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Look Good Feel Good

Look Good Feel Good

Posted by KathyH on Feb 12, 2019 6:02 am

What an irony, the day I decided to do the little self esteem course was the biggest hair loss day I had had.  I wore a hat for the first time so as not to shed clumps on anyone or myself.  It was quite daunting.  I've been saying, its only hair, it will grow back, I have hats, wigs, a hat with hair.  I'm ready.  Sigh......I was not.  It just felt so creepy and weird.  And now what?  Time to cut, time to shave?  I know the answer is yes, yet it seems like such an odd step.  To make an appt some where to go quietly and do it?  My son called and said he would do it as I heard him fight back tears.  How can I let him do that, do I make a fun event of it?  That's what I should do but I haven't the courage yet.  Its hair?  for goodness sake why am I struggling with this.  I look at other woman and do not think less of them, I feel sad in the chemo room for them, now its my turn.  I will overcome this, its silly, I'm dealing with everything else so much better than this.  Maybe its the little things that are harder, I think I feel bad for everyone else who has to look at this.  The outward changes are what make the people around me really see the cancer.  I see the fear in their eyes.  Sadly I am surrounded by men only, my boys, my boyfriend.....no female support.  Men are wonderful but they really can't comfort a woman or say hey, lets just do it.  I will figure this out today, after the morning hair brushing coming soon I may not have a lot more options, LOL.  Maybe Friday, would be a good hair cutting day, symbolic as its my 60th birthday and I have made no plans for the day.  Too scared to leave the house and hit a restaurant looking like someone I'm not comfortable yet.  The family is waiting for me to say what I'm comfortable with and I have no answers.  So this is 60, ugh,  haha. 

Sorry bit of a pity party, but necessary at times to get it out of your system so you can put your big girl pants on and get to the other side of this.  Once I do I know I will embrace it and move forward.  And probably wonder why I did all the blubbering over this. 

Thanks for listening, I hope you know it really helps to have someone out there.

Kathy H

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Essjay on Feb 12, 2019 9:31 pm

I went to a Look Good Feel Better workshop today!

I found the hair loss sudden and quick, my husband had cut my hair short - he clipped it with his hair trimmer, with tears from both of us. Then he did his hair and his beard as short, and we commiserated over ice Cream! It then came out in clumps over about 24 hours!

It is hard, all I can suggest is you acknowledge how you feel, and recognize that tomorrow is another day. Your family will soon get used to your new look whatever you choose to share with them. Do you have a wig yet? I have a free loan from Cancercare. If you have one, maybe your 60th birthday is a good time to try it out. They look so amazing, no one will ever know.

I don’t like my husband to see me with my bald head - I don’t even like it myself, but I have been having fun with hats and scarves. I have only worn my wig so far to talk to my mother (in England) via messenger video! I’ve found the loss of other hair more of a struggle - eyebrows are thinning, eyelashes too, nose hair loss is a complete inconvenience, and my new ‘brazilian’ makes me feel like a freak and totally unsexy!

i quite enjoyed the look good feel better workshop. I’m not big on makeup - a little mascara is what I wear mostly, but it was fun to do the full face (including drawing eyebrows which I am starting to need)! The volunteers were awesome, and I was really impressed with the products we got to take home in our kit. I won’t use it every day, but I might make more of an effort sometimes. I feel my skin has aged considerably through my cancer diagnosis and treatment, and maybe it needs a little help now and again!

It was interesting in the workshop, one lady still had her hair, three wore wigs, but the remainder (and the majority) sported hats of some sort. We were soon swapping hat sources between us - my beret from Headcovers.com was a talking point!

Hope you can find your way through this - we are all here to help or just to listen, whatever you need xx

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Feb 13, 2019 8:41 am

Oh, KathyH‍ , my heart goes out to you! There are lots of women who can actually relate to what you are going through with your hair. You might find some discussions by joining Ladies’ Retreat under groups. It’s not really active, but one of the great things about this site is you can always read old material. At the top of the screen, you also do searches on a specific topic, so you could search “head coverings” for example, and different threads with those words in them would pop up.

I’ve read here that many salons have a private room to serve people who need a private appointment. Do look around in your area - it would be a more pampering experience for you, I think, and I could tell how seeing your son even talking about it was tearing you up. I was literally in tears for you over all of it.

I just had a crappy 60th birthday myself, so I CAN relate to that part of your post. High five, Aquarian sister!

Essjay‍ , I’d say you are absolutely right - this definitely has to be an ice-cream worthy moment. That was what I ended up with on my birthday, after I decided that buying a cake for myself to eat at home alone was just too sad.

