Goodbye Hair! See you Next Year!

Anytime I read or watched anything about women and chemotherapy I always had one lasting thing on my mind, how traumatic it was for them to lose their hair. When I started chemotherapy I knew I would lose my hair but didn’t think much of it. I remember 10 years ago when my sister had cancer how helpless I felt when she lost her hair. She was 19 and at an age where it must have been so hard to deal with it. Nineteen is dating time, worry-about-what-you-look-like time. No matter who you are, that age is really hard in normal circumstances. One day she asked me to go look for wigs, so I happily went along because I wanted to be there for everything, supporting her in any way possible. What a frustrating day it ended up being. The first place we went made her feel like crap. She left crying and I graciously escorted her out to the car and told her I would be back- I forgot something inside. I am one of the most non-confrontational people you will ever meet but that day I marched back in there and exploded. I was so filled with my sisters pain that I could not let it pass. I didn’t know how to handle any of it. How would I make her feel better? How would I get her to smile and not worry about it? I just kept telling her it would be okay. In retrospect this was the wrong approach. I never once saw her without her hair, none of us did. I should have empowered her. I should have shaved my head. There are so many things I should have done but didn’t because I didn’t know the right thing to do at that time. My sister’s cancer taught me so many things, one being – cut people a break. Not everyone knows how to deal with your situation.

The process of losing my hair was totally not what I expected. Friday, March 24, 2012 I got an awesome haircut, probably the best haircut I have ever had and one of my last haircuts for a very long time. Saturday we had family photos and my hair looked awesome. At the end of the next week – my fourth week of chemotherapy, I was lying on the couch with Grace and noticed hair on my pillow. When I sat up, my hair was unusually stiff at the roots. And so it began… I spent one day finding hair everywhere then I woke up the next morning, leaned over the trash can, and started the process of pulling out all the dead hair. I pulled and pulled for a good hour! You couldn’t even tell I had lost any hair. I have very, very thick hair! As the day went on it became annoying and worrisome because it was getting all over Grace and I was worried about the hair getting in her mouth and possibly exposing her to chemicals (in my hair). I kept telling Ryan on and off all day,  ”Let’s shave it honey!” “Ah…maybe later!”. Finally by the end of the day we went into the bathroom and actually had a blast! You see…anything with my husband is a blast and honestly it was exactly, EXACTLY what I needed. Someone to laugh with. He gave me a mohawk first. Boy did we laugh! My wild side finally broke through and it only took cancer and losing my hair. I was a little punk rocker<grin>. I finally had him shave the rest and I anxiously approached the mirror. Not too shabby! I actually liked it! You never quite know what you are going to look like bald.

What I needed, and what I think everyone needs – is someone by their side to laugh with and make them feel beautiful. I PROUDLY wore my bald head and was more than okay with it. I actually surprised myself. I don’t think you really know how strong you are until you go through something like this. Any odd looks I got didn’t upset me, the occasional looks made me think to myself, “If you only knew how hard I am fighting for my life right now and to be a good, new mom and how looking like this is a proud badge of my hard work.”

LADIES!!! LADIES!!! It’s just hair! Hair doesn’t define you. Society may say so, but what do they know?! LOOK AT HOW MESSED UP SOCIETY IS TODAY! You have your life! This is your badge of honor! Wear it proudly. You are a fighter and you are gaining a feather in your cap that will teach you SO many things about how to handle life in general.

I wish I could go back 10 years with this knowledge and help my sister in a different way. This was different for me, I am much older and established in an awesome loving relationship. With experience, knowledge, and age comes great wisdom. If you would like to have a visual guide of hair growth progress post chemotherapy see my post, How Long Will it Take My Hair to  Grow Back After Chemotherapy?.

Here we go!!! Shave it baby!!

My husband is weird!

Mohawk baby!! My inner punk rocker is coming out!



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19 comments on “Goodbye Hair! See you Next Year!
  1. alwaysrcorliss says:

    That is the best attitude. And it’s the reason why I love you. – Your Hubby

  2. Jennifer Hodson says:

    Really lovely, Trish.

  3. I am new to your site and am quite overwhelmed with your attitude. It pays to be positive in that it makes facing any challenge easier. I am a 5 year ovarian cancer survivor. God bless you and keep smiling.

  4. Kerry says:

    Thank you for sharing and posting pics. I start chemo next week (20 Sep 2013) and this is very difficult for me, so reading your story and approach has been inspirational. Well done for getting through this.

    • Good morning Kerry. :)
      Good luck as you embark on this journey. Keep plunging forward and try your best to be a pillar of health. Commit to chemo not knocking you down and you will do great. Always allow for moments of weakness as they to are important. Positive attitude, positive results. You can do it and you will come out as tough as nails in all ways that will amaze you. Sending good vibes. <3 If you need to talk, I will be here. -Trish

    • JoAnn says:

      Hi JoAnn here today is my 14th day after my first chemo treatment. Well they said on the 14th day you will experience hair loss. Yes, it is coming out tuns of it today. I cried and cried some more. I hate this, have an appt to get head shaved but it is for a week from today don’t think hair will last. Tomorrow i’m calling hairdresser to push up the appt. Not looking forward to this. So, stressed and sad.

