I think last Friday’s dose of Taxol really did in my hair follicles. By Sunday night, I was shedding, what seemed to me, a startling amount of hair, and Monday morning proved to be the clincher. I stood in the shower Monday for at least a 1⁄2 hour watching handful after handful of hair wash down the drain.
And if that wasn’t unsettling enough, it was seeing myself in the mirror that made my stomach sink. I had to look hard into the mirror to find me. The hair that remained looked a lot lighter in color than I am accustomed. This was probably because of the white background my scalp provided. I grabbed a hand mirror, turned around and looked at my head from a number of angles. All I could see was scalp and a thin veil of hair. It was really hard not to feel disturbed despite the fact that I knew this was a side effect of chemo. I couldn’t stop thinking that I looked sick, sick because of cancer.
I knew there was nothing I could do to my hair, from this point on, to style it into anything that felt “normal.” So with clippers in hand, I shaved my head. Each pass of the clippers was methodical. I never looked at myself in the eye as I stood in front of the mirror and cut my hair. I think I needed to disconnect to make my way through another painful part of this cancer experience.
When I was finished, I quickly looked my head over and was actually glad that I had decided to shave my head. No hair turned out to be much less disturbing that sparse hair. I didn’t spend much more time in front of the mirror because it was uncomfortable seeing me looking like I did. Besides, I needed to get on with my day.
It’s Wednesday evening, and I’ve had a few days with my new look. I’ll be able to handle it, but I still find it hard to look at myself in the mirror. It’s not because I think I look bad but rather because when I see myself, I think about the reason that causes me to have no hair. Cancer is so in my face now.
I think the best bet for me is to concentrate more on the way I feel instead of the way I look. I have energy; I feel like me; I sound like me, and people respond to me in the same way they always have. I don’t feel, for the most part, like anything is different, and that feels GREAT!
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I'm ready!!! I have a lump in my throat thinking about the loss of your hair...not because it's gone, but because you have to go through this!!! Just wanted to let you know that I can still let my humor break through the lump in my throat. I'm standing by with stamps and ink, non-toxic paint and a mind racing with ideas. I really think it would be cool to paint one of those cranium pictures on your head. It would be absolutely hysterical to see people's reactions!!! Maybe when Kelly comes into town we can paint your head to surprise Nat when he gets back. OOPS! The cat is out of the bag because he is probably reading this! Well, Ethan probably isn't reading this, so we could surprise him!!!! Look on the bright side...you still smell good AND you have all your teeth! A million hugs to you and Nat!
Thinking of you It must be so difficult for you to lose your hair. Knowing that it was going to happen doesn't make it any easier. Let's think ahead though. I know that often times after patients lose their hair, it grows back differently. I'm picturing you as a blonde, a blonde with curly hair. I look so forward to the day you have your last chemo treatment and you celebrate with so many who love you that you won the battle. You're going to beat this! Please know that I pray for you and think of you often. Love you, C.
Beautiful Spirit! Hey, Lisa! I've been thinking so much about you and sending lots of love your way! I'm so glad to hear that you are feeling pretty good and the chemo is doing it's job. I'm so sorry that you are having to go through the "crummy" side effect of losing your hair, but when all your friends and family are with you, all we see is your beautiful spirit - hair or no! Keep taking care of yourself! Love, M.
It WILL return Lisa I am sending you a virtual hug as you grieve over the loss of your hair (it's a loss worthy of grieving, no?) I'm recalling my mother and 3 friends who lost their hair due to cancer treatment in the past couple of years and it DID grow back for all of them. With the distance of time, it seemed like a short blip in retrospect, tho hugely disturbing while they were living it. So I'm thinking of positive visions for the future--that your hair will return. If I could see you, I have a feeling that I would tell you that now, people looking at you focus only on how beautiful your face is, without being distracted by your hair...but I doubt if that would be of comfort. Well, hopefully knowing that your words touch everyone who knows you, however peripherally, is of some comfort. Best-- A. S. in Ann Arbor
Hair You anticipated that the hair loss would be one of the most difficult aspects of this to face. And it happened. And it was difficult. Now you have faced THAT difficult thing. And with equanimity, as always. Bravo! Much love to you both, J.
