Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Losing my hair and letting my body down

My hair started falling out today - 13 days after my first round of chemo. My oncologist said by day 14 I would have a new hair style. She wasn't kidding.

Even though I have known this was going to happen, it was still very unnerving. I was in the shower getting ready for work and when I started to shampoo my hair, I had hairs covering both hands. And then when I towel dried my hair, it was all over the towel.

I felt like a dog who sheds really badly. YUK! If it continues to really shed, I will get it buzzed. But a part of me is still hoping beyond hope that it will just get thin. Yes, I am in DENIAL!

I think this is the most down I have felt since my surgery when the doctor told me they found a tumor in my sentinel lymph node.

The other part of this whole cancer experience that I am struggling with is feeling like a failure.

I forgot where I read it, but I remembering reading that many people who receive a cancer diagnosis often feel their bodies have betrayed them. Despite their good overall health, a daily exercise regimen and sound eating habits, their bodies developed cancer anyway. And these people generally feel angry or wonder "Why me?"

I feel just the opposite. I feel like I am the one who has failed my body. Perhaps I have not taken good enough care of myself and that is why I have cancer. I stopped exercising regularly years ago. I drink more alcohol now than I ever have. I've put on weight. I stopped going to yoga class. Cancer tends to run in my family. I have never asked "Why me?" I have concluded "Why not me?"

Obviously there is a bit of guilt involved with the way I feel right now. Perhaps that is my Catholic upbringing kicking in. It's the old "scorekeeping" mentality I know so well. Not good.

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that cancer is cancer and it is an equal opportunity disease. We all know there are things you can do to help decrease your chances of getting cancer. But there are lots of really healthy people who get cancer and die from it, including a high school classmate of mine who just passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 47. He left behind a wife and three kids. He was the picture of health.

Carrying around this guilt really isn't helping anything, so I have decided to look at this experience in a new light.

Maybe this "new" me -- this soon-to-be-bald person -- is someone who is very health-conscious and strong and takes really good care of herself. Maybe this new me is absolutely kickass and is much much stronger and healthier than the old me.

Where's my golden lasso?


  1. Oh man. I'm so sorry about the hair. Did you scarves come in? Can't wait to see which ones you picked out.

    And if anyone can find the golden lasso, it's definitely you!!! Thinking good thoughts for you!

  2. Sorry today was such a down day. I am looking forward to a pic in one of your new posh scarves.

    You look like Wonder Woman so that makes sense!!!

  3. Hang in there! I'd like to share an experience I had recently. After finishing my second round of chemo (my first was 10 years ago-opposite breast), I was going on and on to my oncologist about all the healthy things I was doing(completely ignoring the fact that most of these healthy habits I've had all my life.) She listened patiently, then said "LuAnn, its important you understand this was NOT CAUSED BY ANYTHING YOU DID OR DIDN'T DO". It was good to hear these words. I will continue of course to exercise, keep my weight down, drink just a glass or 2 a wine a week and eat healthy. But I think I'll give up the idea of cooking with tofu!

  4. Jen...I go to my consult for my chemo today with the oncologist.
    I keep telling myself...as long as I'm not horribly sick I can deal with the hair loss.
    But now that I'm 4 weeks out from my BMX, I'm being real....
    I know it will still bother me when it starts falling out.
    I will probably buzz if all off so its less traumatic.
    I lived and ate healthy. Took all kinds of supplements ...no family history ...had babies young but STILL got breast cancer in both breasts. DCIS in my left and mammary lobular carcinoma tumors in the right that is invasive.
    We'll make it thru this !!
    Debbi http://atoosassygal.blogspot.com/