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Jun 26, 2012 06:35 PM, edited Jun 26, 2012 07:03 PM
Well ladies, the day has finally come when I can say the following: I am 5 months PFC and I've finally stopped shedding!!! Woo HOO!
I started shedding around day 20 after first chemo, (Nov 29, 2011) and didn't stop until recently. So in all, that's 6 months of shedding. Heaven knows that there were many times when I thought it would all fall out. I had some very dark days of worry, panic and TEARS as I had big sheds after each chemo and constant shedding throughout. I have fine textured hair and it's thick (was). Some say that those who start with thick hair, lose more. I think I've lost 1/3 to 1/2 of my hair. It seems shocking to realize that. My hair is very thin in comparison to what it was in the beginning, but as I notice other women in public, I see women with less/thinner hair than I have. I guess its all relative to what you are used to. No one can tell I've had chemo.
I cut and colored my hair 2 weeks ago with a semi permanent color, with no ill effect. My hair stylist noted that the hair along the sides of my head and around my face is the most thin. I have new hair growing in all over my head, and its funny to see me in a pony tail with the fringe sticking out everywhere. I have an area along the nape of my neck where i lost hair on the first chemo. I don't think it was covered by the cold caps. Regrowth started during chemo and its growing in very fuzzy/curly. It's about 2.5 inches long now.
All in all, I'm very grateful and happy that I had the option to use cold caps. I won't sugar coat things and tell you it was easy (it wasn't impossible, but it was challenging at times) but I will tell you it was WORTH IT! This is how I viewed the extra work: Basically, for wearing the cold caps for approximately 32 hours (I had TC x 4), and keeping a modified wash/hair care routine for 6 months, I avoided baldness from chemo. I know the other ladies in my chemo group (who are now just feeling confident to go without their wigs and have about .5 inch hair growth) all have said hair loss has been the hardest thing about getting through chemo.
Thank you to the cold cap veterans who talked me down when I was having bad days of fear and worry. Everyone said, "Don't worry, you will have hair in the end" That didn't seem like much solace during my panic (LOL), but they were right. I have hair in the end. Just know that if you are reading this and you are shedding heavily, I feel ya sister. I know your fear and worry. You think that you will be the one for whom it doesn't work, and you will end up bald. Or you will end up with hair so thin that you will need a wig. I've noticed the new hair growth is giving my thinner hair some lift at the roots, so my hair is looking thicker lately. Also, getting rid of the gray made it appear fuller.
I'm sending out my love and support to everyone currently going through the process. I can hardly believe I can say I'm done, that I've stopped shedding, but I have! Hooray!! I think its important that women understand that while they will have hair in the end, it won't be like the head of hair they started with. I didn't really understand that going in. It's not bad, its just different (thinner with all this new shorter hair growing in all over my scalp). It's a mystery who will shed more or who sheds less. It's very worrisome if you are one of the ones who sheds a lot. I'm here to tell you that you will make it to the end, and you will be grateful, SO GRATEFUL, for the hair you end up with. I AM!
Keep on keeping on Ladies!
Edited to add photo (last weekend at my 30th HS reunion)