I hope all your “laddies” plan something very special for your birthday. I’d be very pleased for them to compensate for my laddie’s shortcomings by lavishing it all on you! (And you can tell them I said that!)

 

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Runner Girl on Feb 13, 2019 12:55 pm

Hi KathyH‍ ,

I can so relate to you and your feelings of losing your hair.  It was very daunting for me as my hair was long, to the middle of my back.  The thought of losing it all was very sad.  I had my head shaved 2 days before it all fell out.  I thought I would deal with it better if I made the decision to have it shaved rather than let the chemo/cancer take it from me.  I found this very empowering, it was something I could control.  If you allow your son to cut it for you it could be a real bonding thing for the two of you as well as giving you both a little power over the situation.  It will be hard, but you are in a fight for your life, losing your hair is your new source for inspiration.  Try wearing your wigs, hats, headcovers and have fun with them.  With no hair you get to be free, no worries that the wind will blow it out, the humidity will ruin it, and you get to wear an amazing array of things on your head that you wouldn't normally.  I've bought bright pink head covers, black, blue, grey, striped, etc.  I decided to have fun with it and not let it bring me down.

It will grow back, mine is making a come back.  It is a different color and texture right now so I'm eager to see what it will be like in a few months.

I wish you all the best!

Gayle - Runner Girl

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Feb 13, 2019 2:27 pm

KathyH‍ 

I'm so glad you started this topic. Losing your hair is often one of the first physical signs that you have cancer that you and others notice. It's understandable that it feels daunting. You're not alone. It's not vain or silly at all.

Deciding how to proceed is the control you have over this situation. You can't stop losing your hair but you get to decide when and how you proceed. Maybe a private salon is most comfortable, maybe a head shaving party with your guys is best. I agree with Runner Girl‍ it could be a bonding experience for you and your son. He did offer to help, maybe it is a way he feels he can help? It is all completely your choice and you will make the best decision for you. There will likely be tears and that's okay.

You now have an army of women who can listen, offer support, and encouragement to just do what feels right! Glad you found us here.

Let us know what you decide 😊

Lacey

Look Good Feel Better

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Feb 13, 2019 2:31 pm

For anyone interested in attending a Look Good Feel Better workshop here is a link to the website!

Look Good Feel Better offers a beauty workshop that gives Canadian women the tools and techniques to feel beautiful and vital. In so doing, we help restore a sense of self and renew a feeling of womanhood, however these women choose to define it.

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 13, 2019 3:32 pm

KathyH‍   Thank you for your honest post....I think most of us would agree that going bald ( then for me no eyebrows or eyelashes) was really difficult.  Even if I didn't feel "sick", I felt I looked sick.  So I decided to embrace bald.  My hair started falling out on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day - I couldn't stand it so my brother-in-law shaved my head just before our family Christmas dinner.  I told them that this was one tradition that was going to end on the day it started!  We laughed, my sister cried - we drank....🥂 I had very long hair which I had just cut to my shoulders.

I am attaching a link to a wonderful CBC documentary about an Indigenous woman with breast cancer and her journey to cut her hair.  It is very powerful as she had long beautiful hair that held a lot of spiritual meaning to her and in her community.    It is called Thunder Blanket - and you follow her journey through cancer treatment.

Happy 60th....I love this idea of rocking a bald look as you enter the 60's - entering as a strong, courageous woman . I used scarves, tongues and Buffs ( neck wear that becomes a "hat") in funky colours to keep my bald head warm.

Happy Early Birthday and Happy belated birthday Cynthia Mac‍ 🎂...do I hear ....Helen Reddy?  " I am Woman, Hear Me Roar?"  ( really aged myself!)

Kim

https://www.cbc.ca/shortdocs/blog/western-and-indigenous-medicine

Re: Look Good Feel Good...Powerful Documentary on CBC Doc...Thunder Blanket

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 13, 2019 6:32 pm

https://www.cbc.ca/shortdocs/blog/western-and-indigenous-medicine

Just thought this might be of interest as we discuss  the emotional roller coaster of losing our hair and effects of chemo.  

This documentary illustrates the loss from an Indigenous perspective - really powerful.

