The anguish of hair loss from chemotherapy

General Hair Loss

Losing my hair would be worse than losing my breast. That was among my first thoughts when the doctor told me he found a tumor the size of a hockey puck on my right breast.

chemotherapy hair lossWe decided on a mastectomy. He prescribed Adriamycin, a drug that would mean complete hair loss. I was only 35 years old, and my long, thick hair would be gone.

Two weeks after the first course of chemotherapy, I was standing in my bathroom and noticed clumps of hair on the bath towel. I was so scared that I started brushing my hair. The more I brushed, the more I lost. I didn’t want to be bald yet. I needed some hair for tomorrow. A few days later, it was all gone.

Time to decide among wigs, turbans or hats.

I chose to wear a wig. But when I pulled on each wig and looked into the mirror, I saw someone else.

I felt like everyone in the store was staring at me. Sure, they were trying on wigs, too, but they had hair.

I tried on all types: short, long, medium, various colors and styles, but nothing came close to my real hair. I finally found one that fit and was close to my style. I became a blonde.

My hair dresser then cut and styled it. Even though I was bald, the new look was something I could live with for the next six months. And did I ever. I never removed my wig those first few months, not even at home, not even overnight. I finally took it off when my daughter, Megan, asked if she could play dress-up and use my wig.

Later, I just stopped caring about being bald. One day I was at the hair salon in a chair getting my wig styled. A group of women waiting to get their hair washed freaked as I yanked off the wig and handed it to my stylist. One lady gasped, “Oh, my God.” Another said, “Look at that.” I laughed.

I’ve come to realize that losing my hair was not the worst part of breast cancer. I had breast reconstructive surgery. A prosthesis is inconvenient, but my decision was the desire to feel whole, complete and “normal” once again.

Am I back to normal? Yes, I am finally there. Twenty years after treatment, I’m not only cancer-free, but also I have lots of hair with a little more curl than before.

So, what happened to the wigs? Downstairs in my daughter’s playroom. We played dress-up after my treatments.

With thanks to for the above content


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