Cancer is characterized by fast growth, and cancer-killing drugs are designed to attack cells that grow quickly. Unfortunately, those drugs cannot differentiate between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys. Therefore, fast-growing cells such as hair follicles are victims of side effects. It took a lot of years to make peace with my fine, limp, brown, straight hair, and this is what I get for it--another monkey wrench.
In the last 20 years, I've managed by having frequent perms and weekly attention from a hairdresser. Now that I've had three chemotherapy treatments, I'll soon be back to Square One in developing a hairstyle that works for me.
My hair history is a tale of defiance and rebellion. It laughs demonically at curling irons and readily succumbs to the affects of damp weather. Having been born and raised with the naturally soft water of Western Oregon, I'd never heard of creme rinse. When I went off to school in Utah, my first self-actualized hairdo after washing in hard water was breathtaking, a fact immortalized by my cartoonish finger-in-the-light-socket student ID picture, which landed in that immortal history known as the yearbook. THEN someone told me about conditioner! Ten years later, when we lived on tropical Guam, I surrendered to the only alternative, keeping it very short in what was known then as a pixie cut.
At home I had used natural elements to dry my hair, but at college the Saturday morning ritual of sitting in the sun or in front of the roaring fireplace became impossible. I had to get one of those portable hair dryers with the pliable plastic cap that fit over the curlers so I didn't have to go out in the cold with wet hair.
By the time I had my last child in my mid-30s, gray started creeping in, and over the next 20 years as it developed a mink effect--gray ends with dark roots--my goals became A) not to look like George Washington, and B) not to frighten small children. Fortunately I've found hairdressers who understood how to do that.
My thoughtful daughter, Colorado Girl, found a chemo hat website and had several sent to me. They are delightful and I'm very pleased, especially with the nightcap. Good idea. My friend Bette is handy with the crochet hook and stopped by the other day to have me try on the hat she is making for me.
Not a minute too soon. Hair loss is making itself more obvious. People are used to seeing me nicely coiffed, and I'm used to not worrying much about how my hair looks. Things change with three chemo treatments. A couple of Sundays ago, when I was having an old-fashioned Bad Hair Day, I wore a hat to church, and this week one of my friends said I "really rocked the hat" that day.
This week was my last hair appointment for a while. Quite a lot of hair bailed out while the hairdresser was fixing it so there's no point in curling it anymore. In fact, while I was cooking the other day, I wore a hat to keep hair out of the food.
Thus it begins. Or ends. Some people tell me that when hair grows back after chemo, it sometimes changes in texture and volume from what it was before. Frankly, a year from now I wouldn't mind looking like Little Orphan Annie.
This has been an "off" week, with no chemo so my platelets can build up again, but my two out-of-town children, Colorado Girl and Utah Boy, will act as minions for the Tuesday therapy. They wanted to give Hubby and Provo Girl a break, and I'll be glad to have them here.