Loosing your hair

Cancer.   Hair loss.

Cancer.   Hair loss.

Cancer.   Hair loss.

Gulp! Yes it happens. Pretty quickly too. I’ve blogged before about my feelings of loosing my hair and trying to save my hair.

I knew once the cold cap didn’t work for me that I would loose my hair. At first I was thinking I would get it shaved off straight after the chemo, but then I read on the net that it would probably take 2 weeks or so before it started shedding. I still had meals out, meeting with friends and hospital appointments. I wanted to keep my hair as long as possible, but didn’t want to get to that stage of it coming out in huge clumps.  This would be distressing for me and definetly my children.

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This is my normal hair. I’ve been told it’s not ‘thick’ but I have a lot of it. I always have highlights usually and generally it was in pretty healthy condition.

 

By day 17 my hair started falling out, not noticeable to anyone else, just to me. I decided to wash my hair normally and use products as I normally would. I had gotten past that whole stage of trying to save it, so thought why not go the whole hog and style it as I usually would. So this Thursday morning I washed it as normal and brushed it through. I had two hairbrushes full of my blonde hair and realised the ‘process’ had started happening. I run my fingers through my hair and roughly 10 or so strands came out. I tugged on my hair and it hurt, so I knew it wasn’t imminent but that I had to start planning soon. I had already had my hair cut a few weeks before from medium lengthy to a long choppy Bob.

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This wasn’t too much of an issue for me as I’m always growing it long then having the big chop. For some I imagine can be quite distressing if your used to having long hair all of the time. But I would recommend it. I would probably say if your not feeling very brave about the whole hair loss thing, maybe have it cut 3 or 4 times, so eventually it’s quite a shortish style.

So day 18 I opted for the shave. My hairdresser Said we could go for a short pixie cut to break me in, but I just wanted it off. I’ve heard other cancer patients say they feel quite a bit of pain when their hair starts shedding and it’s  relief once off. But for me I didn’t feel pain, it was more like a cold feeling in my roots. Almost like I could feel every follicle. I decided to do a grade 1 all over.

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I’ve never had a shave before (on my head!) so when the clippers went on it felt odd. I can see why toddlers freak out when they first have it done. After a few seconds it was quite relaxing. I shed a few tears before the shave, probably sounds weird but almost like a grieving for my hair. It’s one of them moments I spoke about in a previous blog about what it’s like having cancer, I describe jumping in the deep sea and just swimming. You don’t want to do it but you have to. This is one of them moments. It felt unnatural, it probably did too my for hairdresser Toni. But you’ve just got to do it. My husband, mum and sister was with me and I have no regrets. Well actually one small teeny regret. In hindsight I should of had it done in the evening, that way I could of cracked open a bottle of bubbly to lessen the blow when I looked in the mirror!

imageI must admit, when I first looked in the mirror it was a shock. I think too because I’m so used to having really blonde hair and all of a sudden I have a mousy skin head. I did get used to it very quickly and felt I could rock it outside, I had the school run at 3 so didn’t want to shock the kids faces, I wore a scarf to the school and to be honest I had it off once in the car. I couldn’t stop touching it all weekend. Every time I looked in the mirror (we’ve got a huge one in lounge) I would let out a little scream as a joke. At first people found it hilarious but after a few hours it wasn’t funny anymore 🙈

So a week on, my hair (even though a grade 1) has been shedding likes there’s no tomorrow. My pillowcase is full of the tiny little shavings and every time I touch it its all over my hands. I’ve probably lost about 70% off hair now but there is still quite a lot of hair on my head. Bald patches are appearing so can’t really rock the punk look anymore! The hair follicles look very tiny almost the same as the hair itself, so you can see why it falls out. I know from previous waxing when you look at a strand of hair the follicle almost looks like a bulb. You can tell that the chemo has well and truly blasted the follicle. It does look dead!

So apart from feeling a bit cold and sometimes still being shocked in the mirror I would say the process isn’t that bad. Emotionally it’s hard. But there are people out there that are going through a thousand times more than I am, cancer or no cancer. My hair will grow back. I’m quite looking forward to having virgin hair again and exploring new shades and hairstyles!

For now I’m going to say ta ta, I’m off to a reiki session courtesy of Macmillan.

Much love,

Michelle xx

Love your body

(Picture taken from Google 2016)

For those that have been following my blog and journey since diagnosis would have caught on by now that I usually do all my blogging laying in bed, I usually describe the weather and what the day will bring and most of the time I ‘feel’ a blog post coming on.

This morning, yes I am laying in bed but not at home, I’m in hospital with an infection. The chemo army only know to well that this can be quite common, quite frankly it’s a pain in the butt, but I don’t want to dwell on the negatives.

The thing that spured me on this morning to blog about loving your body and I mean really loving your body, is a clip I see on Lorraine this morning. A lady with a young daughter had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at one point was completely riddled with it, her thinking about death made her body start dying. She decided to love her body and take her cancer by the hand and walk with it. She has had treatment now and has just one small tumour in her lung, everywhere else is clear. Her motto is that she is not battling with cancer, she is not fighting the disease. Yes eventually she will die, but she doesn’t want to be branded with ‘lost her battle’. It’s not a fight. It’s merely cells that have mutated and all the other technical stuff. I truly believe your fate is destined and to fight your way along your journey and battle cancer will be truly exhausting!

I want people to embrace their bodies, regardless of diagnosis. Take cancer by the hand and walk with it. Yes it’s bloody scary, terrifying infact. Yes you will think about death probably 100 times a day. But don’t battle with it, accept it and try to learn from it.

My life has changed now forever, my husband and children’s lives have changed forever. But I am not going to let it change us for the worse. We are going to use this experience and embrace life, really live for the day.

My body has changed forever. Yes I will get reconstruction and my hair will grow back, but it will never be the same. Why would I want to dwell on that? Why make sad days even sadder? I will use these scars I have as a reminder of how strong I am and how proud I am of my family. I will never use the term battle scars as I don’t want to fight…..

Since diagnosis the air feels fresher, the grass seems greener, the sky bluer. I look at my children that extra minute longer when they are sleeping and smile that little bit more. My vision is more clearer.

My life before was tainted with things that didn’t really matter. Now it is injected with pure love and hope.

Love your bodies, it’s your shell to protect your souls.

Much love

Michelle xx