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Jan 12, 2010 12:18PM
I have always had stick-straight hair, and for the past, oh, 30 years or so, I've worn it in a shoulder-length or chin-length bob. Then came chemo (4 rounds of Taxotere & Cytoxan), in 2008. I finished chemo 19 months ago.
The first hair to grow out was, of course, that incredibly fine, colorless stuff. By October '08 (4 months post-chemo), I had plenty of real hair. It was extremely short, straight, and sort of a mouse-brown color. (My pre-chemo color was medium-brown with red highlights.) The fastest regrowth was at the nape of my neck, which is still true today. Actually, that was the first place I could pluck out tufts of hair 2 weeks into my first round of TC.
Within a month, it had started to curl, and was picking up some of the normal color. This is what it looked like by December '08:
I actually kind of liked it at that stage (6 months post-chemo). It was curly, but not unruly. I got lots of help and advice from one of my May '08 chemo sisters, who sort of specializes in curly hair. She strongly advised all of us new curly-girls to put away our hairbrushes and blow-dryers, and style our curly hair with minimal fussing. Pat it after a shower; finger-comb it at most; and let it air-dry. The curls stay defined and manageable then, rather than turning to fuzz.
My hair continued to grow out curly-curly. (Remember, it had always been stick-straight until chemo.) By February '09, this is what I was dealing with:
Crazy-curls! I could have played "Little Orphan Annie" at that point. The nape of my neck was still growing like crazy, but my bangs had caught up. I had this big, curly, flop of hair hanging down in front; and I didn't know what to do with it. I'd heard that cutting curly bangs could create all sorts of aesthetic nightmares.
So, I went in for my first post-chemo haircut in March '09 (9 months post-chemo). My long-time hairdresser (25 years) trimmed off the tips of the hairs, which were still that fine, colorless post-chemo stuff. She shaped things and evened out the lop-sidedness. Much better! I went back for trims every 2 or 3 months, while we tried to work out a "transitional" hairstyle. (I hadn't decided if I wanted to go back to my chin-length hair, or keep it a lot shorter.) Sorry, but I have no pics of my post-haircut look(s).
My last trim/haircut was in December '09. All the curl is gone now; I'm back to stick-straight hair again. My hairdresser thinks it might be even straighter than it used to be, but I think it's about the same. The color is medium-brown, and I actually have less gray now than I had before all this mess began. I've decided to keep it much shorter than it was pre-chemo. It is so much easier to take care of -- no blow-dryer needed; no curling iron; no worries if I get caught in a rainstorm. It still grows fastest at the nape of my neck, and I have to work hard to keep from looking like I have a mullet!
2008, IDC, Stage Ia, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-