Kim

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by KathyH on Feb 13, 2019 8:43 pm

OMG I am filled with so much joy in reading your posts, that you all understand and get what I am saying.  It is only hair and it will grown back but now everyone can physically see I am sick.  The look in people (family) eyes is painful.  I have booked an appointment at a wig - salon for Friday, which is my 60th....LOL.  I will cut my hair off and put that wig on my head.  I will cry and I will laugh, because its just the most bizarre thing to see yourself in this way.  I've opted to just stay home for my birthday and do little.  I'm not big on celebrating, usually do it for my 2 sons, they get it and are fine with a stay home day.  This round of chemo has upset my stomach, don't see going out in public as wise.  Soon enough I will be through the worst of this and maybe then we will go out for a nice dinner.  Its mainly symbolic this year, its not a big deal, its just a statement I need to make.  As you gals have said, take control.  Sometimes I forget that.  I've always been a take charge person, this feels like I've lost all control.  I'm losing my superpowers as a take charge woman...LOL, d*** you cancer.  

Thank you all for motivating me to not give in or give up.  

Kathy

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by SpeedyStill on Feb 14, 2019 8:35 pm

When I saw this topic I wasn't sure what it would contain.  Reading the posts my heart goes out to all the ladies.  When I was going through my cancer treatments I also lost all the hair on my body and some toenails to boot. Everything grew back after my treatments.  So for me it meant that I was able to have 8 years and counting to enjoy my children and grandchildren. Was the journey worth it yes. 
Look forward to a positive outcome 
SpeedyStill 

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Goodtogo on Feb 14, 2019 9:34 pm

Hi All My hair story has similar threads as discussed here. On day 22 (the day after my second chemo) my son shaved my head. I went with my wig for the first couple months but then opted mostly for hats. I did not want the pitying looks also so the wig/hats avoided all this for me. I’m almost a year from finishing treatment and I do notice my hair is thinner. My eyebrows and eyelashes are scant as well. I really look different to ME & I wish it wasn’t so but of course, that’s my new reality. I am so thankful to still be here.

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by KathyH on Feb 15, 2019 7:11 am

So today is the big hair shave day, and truly I can't wait, this is just an annoying, shedding mess.  I wish I had done it sooner, I wish I knew it would be such a messy thing.  It is not lost on me that this is just a process, a process of a lot of small losses to get the big win.  The ultimate goal is to live, its actually the only goal.  We all must endure losses, pain, suffering, but at the end of this we will be survivors.  We get to see our children grow, grandchildren be born, and live our lives and fulfill our goals.  Perhaps we life with more gusto, more joy, more appreciation.  

I just think that this all happens to quickly from diagnosis, to treatment to losses and illness that its sometimes too hard to process quickly.  Its hard to wrap your brain around it all.  But, somehow at some point we do, and hopefully we can hold our head high and take our beating to reach the other end of this.  In my mind there is no option, I am going to do this the best I am able to do to live, I will live and there is no other option.  This will keep me going through this journey.  

I hope all had a wonderful Valentines day, today is my 60th, I really wanted no one in my world to know it was...LOL, I will shave my head, throw a wig on, and crack open a bottle of wine.  Have a glass of red, (hope it takes good, as some things don't) and I will laugh at some point today of the irony of all this.  I was worried about being 60, people knowing and thinking I"m old.  LOL, I think I have bigger surprises in store, a bald, 60 year old that scares the hell out of me when I look in a mirror.  Now that's actually kinda funny.  

Love to you all for being here, 


Kathy

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Runner Girl on Feb 15, 2019 10:55 am

KathyH‍ .

You are beautiful and you are going to ROCK the no hair look!  Have a fabulous birthday.

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Essjay on Feb 15, 2019 11:36 am

Happy birthday KathyH‍  have a fabulous day xx

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Feb 15, 2019 11:47 am

KathyH‍ 
First off Happy Birthday!!!

I lost my hair to chemo way back  in Nov 2010 and reading your post took me right back to that time and I teared up. I completely put myself in your shoes and I understand all the feelings you are having.. I had booked an appt at a wig shop after my first chemo appt but several days before the appt I ran my hands through my hair and lost my darn mind when I came away with a handful of hair. I had really thick long hair so it wasn't obvious to most but I spent a week shopping for wigs and hats and essentially leaving my DNA all over the city. I didn't want to shave my head until I had a wig and hat in place. I had heard that shaving the head will help the hair come in evenly and more uniformly when it is shaved. On the day I returned from buying my wig, my friend cut my hair to the nape of my neck and my boyfriend ( who had a shaved head already ) shaved my head. He insisted my friend stay as I think he was afraid of me melting down. I had a cocktail and a box of kleenex. we took pictures along the way- there were a lot of tears. On the way to shaving it completely, my boyfriend shaved a mohawk style first. So there were some laughs along with the tears. 
In the end, I rarely wore the wig - I mostly wore it to make other people feel comfortable. I bought several cute hats from headcovers.com . To your point Kathy, I had the most trouble with "looking sick" and the pity looks that came with that.
On the upside, my showers were really quick, "brazillians" were free and no cost for shampoo and conditioner. I found the Look Good Feel Better fabulous. Part of the gift they gave was a cotton sleep beanie that was very helpful for sleeping on cotton pillow sheets as I felt it was quite tender. Silk pillow cases are also a good option.

