"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hair Loss

I always knew that most people on chemotherapy lose their hair, but I never really thought about the process. So here's what I went through for any of you interested...
My onc. said I'd lose my hair by three weeks from my first treatment. I first noticed it starting to fall out when we were in the emergency room which was about day 6. I remember looking down at my pillow and seeing that it was covered in hair-- probably about 20 strands.

Over the next few days I noticed extra hair in my brush and strands of it on my clothes and pillow. About 2 weeks into treatment I could run my hands through my hair and pull out about a half a dozen strands every time.

My onc. had warned me that many people "poo-poo" the emotional effects of hair loss and that I should be prepared for it to be a bit traumatic. I think, at this point, when I was pulling out handfuls at a time, my first thought was that losing my hair made me feel sick. It seemed like a visible, tangible reminder that I'm not well. And that bugged me more than my impending baldness. By 2 weeks and 1 day I was shedding really badly. Hair was getting in my food, on my toothbrush, on the furniture. I even found a strand wrapped around Caleb's pacifier. At this point, I thought that shaving it off sounded like it would be a relief. Anything would be better than being reminded of my illness everytime I saw more hair fall to the floor. Plus, by this time, the hair I had left on my head was thinning a lot and I couldn't really style it anymore anyway.

I'd hoped my hair would last through today so I could go to church one more time with my own hair. But when I took a bath Friday night and saw how much hair was in the water, I gave up and decided to let Terry cut it off.

We'd been telling Micah that I was going to lose my hair and I thought it would be better for him to see me have it cut, so he was there when Terry pulled out the scissors. He's the one who took most of the pictures. Here's my "Before" pic. My hair looks surprisingly full because I'd just washed and blow dryed it.

Terry started with the scissors first.

What do you think? Does Terry have a future in hair styling?

I think God must have given Terry and I both blinders. Because at this point, when my hair looked like it does above, we both kept saying how good it looked and that I might have to cut it this short someday when it grows back. Seriously. We thought I looked kind of punk. =)

Pretty funky, huh?

And here's the finished product.
You can see how thin it is.

And here I am in my wig.

I've worn the wig for two days now. I wore a scarf for a little bit yesterday but Micah said I looked like a pirate in it. Caleb hasn't seemed to notice a difference. Wig, shaved head, scarf, it's all the same to him. Micah actually liked my shaved head so much that after Terry finished cutting my hair, he asked for the same cut.

So now we're sporting the same hairdo. I was in the bathroom helping him brush his teeth last night (I wasn't wearing a wig or scarf) and he looked up at me in the mirror and said, "You starting to look like Daddy!" Ha!

It won't be too many more days when what's left on my head is gone too. If I reach up and pinch my hair, I can pull it out by the root without any effort. I can do the same to the hair on my arms. It just pulls right out. Weird. I'm not really very bothered by any of it though. I take it as a sign that the medicine is working. People have told me how hot the wig is and I'm sure if I were outside for a long time I'd agree. But so far (which is only 2 days) the heat doesn't bother me as much as the tightness of the wig. It gives me a headache after too long. But maybe it will loosen as I wear it. I gotta admit, I do like not having to blowdry or style my hair in the morning. It's kind of nice to just set my hair on my head and go! And I get to pack up my blowdryer, straightner and curling iron! My bathroom counter will be so nice and empty!

My onc. says that my hair will start to grow back almost exactly three weeks after my last chemo treatment. Which (if we don't get knocked off schedule due to low white blood cell count) will be September 23. My hope is that I'm wig-free by Christmas. Although, who knows, I might enjoy it so much that I become a wig person!


  1. Hair or no hair, wig or no wig, you are beautiful inside and out. You are such an inspiration, Sarah. Great pictures and Micah is so precious!

  2. Freedom!! You are making ME want a wig!
    I giggled a lot at this post. I loved the Terry the Beauty School Dropout pics. And gasped when I saw how GREAT your semi-shaved hair do is! Seriously!
    I feel like I'm gushing. So I won't go on and on about how stylish your wig is...but I could. I'm so glad you chronicled this. I love before and afters of any kind! :)

  3. So I remember a few years back, my mom told her friend, "Erin could be totally bald and she'd still be really cute." Well, you and Erin have that in common my dear! Your big eyes and petite features let you rock your look. And I must say, with the hot weather already here...bald might be the smarter way to go!
    P.S. Your first picture of the hair being cut looks like when you cut mine in college! BAHAHAHAHA!

  4. I seriously love your hair! You look so pretty with or without hair! You are such an inspiration to everyone! Your wig is absolutley adorable too. I agree with the girls with it being so HOT...you will be glad you shaved it! I am so glad you posted before, during, and after pictures. I did tear up when Micah asked for the same haircut...so sweet!!

  5. I am so glad you included Micah in your new adventure! I is so touching that he wanted the same hair cut. You look hot by the way!

  6. I like the 'rocker' style on you too!!

  7. You look really cute with the buzz cut!! It really suits you :) You have a cute head :) I love your wig too!

  8. I'm Andrea btw - Emily's friend :) I've been praying for you and stalking your blog :)

  9. Your wig is HOT!! and I'm not talking about the temp. I think you look awesome and glowing.

  10. You look so beautiful. Without the wig and with the wig on. We love you and are praying for you. Shaenelle is home for the month of June. She's been in Chile on a mission trip and we would love to come up and see you. Let us know what is a good time for you.

  11. Sarah, I love the looks! And I do mean plural! Once Terry gets a little more practice, I may start booking appointments with him, and I'm very picky about hair stylists! You look precious with all those looks, with or without hair. Your wig totally rocks. Don't be surprised if your hair is curly when it first grows back. Everyone I know that has had breast cancer and gone through chemo, their hair grows back in curly at first. They contributed it to having a "permanent" from the inside out with all those chemicals! Great post.


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