Chemotherapy & Hair Loss – It is a Big Deal!

As I’ve shared before, I chose not to shave my head during chemo, even after it started falling out. I waited until chemo was over. I wanted to see how much hair would or would not fall out. I was a bit of a rebel I guess. Doing things that way made me feel more in control for whatever reason.

I’m pretty sure most people choose to shave their hair off early on, which of course, is fine too. There is no right way to do cancer, so there is no right way to do this hair loss thing either.

I will never forget that November day when Dear Hubby and I finally decided to get out the dog trimmer (yes, I said the dog trimmer) and tackle shaving my head. Even though I didn’t have much hair left, shaving off the remaining strands was still traumatic. I’m sure it was quite traumatic for Dear Hubby as well, though he didn’t let on. What hair I still had was mine and I hated parting with it, but I did. I wanted to start over from scratch.

Being bald was hard for me, especially in the beginning. Even now, when I see photos of my bald self, it’s still quite startling for me to look at them. I still cringe.

Hair loss is a huge deal for most women and men as well, whether it’s a result of chemo, other cancer treatment, hereditary hair loss, alopecia or whatever reason. I continue to get emails about hair loss fairly often and also continue to get comments on my posts about shaving the head or not.

Some women even admit that losing their hair is harder than losing a breast. This says an awful lot doesn’t it?

Efrat Roman, a blogger I recently started following, wrote about hair loss and had this to say about it:

“At first, ALL I could think about, were THE CHILDREN
The thought of DEATH went through my head
But, from the moment it reached there, whenever I thought of myself,
It was ALL
about my

Pretty powerful, wouldn’t you agree?

I always begin my responses to emails or comments about hair loss by saying yes, losing your hair is a big deal. I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. Losing your hair is a loss.

If you feel traumatized by this loss, you are not vain; you are normal.

When people say things like, it’s only hair or it will grow back, it’s really not very helpful as it diminishes this loss. Hearing that sort of thing makes me wanna scream.

You are entitled to grieve for things you lose to cancer, including your breasts and hair. This doesn’t mean dwell on these things, but as always, you are entitled to feel and acknowledge your true feelings, including those about hair loss.

Having said that, if you are about to begin chemo, or if you are losing your hair for whatever reason, I’d also like you to know that it probably won’t be as bad as you imagine it will be. And others, especially loved ones, definitely won’t care about it as much as you do.

I’m not saying it won’t be difficult. But sometimes we imagine the worst, especially when our body image comes into play, and our hair is very often a huge component in determining how we see or do not see ourselves.

“A bad hair day,” need I say more?

My advice for helping a loved one who is, or will be losing her/his hair is pretty simple.

Instead of saying, it’s only hair, think about saying something like, I’m really sorry you are (or will be) losing your hair. That must be hard. Add in a hug and I promise that will be enough.

For whatever reason, I’m finally feeling ready to share a few photos of myself when I was bald. Sharing these photos is emotionally difficult for me even now, but at the same time it’s something I want to do, I’m not entirely sure why. My intention has always been to use this blog to share candidly about my experiences with all, or almost all, aspects of the maze that is cancer. Seeing my photos might help someone else. Or perhaps sharing them is part of my own healing. I don’t know.

I do know this:

Hair or no hair, you are still you.

It isn’t just hair, but then again it is.

Note:  If you are facing chemotherapy and/or potential hair loss, check out my book called, Getting Past the Fear:  A guide to help you mentally prepare for chemotherapy. In my book, I address this fear of hair loss and offer practical advice on how to deal with it.

Getting Past the Fear #chemo #cancer #breastcancer #books

Have you ever lost your hair for any reason and if so, how did that make you feel?

Has anyone every said to you, it’s only hair, and if so, did you find those words to be helpful?

Do you have tips for dealing with hair loss?

Hair loss as it was happening
After the shave-off was complete
Finished with chemo, finished with hair…
Hair again…

78 thoughts to “Chemotherapy & Hair Loss – It is a Big Deal!”

  1. You are right, it is a big BIG deal. I shaved my hair at the start of treatment, which was difficult . . . but in a way it was more difficult to be bald by the END of treatment simply because the eyebrows and lashes were gone, skin was sallow and I didn’t just look bald – I looked sick. There are some photographs from that time that I still try to avoid.

    Thank you for sharing your photos, Nancy. It takes a lot of guts to bare the bald. ~Catherine

    1. Catherine, I know what you mean. I thought losing the eyelashes and brows was worse than losing the hair. And I wouldn’t say I’m brave. I’m not. It’s pretty funny, I didn’t let many see me bald and now I have photos on the internet. Go figure. Thanks for you continuing support, Catherine.

    1. Efrat, I was happy to share your post. You said so much in just a few words and to me they were almost poetic. Thanks so much for commenting and for your kind words.

  2. There are so many losses with cancer & treatment. Our face & head are the most public part of us, our ‘communication’ center, as it were. It’s a big deal when that part of us is drastically altered. Brava to you for sharing your photos. XOXO

    1. Kathi, You’re so right. Much is lost to cancer and cancer treatments, and not just chemotherapy either. Someone mentioned this very thing to me today on twitter – that the photos remind us of life before cancer and other things lost, not just the hair. It’s another reason looking at them is so hard. Thanks so much for commenting.

