A woman with no hair looks confident

Hair Loss, Hats and Wigs

I see a lot of folks these days receiving treatment for lung cancer and they do not lose their hair. That’s wonderful! But, of course, a lot of folks are still losing their hair. That can be very traumatic for folks, both men and women.

Swearing to never color my hair again

I remember when I had chemotherapy and lost mine. For me, it probably wasn’t as traumatic as it may be for others. One reason is that I had colored my hair for years. Nature gave me very dark hair. (Not counting the increasing amount of gray!) I liked being a blonde. Coloring my hair was a trap, though. And it was an expensive trap! I thought to myself, if I ever get a cancer diagnosis and need chemotherapy, I will break this trap. I will never color my hair again.

And then my hair started falling out

Well, sure enough, that happened. I had several rounds of paclitaxel and carboplatin. I asked how long it would be before I lost my hair. My oncologist said to expect it to start falling out in a couple of weeks. Exactly 14 days after my first round of chemo, my hair started falling out. It was in December and I was baking holiday cookies when my hair started falling out. To keep the mess down and to give myself a sense of control, I went ahead and had my husband shave my head.

Hats and wigs became my new look

Woman and man formally dressedWithin a day or two after losing my hair, I received a surprise package in the mail. It was a box full of several types of hats and head coverings! It came from Heavenly Hats Foundation, an organization started by a 10 year old boy who is now an adult.

In addition to the hats, I wore a wig for the first few months. It was a nice enough wig but after a while, I preferred to go bareheaded instead of wearing the wig. My husband and I had taken a cruise in March to celebrate the completion of my treatment. It was during that cruise that I flipped my wig off and started going bald.

Elegant with or without my hair

On the cruise, one night when we dressed formal and had our photo with the captain, the captain said something to me that lifted my spirits.

“You are the most elegant woman on this ship,” he whispered to me.

How kind and sweet was that? I was the only bald woman on the ship, but he made me feel beautiful by saying that.

There are benefits to being bald

It has been 14 years since I lost my hair. Although I often get tempted, I have not colored my hair during that time. According to my rough calculation, by not coloring my hair, I have saved nearly $10K!

Being bald spoiled me in a sense. I loved not having to wash, dry or style my hair. But I also loved having long hair. I tried growing it out time and time again. But as soon as it grew longer than a couple of inches, it would drive me crazy and I chopped it off.

Growing my hair back out

I am trying again now. What I miss most is simply pulling it into a ponytail. I also used to love French braiding my hair. I liked putting it up, too. I have been growing it this time for about 10 months. My hair grows so slowly, probably because my metabolism has slowed down because I am 65. Not coloring or cutting my hair is an exercise in discipline. I still can’t pull it into a ponytail or braid it, but I am getting a little closer every month.

What about you? What was your experience? Did you lose your hair? Was it traumatic? Did you wear a wig? Share your experience in the comments!

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