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Hair loss from Head

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My 52 yr. old daughter has recently been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She will be starting Chemo in the next week or 2. No one in our family has ever had this kind of cancer and when the family did it was lung cancer back in 88'. My hope is someone can help me on how to respond or help my daughter. Her hair on her head is long, thick and beautiful. It has been her crown and glory for ever. She knows she will be loosing it which is pretty devastating since she just feels like a piece of meat to everyone. What I would like to know is this--

Would it help if I suggested to her to get a short hair cut before the loss begins?

My sister when she had lung/brain cancer was big into scarves to cover her bald head-- the more beautiful the better. Is that something women are doing now and if so are there any suggestions ?

Thanks to all of you.

Comments

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,687
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    sandy, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. Hair loss is fairly predictable depending on the type of chemo she will be getting. I recall being told with my first cancer in 2007 that my hair would start falling out on day 12 (I could be wrong about that number.) What I did is to go to my hair stylist a few days before that and had him buzz cut my shoulder length hair. It wasn't pleasant seeing my hair fall to the floor, but it was easier losing short hairs when they did start to fall out a few days later.

    I was advised to use a gentle soap on my scalp. I think I used Cetaphil. I did purchase a couple of wigs to wear to church or out to special events. Otherwise, I wore cute hats and caps. I never mastered the scarf thing, but she should absolutely give that a try.

    Try to remind her that she is beautiful with or without hair and that she will not be thought of a "a piece of meat" by those around her.

    Is she on this forum? There are so many helpful topics some amazing women (and men) who are going through or have gone through a similar experience.

    Carol

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
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    I always had long hair too and I cut it shorter than it had ever been before starting chemo. It was really fun! I didn't want to see it all falling out so I think that helped a lot. Once it did start falling out, I had a friend shave it off instead of waiting for it to fall out on its own.

    Lots of women wear scarves! That's what I did because I found wigs too uncomfortable. But she can do whatever she wants. Scarves, hats, wigs, bandanas, nothing. Totally up to her.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
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    Sandygsd - I too had very long, thick, curly beautiful hair. It was really a big part of me. I unfortunately did not look good without hair (think uncle Fester from Addams Family). I ordered two wigs that were very similar to my hair and they were quite comfortable and made me feel decent when I was going out in public. I wore pretty scarves at home. I had an appointment to have my hair cut, my hair fell out and left patches all over the night before. It was an awful experience for me. I thought I had prepared myself for it mentally. 11 days was not enough time, nor do I think any amount of time would've prepared me for it. I think it would've been a little easier had it been cut shorter. I was dx'd when covid first hit so I really wasn't going anywhere.

    I'm a year and half out from my last chemo infusion and my hair is already past my shoulders, it's thick and curly.

    The important thing is getting the treatment and hopefully knocking this beast out.

    I hope for nothing but the best for your daughter. <3

  • sandygsd
    sandygsd Member Posts: 4
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    I have given her the info on the forum but I do not think she has joined. I love the comments folks are giving me since I live a good 3 hrs. away I have been looking for things to help her out that is not run of the mill.

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
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    Some of us on this site are bald for years or forever. It's almost 100% guaranteed that I will die bald because chemo is the only thing keeping me alive.

    My suggestion is that you consider avoiding highly charged language around hair or (appearance at all). Whether it's saying that something is a crown & glory or that someone feels like a piece of meat, those are charged comments that result in hurt feelings - here & for your daughter.

    Offer to support her in any way she decides - whether it's to buy a wig that looks like her hair or a fun wig that's different, or several wigs to switch out on various days, or to buy caps or scarves or to take her to get it shaved once it starts coming out. Let her decide whether she wants to discuss her feelings about this with you or not & whether she wants your help or not. Do not offer your own commentary about how you expect she will feel about hair loss. Do pause & consider that at the end of the day, it's literally life we're fighting for. Hair is something that I gave up without thinking about it a second for the chance of living more years.

    if you want to see what a bald woman in her 50s looks like, this is my instagram https://www.instagram.com/itisjustastage/

    I do have wigs too - it's just that many days I can't be bothered to put one on :)

    Please encourage your dd to join this site. Also, for you, there is a caregivers section where you will find information & support.

    Best wishes for your daughter

  • sandygsd
    sandygsd Member Posts: 4
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    What you are suggesting is how I have always dealt with difficult issues with her. You and everyone have given me idea that when the time presents itself I will have something in mind. I hope I can get her on the forum ---but that may be hard-- but will be trying. I do plan on attending one of the care giver meeting on line --

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,687
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    I whole-heartedly agree with everything moth said. And to check out moth's blog, too. She bald and beautiful!

    BTW, if you can't find her blog, try this link: nevertellmetheodds2017.tumblr.com

    Sometimes, I can't get to the blog, although I have a shortcut on my phone for it. If you manually type it in, you have to include the "2017" part.

    moth, if I've overstepped my bounds, please let me know and I'll delete my post. I just think everyone should read your blog. :)

    Carol

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
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    sunshine, not at all! Feel free to share my blog & Instagram anywhere anytime; & thank you for your support 🤗🤗

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,067
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    I had really nice hair too. I didn't want to go through the horror of having it all out in chunks so I went and got a GI Jane buzz cut a few weeks before chemo. I had it shaved to about 1/4". I bought a wig but I found it scratchy and hot. It was summer. I bought some beautiful scarves and got quite good at wrapping them around my head. I wore big earring and combined with the scarves gave me a pretty decent BoHo look. Drawing on eyebrows was the biggest challenge. I actually looked okay bald' .not nearly as beautiful as moth looks but I preferred to cover my head. I accepted Taxol as my friend trying to save my life.

    I did not appreciate "uplifting jokes" about how much time and money I was going to save on hair products. The person who made that comment was stupidly insensitive. And the only product I used was shampoo. I had no hairdryer, curling rod. I got my hair trimmed a few times a year. Hair is important to women. Maybe outsized importance but look at all those TV ads with shiny long locks being tossed around. Going bald is like losing a part of our being female. Like our breasts. Breast cancer is cruel. .

  • sarahmaude
    sarahmaude Member Posts: 338
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    moth, I saw your IG page and you are lovely with and without hair! You project the same energy and determination in your pictures as your writing here. Thank you for sharing.

  • at7jog
    at7jog Member Posts: 1
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    Sandy - I am sorry to hear about your daughter. She is about the same age as me. I have shorter really thick wavy hair, and this week marks treatment No. 12 out of 12 (weekly Taxol; I have Stage 1 BC). I have not lost any of my hair. It's maybe thinned just a little, but no one else can tell it but me. I know it's somewhat rare from what I hear (although some say weekly Taxol results in a bit lower incidence of hair loss in some). I think it's mostly due to the type of hair I have, but the only other thing I am doing differently is washing and conditioning every single day with Aveda Botanical Repair™ Strengthening Shampoo. I know that many recommendations say NOT to wash hair every day ... but I started on this routine and it didn't fall out, so now I'm afraid to stop. I did buy some wigs, hats and sleeping caps at the beginning, as I was sure I would lose my hair, but thankfully did not. I know it could still happen with this last treatment. Just thought I would share my story. I know everyone is different, but I sure appreciated reading others' experiences. Best wishes to your daughter and her recovery!