Saturday, May 13, 2006

Hair Watch 2006

My hair is still hanging on.

The oncologist and her nurse both told me that I should expect the mass fall-out some time around a week and a half after the first chemo. Well, the first chemo was a week and four days ago, so I think we are right there. Some women in a support group said theirs stayed put for about three weeks, and I found a blog by a woman whose hair started coming out after two weeks and two days.

So it could literally be any day now.

About four days after chemo, I did start noticing that my hair was looking limp and dull. It's really dark and lifeless--no shine or glow at this point. Like the light is absorbed and can't get out. It hasn't really gotten worse since then, but I feel like it's just dying in place.

And in the past couple of days, my scalp has started tingling and burning in a new and unfamiliar way. I have read that the hair loss is associated with this kind of tingling and burning.

This is definitely one of the scariest and most distressing steps in the whole "process." I am really not looking forward to it. But I am at least prepared. I have a wig, a couple of turban-y hats (the Cancer Patient Look), some soft caps (one is pictured above--thanks Mom!), and a bunch of nice and funky scarves that were sent to me by the friend of one of my MBA students who just finished her own treatment.

From what we've heard, you know when the hair is going. You might run your fingers through it, and you come away with a handful. Or you see a clump lying on the pillow. Or you brush along the top of your head, and suddenly there's a reverse Mohawk. The standard advice is, once the first clump goes, shave it all off. Not just GI Jane, either--more like Captain Picard. So that's the plan. It will be painful, no doubt--especially since, with 10 days under my belt since getting chemo, it seems like surely I could have chemo and keep my hair.

Yeah, I know better. Every time Noah or I touch my hair, there's a moment of suspense: will it still be attached? So far, the answer's been yes. But not for much longer.


Anonymous said...

Man, those are some great pictures! Who took them? They do look a little bit posterized, though, but I bet that's just because the blogsite overly compresses them to save server space. I'm sure the originals look way better, but the versions on your site are still pretty damned impressive!

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