2010
Shirley is right. Hair does not always grow back. I have partial baldness from chemo.
Invest in Vallejo

Vallejo, CA

#11 Aug 24, 2010
The point of the column is Rachels perspective of her journey through the process of fighting cancer. We could start a blog on the horrors many of us have gone through in our own battles.

Cancer, chemo, radiation, effect people in different ways and it is what it is. In the end, we are all writing here because we won a battle against a foe that wanted to take our life.
Gail Perry

Sun City, FL

#12 Aug 24, 2010
That's right, Vellejo. We each had our own journey, and our own experiences. We came out of it with different scars and different lessons.

What some people have been through is truly horrendous and I count myself lucky.
ponos22

West Sacramento, CA

#13 Aug 25, 2010
I guess my point is the total lack of compassion that comes from SOME physicians, not all, but it's there. Unfortunately, I had two bad apples, but found a really terrific one. Another point I would like to make is that Kaiser needs to take some responsibility in this factor. Ten years ago, I was told that if I wanted to find a support group within Kaiser for breast cancer survivors, to start one myself! In other words, Kaiser did not provide a support group for me (or anyone else). When I inquired about all the other support groups available, and why there was none for Breast Cancer, I was told they didn't know why none were available. Yep, Kaiser, only as good as they want it!
Gail Perry

Sun City, FL

#14 Aug 25, 2010
Ponos I sympathize with what you've been through but it's not what the article was about.

I know what you're talking about. My first oncologist was like that. I dumped her and found another one and after hearing your story, boy am I glad.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Breast Cancer Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Veterans Affairs clinic chief praises improved ... (Jan '10) 11 hr Tio Sam 48
YouDocs: Managing your cancer treatment Tue maryjaneprincton 1
I'm scared I might have male breast cancer =(!(... (Oct '06) Dec 16 Embarrassed 864
Varicose Veins: Fact, Fiction, & Cure (Mar '14) Dec 15 Paul Bear 4
Banned DNA test kits hit UK stores Dec 4 Kid_Tomorrow 1
weight loss forum Dec 4 laura adams 1
Angelina Jolie is smoking cigarettes after canc... Dec 3 bappy das 4
More from around the web