Sunday, November 20, 2011

Advice to the Baldies

Now that I've been bald for 2 whole months, I have a lot of advice to give other baldies out there.

First of all, and most importantly, you actually have to wash your bald little head.  I guess this didn't really occur to me.  I remember washing my hair for the last time before shaving it off and being thrilled ( "thrilled" as you can be when you know you are going to lose your hair) that I could skip the whole hair washing routine for a while.

About a week after the head shaving, my bald head started to itch.  This is when it dawned on me that you might actually have to wash your bald head!  HUH!  Go figure!  It is skin after all.  I consulted the expert baldy that I know (my husband) and asked him what he uses on his head.  Well, he uses the bar of soap in the shower.  This explains why any hair he has feels like a Brillo pad.  Not that I had any hair at all at that point, but using the bar of soap that I use to clean "other" parts of my body, on my head....dripping into my eyes...that just seemed...well...WRONG!

I decided to look at all of the shampoos that I have and I was able to pretty much eliminate anything that said for "fuller hair" or "more lustrous hair" or "more manageable hair."  Not really the product I was needing at that time.  I settled on a dandruff shampoo that claims it soothes the scalp.

A soothed scalp is exactly what I needed.  Mmmm.

Which brings me to my next piece of advice:  You need DRASTICALLY less shampoo when you don't have any hair to soak it up.  Suffice it to say that this did not occur to me until I had put way too much on my head and I had shampoo EVERYWHERE!  Bright blue shampoo.  All over the place.  And since you have no hair to stop anything, it just runs down without abandon.  My feet were blue, the shower was blue, everything was blue.  It took me a good 5 minutes to find all of the blue and rinse it off.

Melissa Etheridge rocking the
bald head!
Something else that came as a complete surprise to me was your hair actually starts to grow back between each chemo treatment.  I didn't expect this!  I guess I just thought it would all fall out and that would be it and I'd be one of those cool bald chicks like you see in cancer awareness pictures - with a smooth head.  I never got the smooth head anyway because of my 5 o'clock shadow - but also my hair kept just growing back and then falling out again.  I found that quite irritating - just make up your mind already hair!

It was a cycle.  Chemo treatment, hair growing, hair falls out, chemo treatment, hair get it.  The nice thing about having shaved my head was that then the hairs that fell out were pretty teeny and not a big deal.  I wasn't finding hair everywhere - it was just all over the towel when I dried my head after washing it.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides to having your hair keep growing back is that hair that is growing back is really prickly!  All those little hairs feel like they are stabbing you.  Especially when you are doing your favorite during chemo activity - sleeping.  Poke Poke Poke.  I did find that wearing a open knit hat seemed to really help with the poking sensation.  However, open knit hats tend to have a mind of their own and I woke up with aforementioned open knit hat over my face a couple of times - I thought I was suffocating.  I'm okay now.

Another interesting thing about chemo hair, or my hair specifically, is that once I had shaved my head, some of my hair did start to grow and never fall out.  I had really expected that it would all be gone, but it didn't work that way.  Some of it started growing and now I have about 10% of my hair that is an inch long or so.  Sadly, those all seem to be the gray hairs.  Those damn gray hairs are really stubborn!  About a month into chemo, my husband saw my hair growing back and exclaimed, "It's growing in blonde!!"  (He was thrilled!)  Sadly, I had to inform him that those hairs weren't blonde - but gray.  "Oh...Oops" he said sadly.  Yes, dude, I feel your frustration, I wanted to be blonde too.

Cute dog but not a good look for me!
Now, 3 weeks after finishing chemo, I expect that the hair will start growing back and staying!  I can't wait to see what I end up with.  They say chemo can change your hair drastically.  I've heard stories of straight hair growing back curly or dark hair growing back blonde (there's still a chance for me!).  Who knows what I might end up with!!

However, with my luck, it'll be gray and super curly so that I end up looking like a geriatric poodle.

I'd rather be bald.

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