I read that it's good to get a short haircut before you even start chemo. Then as soon as the hair starts coming out, shave the head. This lets you be in charge of when the hair comes out. It's an important thing to do for your sanity. You are going through a "no sense of control" stage in your life with all the testing, surgeries, and treatments. All that poking and prodding! At least you can be in charge of the hair issue.

So I got a "long" pixie cut about a week before my first chemo. It was kind of cute. I've had my hair halfway down to my elbows for over 30 years. I decided I was going to do something similar once I got my hair back and not go back to super long.

About 2 weeks after my 1st chemo my hair started coming out in the shower. It creeped me out. I took maybe 2 or 3 more showers and finally got annoyed and had my mom cut my hair short with scissors and then my husband shaved my head. We did it outside in the backyard, leaving the hair for birds to use in their nests that summer.

I avoided looking in the mirror for a few days. It was hard to get used to. I signed up for a "Look Good Feel Better " class They teach you that now is a very important time to take care of your self esteem by taking the time to dress nice, use makeup and jewelry, and they showed tricks on wearing caps, hats, beanies and turbans as well as wig care. They gave each of us a tote bag that I swear was filled with quality cosmetics worth $200! When I was shopping at Kohl's a lady approached me and complimented my hat. It felt so good and I was feeling quite stylish that day!

My eyelashes and brows didn't come out until after my last chemo. The Looks Good Feel Better lady showed us how to do eyebrow pencil and eyeliner. Would you believe people said "at least you didn't lose your lashes" to me when I didn't have any lashes! That goes to show the wonders of makeup. I never opted for fake lashes, just used liner the right way.

My last chemo was October and my hair started coming back in December. It took another month to "fill in" and it wasn't until about March or April that I went out in public with nothing on my head. My hair was very short but I've seen women wear their hair that short so I felt confident that no one would think I was bald. It worked out fine. Nobody stared at me. I was so self-conscious. I continued to do the makeup and always wore earrings.

Some people's hair comes back different than it used to be. Curly, straight, slightly different color... Mine came in the same but there was more white than I remember. Perhaps I was just in denial of how much white I really had because I had been dying it for so many years!

So it's been almost exactly a year since my last chemo. My hair has grown about 4 inches.

The eyebrows didn't come all the way back. I have "glorified peachfuzz" but nothing you could actually call a hair. Who knows, maybe some of my peachfuzz hairs will mature into real hairs in the next year. My hair is thinner on crown. Some pink skin shows through. This is probably how I would look as an "old lady" but time got accelerated for me because of the chemo.

Summer was best. I wore a beanie/skull cap my friend made from t-shirt fabric (much better than wig liners) with either a pretty scarf or hat. I loved my hat. Wigs are no fun in the hot, sweaty summer! When the colder weather set in, wearing a scarf or summer style hat just didn't look right. At restaurants I wanted to dress up more. I started wearing my wig which is extra time and bother. Because I was trying to deceive people with fake hair, I was insecure and often worried whether people believed it was my own hair.

For unknown reasons my bald skin reacted whenever I wore anything on my head. Wig days were the worst. I got painful pimples on my head, even though I wore the cotton beanie/liner. I guess the rubbing did it. Every night I showered or bathed using facial acne soap on my head. My husband would dab acne medicine on the spots I couldn't reach. I was really disgusted with my appearance - bald and pimply! Once I figured out to use the acne treatments and to go bald around the house, my skin got better. I warned my daughter's friends who would come to visit for hours on end. I took some bravery to allow 10 and 11 year olds to see me, but I did it and they were very cool about it.

Footnote- enjoy not having to shave your pits and legs for as long as possible, ladies!

Here's my picture, taken about 6 months after my last chemo:

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