      • Hi JoAnn-
        Hang in there. I would get your head shaved ASAP. I think the anticipation of what is to be is difficult. Just do it! Have fun with it. Embrace it. It is your badge of honor, fighting, and struggle. I know right now it is hard to think of just doing it and having fun with it but if you just let go…just let go of the “norm” you will find yourself in a beautiful new place. Your hair falling out is a sign that rapidly dividing cells are dying and that is a good thing. Thats exactly what you want. You losing your hair is gaining your life back. You will be amazed at how many survivors will come up to you and say things like, “I’m 80! Look how fit I am! I’m a 20 year survivor. You can do it! Survivors are amazing!” The list goes on and on of the amazing people you will meet that have been in your shoes and know so because you are wearing your badge of honor, your beautiful bald head. True beauty is without all the frills like a fancy cut, color, makeup, etc. True beauty is through strength, grace, and vulnerability during the good and the challenging times. When your hair starts to grow back and by the way, it starts to grow back so quickly you will get the opportunity to try all all kinds of neat hairstyles that you may not have otherwise tried. You may also giggle a bit whenever you find yourself complaining about a bad hair day. Stay strong and steady and fight like hell. I’m here if you need to talk. If you get a chance read my Welcome to Holland post. Try to have a peaceful evening. Good night, Trish.

      • Hi JoAnn- Just checking in to see how you are doing. I hope you are feeling better. -Trish

  5. Angie Y. says:

    Hi Trish,

    I finished reading your post and ended up more inspired and more determined. All my prayers to you on your journey, and seriously, you seemed to be surrounded by pure and unconditional love. I wish you the very best!

  6. Kirsten says:

    Just stumbled across your blog by chance while googling how long will it take for my hair to grow back after chemo. I am in the middle of treatment for breast cancer, 37 years old mom of a 1 year old girl. You are an inspiration to me! I tried to hold it together while my husband shaved my head on Easter Sunday but broke down anyway. I am much stronger now, but still a little uncomfortable with my bald head. Can’t wait until this is over and a distant memory. Thank you for writing this blog so people like myself know there are similar women with the same feelings and we are not alone. :)

    • Trish says:

      Hi Kirsten- I hope your treatments are going well. This will all be over before you know it. Hang in there, I know it can be a struggle juggling a little one and going though chemo. Have as much fun as you can with her and make a ton of awesome memories, it really helps to pass the time. Best wishes to you. mommybeatscancer@gmail.com if you ever want to talk.

  7. Tanz says:

    Hi,
    This is Tanz from India. I am 33 and was married a year back. I was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in UK just 6 months after my wedding. I do not have any family history of cancer and so this came as a big shock for everyone. I n my husband decided to b in India for the surgery and treatment. I can totally relate to ur experience as I hv gone thru the same. I was not prepared for chemo but nothing is more precious then life. My mom and hubby helped me shave off my hair. I have completed my chemotherapy and undergoing radiation now. I liked your blog and wanted to congratulate you on completing such a wonderful journey which makes you realize things which are truly important in your life.

    Good luck.
    Tanz

  8. Michelle says:

    Hi,

    I have not had cancer but after losing my grandad to cancer last year and several of my friends were diagnosed. I decided to shave my hair off in support of them and to raise money for cancer research.

    That was a month ago and I was wondering how fast my hair will grow back. Thank you so much for your photo’s, they are really helpful. :-)

  9. Judi says:

    Thank you so much for your words and your videos. I just came across your blog today. You are such an inspiration to me as I am sure you are to so many, many others. I am 51 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer in June. I have had a bilateral mastectomy and will be starting chemo next week. I have been so worried and so consumed with losing my hair. However, after reading your story, I now have a new attitude and know that I will look at this step in my recovery as something to be proud of and grateful for. Grateful because yes, I will lose my hair, but I will also wake up every morning and be able to look in the mirror to see that I have lost my hair. That is so much better than the alternative. Thank you so much for sharing your story and being an inspiration to me. You have become another necessity in order for me to get through this. Thank you again!!

    Judi

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Goodbye Hair! See you Next Year!"
  1. [...] Hair Loss Yep! You are going to lose your hair. Have fun with it and don’t despair! It’s your temporary badge of fighting honor. I lost mine at the beginning of round two. For more on loosing your hair read my post¬†Goodbye Hair! See you Next Year!. [...]

  2. […] It is surprising how fast your hair grows back. Within a week and a half of the completion of my BEP chemotherapy I had a ton of “sprouts”. For more on my thoughts about hair loss please read my previous post,¬†Goodbye Hair! See You Next Year! […]

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