Impending hair loss from my chemo is not a new concern. It’s just that until now I’ve been occupied with more immediate concerns; hair loss was to come at some point in the future.
Well, while I’ve been quietly celebrating the fact that I’ve felt absolutely normal since Saturday night or Sunday, the future has arrived. Now I’ve begun stressing over the hair loss thing. Today is Day 14 since my chemo, and according to many, many sources on the Internet, it’s the day my hair will start falling out.
So I’m sitting here, trying not to tug at my hair too often to see if it’s coming loose. I imagine that my scalp feels somehow different. Maybe a little itchy? A gentle scratch. A tug. Nope, nothing yet.
Some reports say it comes out suddenly, in chunks. Some say it just thins gradually into a ragged, patchy mess. And every reputable site indicates it varies widely from person to person, drug to drug, dose to dose. Well, that narrows it down …
I’m prepared. Sort of. I have a couple of knit caps that I think I’ll be reasonably happy wearing. Plus ideas for more. My daughter-in-law suggested a buff (she does fitness training and is familiar with the products). Turns out the company Buff makes the things in hundreds of colors and patterns for every conceivable taste and need. And they advertise something like 12 different ways to wear a buff — several of them similar to the knit “cancer caps” available elsewhere and offering full coverage for bald heads. Unlike chemo caps, however, which seem designed mostly for women who want street or office wear and come mostly in solid colors, buffs go crazy with color and pattern. I ordered one in a bright watercolor print featuring blues, pinks, and purples that will go with a lot of my shirts. I think the look will work for me because I rarely do street wear; I opt for the casual comfort of sports and outdoor wear, which is almost de rigueur in Colorado anyway.
So if you’re stumped for a chemo cap you like, consider a buff (the original Buff long style, or similar from other companies). Lots more colors and patterns to choose from and a more casual look. And the soft, stretchy knit fabric is smooth and seamless.
Another idea I’ve looked at: surgical scrub caps. Lots of bright colors and patterns there too. Just not sure if they’d be as soft as some cancer patients need for their tender scalps.
Anyway, I’ve bought all I can afford at the moment. The real dilemma: When will my hair start falling out and how bad/fast will it be? The minute I know for sure it’s coming out bigtime, I’m prepared to go for a buzz cut and be done with it. But I don’t want to make that leap before … on the off chance that it might not come out, or might not all come out. Or something. But I have a long-standing appointment with the eye doctor on Monday, and my second round of chemo is Tuesday, after which it could be a week to 10 days before I feel like trekking to the hairdresser. (My DIL has offered to do it; there’s another decision to make.) So it seems I have to do it before Monday, or be prepared to wait another two weeks.
Yes, I should be taking full advantage of feeling well this week, getting to the supermarket, etc. And I will. But hanging over it all is this hair thing. And having decided weeks ago to just get it buzzed “when the time comes” turns out to have been no decision at all.