Adriamycin, breast cancer, Cancer Kitten, Cathy Kenney, chemotherapy, cytoxan, Dana Farber, DFCI, hair loss, head shave, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, medical oncology, oncology, shaved head, Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma, young woman with breast cancer
Funny thing, it is easier for me to “expose” my boobs than it is for me to show the world pictures of me without hair. Maybe it’s because I’m used to showing strangers my boobs now, but I don’t typically have them check out my scalp. Maybe. Anyway, I think I’m ready for a photographic recap of the (physical) results of chemotherapy.
In preparation for my chemo hair loss, I cut my hair short and donated it to Locks of Love.
Two weeks after I had my first dose of the A/C combo of chemotherapy (Adriamycin and Cytoxan), my hair started to fall out. Everyday, a little bit more came out. It was terrifying. I ran my hand through my hair, and lots of strands would just fall out. I felt like the wind could blow the hair right off of my head.
I cried in the shower. I had to take toilet paper and clean out the drain every time, and everyday there was more hair. I kept asking Bing if it was time to shave yet, and he would gauge whether or not my short hair still looked cute and typically tell me no. Three weeks after my first dose of the A/C combo, my hair looked like this:
Bing agreed that it was time for a head shave (thank goodness!) and I charged up the grooming clippers.
The end results on October 11, 2012 – my first time being bald:
Not having hair fall out in the shower and find it all over my pillow was a relief. However, it was quite strange when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, especially when I got out of the shower. I surprised myself for the first week or two, which made me realize how much smarter my horse is than me. He stops getting surprised by mirrors after a day or two.
On the bright side, having no hair and a pre-styled wig did make shower time quite fast. I have never been able to get ready to go out so quickly either. I could go from horse-dirty to dressed for the night in less than 30 minutes. Pretty convenient. It made me feel like a man, in a good way (if there is such a thing!).
November 14, 2012. What are you going to do about it?
So, I understand that beauty is only skin deep, and that you love someone for their inner AND outer beauty, but I really tested Bing’s eyes when I decided to have knee surgery two weeks after my last chemo dose. I had trouble keeping my oxygen levels above 90% following surgery, so they had to send me home with an oxygen machine. As I lay on the couch, bald with plastic oxygen tubes in my nose and a giant ice machine on my knee, Bing looked at me and said “Kitten, you’ve really gone downhill since I met you.” At the time, we laughed hysterically about it. (He broke off our engagement this week, so maybe I should’ve paid better attention to this foreshadowing event, but oh well, that’s not me!)
I shaved my head in the shower whenever I grew little sporadic spikes. I felt like a smooth noggin was better than one with random hair growth. I kept up the shaving until about 4 weeks after my last chemo, at which point I figured my hair would probably start growing back evenly. Here’s an oh-so-sexy self portrait in the bathroom mirror from December 30th. I think I was getting a little regrowth at this time. (My last chemo was the day before Thanksgiving, November 21, 2012.)
Hanging with Chris (in my wig!) January 7, 2013:
Here’s my tennis ball head on January 15, 2013:
And finally, my current ‘do. It’s at this inbetween stage, where I still like a recovering cancer patient, but it’s getting close(r) to looking like I have a purposeful haircut.