Once chemo was over, I used Rapidlash for my lashes and eyebrows and found it really helpful in getting that part of the hair back. One thing that surprised me and I never gave any thought to was that I also lost my nose hair - turns out they are pretty important for filtering all the airborne stuff out of our nose. Something to be aware of

By now you may have already had your "haircut" . I hope it all goes/went well.

Thank you for being so open and honest about this topic. 

Keep us posted

Lianne

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by KathyH on Feb 16, 2019 8:49 am

First off thank you for the birthday wishes.  I have to say, the thought of the head shaving was worse than the actually doing.  I went alone to a salon, the place I got my wig, she shaved my head, trimmed some bangs into the wig.  Then my 2 sons showed up,  LOL, I was relieved they didn't need to see it because obviously seeing this was disturbing to them.  We went for burgers and laughed, they loved the wig, cracked jokes about their Mother and then we just sat at my house, had a roaring fire, ordered in some dinner.  It was perfect.

Later in the evening everyone asked if I'd take the wig off.  I did and they all said it looked fine, I was totally ok with it and it felt fantastic to have that hair gone.  My head was tender and itchy for the hair falling out.  Amazing that its the thought and fear of the unknown but the actual doing is really quite ok.  I should have done it sooner in the week but I really think I was trying to hold on as long as I could, like I'd be the only one who wouldn't lose their hair.  Oh my I was silly.  This isn't too bad, I actually love that it ended up being her only appt and my 60th.  It means nothing to anyone else but for me mentally it means I'm entering my 60's with a fresh start.  I will survive this stupid illness and the LONG year or so ahead of me and once I'm on the other side I will look back and be proud I survived this.  I will do something momumental (not sure what) .  Maybe a trip to Italy and tour, something I've wanted to do.  Basically, I'm I am just looking forward, forward to better times.  I will not let this defeat my spirit.  

Oh and yes as I write this I realize I may have days, as I've already had, but for now I will just move through this freaking nightmare.  I wish I could meet you all and give big hugs to you all.  I wish you could really understand what you all mean to me.  I am surrounded my men who love me, but are all quite weak.....Oh and I told them so...haha.  They laughed at it and that's what we must all try to do, laugh at the funny stuff.  Oh goodness its hard some days.  Hard to be the strong one for everyone still.


A virtual hug to you all and a giant thank you for being here for me,  makes me not feel as alone,


Kathy xoxo

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by ashcon on Feb 16, 2019 12:13 pm

Hi KathyH‍ 

Please accept my birthday wishes as well, along with the thanks for your candour, humour and honesty on this subject of losing one's hair!

I had a hard time as well, and even ended up crying in my car in the parking lot of the grocery store after getting sideways looks from the clerks.
I had a bilateral mastectomy (no reconstruction) 4 months after attaining the bald look, and (for some reason) I had no problem losing 'the ladies' in comparison to losing my hair.  Go figure.  Maybe it was because I saw my breasts as evil entities that were trying to kill me, whereas my hair is something I knew would grow back.

I hope you are enjoying your birthday weekend and are planning that monumental treat for yourself when you get to the other side of this.  Italy sounds like a marvellous plan!

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by princessmaura on Feb 17, 2019 8:41 am

I went to the look good feel better workshop at the cancer agency...it was fun...the volunteer there put on the makeup for me since I was undergoing chemo and my nails were so soft that I was not able to open the cosmetic cases and packages myself...the volunteer put heavy makeup on me and I think I looked like a clown...lol...

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Feb 17, 2019 9:04 am

KathyH‍ Thanks for such a lovely, spirited post! I remember a co-worker once who had a very similar attitude to yours - at the time, she was going through breast cancer, but she had also survived a brain aneurysm, too. Bold, wonderful lady!

We must always remember that it was men who gave us the moniker “the fairer sex” and that they did that because they didn’t want to acknowledge us as “the stronger sex.” That being said, it is nice to have them around.

Ann, ashcon‍ your perspective on your breasts being the enemy is a different one, but I can see how one would come to that conclusion.

Re: Look Good Feel Good

Posted by princessmaura on Feb 18, 2019 7:55 am

Cynthia Mac‍, in contrast to  ashcon‍, I saw my affected ovary as being a victim of cancer and not something evil...I felt sorry for my ovary...sorry that cancer had taken hold of it....

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