Thinking of You I'm at the Moving Up in Math course at Campbell and what an experience. Trying to get these "on level" kids up to 371 is a challenge!!! Just wanted to say that you have now done what I considered the HARDEST part of my chemo. The big hair loss!! Hang in there. I'm thinking of you often. Your attitude is wonderful.
Believe in yourself!! Love, C.
My brave friend I am so sorry to hear you are now dealing with the hair loss. I know it must be difficult. When I read your description of how you picked up the razor and shaved your head bald, I felt so proud of you for being brave. After all of those *** evenings of trying to style our hair perfectly before a night on the town...how refreshing to just get rid of it!! (I know this is a funny way to look at it, but hey, I'm trying to make you smile). You will get through this and your hair will come back...although I can't quite imagine you with blond curly hair as one of your friends suggested! You know, my hair is probably my most treasured asset, and when I think about what you're going through right now, I can't believe I care so much about my hair!!! Anyway, I love the bald look-just look at who I married! I love you, C.
Yellow bracelet When I look at my yellow bracelet, I think of you. That happens several times in the course of a day. I'm sure the hair loss is a total bummer, but you have the right spirit and attitude to make it through this thing. We're leaving for a week's trip to Iowa, but will get in touch with you when we return. It's difficult to believe that last summer you were challenging yourself to ride your bike across Wisconsin. Although I've never done such a difficult physical feat, I think your comparison between cancer and the bike ride is a powerful one. Take care and talk to you soon. J.
Amazing! That's you. You are truly! That you should worry about your friends and co-workers as you travel through this difficult journey is so inspiring. Lisa, I have told a number of people about your writing on Carepages. Sometimes I will quote something you have written and their comments have always been - “She should be a writer. The people she could help that have to face the same trial she is facing could benefit so much from reading about her experiences. That is always followed by "I will definitely keep her and her husband in my prayers". I have always thought you were pretty "cool". (oops, my age is showing) Even when I had to pat your bottom all night long so I could get a couple hours of sleep. Keeping you and Nat in my prayers. Love you, A. P.
Hang in There This has to be the hardest thing-seeing yourself in a new light. Have courage. This too will pass; hair grows back, and remember, the beauty you have comes from within. All the D's send their love.
Thinking of You Hey Lisa, I read your updates frequently but I just wanted you to know that you are still in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you are feeling well. I am spending the week with over 400 kids at Vacation Bible School. I and a couple of teacher buddies are in charge of Games and Recreation. Good thing I am not an elementary PE teacher. Every bone in my body hurts and it’s only Monday. Three hours of crab soccer, and I am wiped out. Take care of yourself. I'll come by school and say hi sometime.
Hi Lisa I wanted to send you some warm wishes from California. The last few days I can actually say that! My parents were up the last few days and I kept telling them they were not experiencing normal Santa Barbara "June Gloom" weather. I don't think they believed me because the weather was so nice. As someone else said, your hair will grow back which I know may not be a much comfort, but the impact you are having on people through these Carepages will last so much longer. We're all pulling for you! K.
Thinking About You! I have been thinking about you so much and wanted to simply let you know that you are heavy on my heart. I think of you and how you must be adjusting to the bald look. I recently saw an email of a bald man who had the cutest tattoo on the top of his head of a lawnmower! Get it? The last few days have been a real adventure over here. M and I are building a deck. Fortunately, he hasn't thrown the hammer at me yet, but I'm wondering how it will go tomorrow. It is a slow project! Talk to you soon. c.
You're handling your hair loss better than some men I know... I'm sad that you're sad about your hair, but what a relief that you feel well. Since I haven't seen you, I'm not picturing a cancerous, sick-looking bald Lisa; I'm picturing a Demi Moore- GI Joe-empowered kind of Lisa. I love you so much, and I wish I had the words to make all this disappear. I'm trying my hardest not to say, "I STILL can't believe you have cancer." Whoops...said it anyway. I can't tell you how many times I find myself thinking about you and physically shaking my head no. C., C., and R. don't have much hair, so if you need some bald company, just say the word. My thoughts continue to be with you, Dear Friend. Hope you feel the love coming your way from the S. house.
Sending you a hug! Hi Lisa, Just sending you a hug and lots of love!!!! You are in my thoughts each and every day. Love, A. P.
...just thinking about you both I was just thinking about you and Nat. That's all :)
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