  3. Nancy, as always you just blow me away with your candid observations! You give me strength, even though I do not have cancer, my osteo-arthritis has taken a turn for the worse.
    I need my walker more and more. A cane just doesn’t give me the support I need to navigate.
    So I limit my trips in to town, limit my trips up and down the stairs at home, and always, always, either Dale or Colin will say…. ‘Here, let me do that for you.’
    May you continue to share your journey on your blog. I wish we lived closer, so I could give you a HUG!!!

    1. Sharon, I’m sorry your osteo-arthritis is getting worse and that you are becoming more dependent on your walker. That must be hard. Life means adapting continuously doesn’t it? I’m glad you have such a wonderful spouse and son to help out when needed. I’m sure they are happy to do so. Thanks for you very kind words and continuing support. I think I feel that hug from here!

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Nancy. For some reason going bald wasn’t a big deal for me. No wigs, just ball caps provided by friends and family. My students got used to me lecturing bald as even the caps were too hot in a Florida summer. My difficulty came with the weird regrowth. Thin on top, and strangely curly in other areas. Impossible to tame, just looks like Einstein (with chemo brain)! All others in my support group grew back lovely hair. So that’s what I now complain about. It’s all a bit silly as I am now a year out of all treatment and doing reasonably well. But I sure would love to have different hair!

    1. Meg, It’s interesting you say going bald wasn’t a big deal for you. We are all so different aren’t we? I became really dependent on caps too, in fact, I still am. And I never wore caps before. I hear you on the regrowth issue. Mine has come back weird too. I was so hoping for that wonderful new and improved hair one hears about. I wonder if that every really happens for anyone…And by the way, it’s not silly that you are “complaining” about your hair regrowth. You are normal! Thanks for sharing about this tough topic.

  5. Each chemo patient must deal with so many extreme issues, and losing hair is one that is very difficult.
    My daughter had a hair shaving party which united those closest to her into a caring support team. It was emotional, loving, and powerful. She is now going through a second treatment for her recurring cancer, and she is doing it holistically. She chooses to keep her hair short as it is now her “warrior” cut. Read her bogs titled “Judgement” and “Ashley’s Intoduction” at and see how she has found strength in her shaved locks.

    1. Pam, Thanks for sharing about your daughter’s experiences. I’m sorry she has had a recurrence. It sounds like she is determined to do things her way. Good for her. I appreciate your comments, Pam. My best to you and your daughter. And thanks for sharing the blog info.

  6. Wonderful post, Nancy. Losing my hair was the the thing I obsessed about most when I found out I needed chemo. In the end it was positive because it forced me to get creative, but that doesn’t minimize how worrisome it was up to that point.

    The best advice I can give is to be prepared – and be aware that wigs can be very uncomfortable at times. Before you even start chemo, try on hats, visit YouTube for head wrap and turban tutorials, and have a lot of options ready to suit your mood. In the end do what helps you feel best about yourself.

    I just had a hospital bout for another reason, and my 80 year old room mate for a day was more worried about her appearance than her heart attack. And she hoped the hospital stay would help her take off a few pounds. I think no matter what our age or health status, we do care about how we look, and looking good – whatever our personal definition – boosts our energy and our hope.

    1. Laurie, Losing your hair was worrisome, I like how you put that. I agree, it’s good to prepare as best you can. I address this in my ebook. I found wigs to be pretty uncomfortable too. At least there are more and more alternatives now days plus, one can just go bald too. Sometimes I think we try to “cover up” cancer too much. But it’s hard and everyone copes differently. Thanks for sharing the hospital story. It’s humorous, but serious at the same time isn’t it? Hope you’re doing well. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Nancy, I remember standing outside in my back yard running my hands through my hair and watching clumps of it float away in the wind. I stood there and cried for a long time. I decided at that point I was going to shave my head. I asked my husband to shave it for me. He told me that he would empty my drain tubes, he would change my dressings but he could not shave my head. It is hard. He did buy me some great hats though. Bless his heart. Thanks for sharing your story and your pictures of your hair loss!

    1. Barb, I remember doing that exact same thing in my backyard! It is traumatic for our partners too isn’t it? Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. It’s sweet your husband bought you some great hats. I think it’s important he knew what his “limit” was as far as what he could handle doing. It’s also important that you accepted his decision and understood. Thanks so much for the comments, Barb. Hope you’re doing well.

  8. Another great post Nancy. No, I did not like losing my hair, but I was lucky in that I kind of liked the way I looked with no hair. My hair had been short to begin with so I didn’t have to go through losing long locks. I had a great dome. I didn’t like that with no hair it screamed “cancer patient”. I got by with ball caps and a “hat&hair” hair strip so I felt normal when I went out. I didn’t want people staring, and they do stare. Once when I was in line at the grocery store a woman asked me if I was a cancer survivor – must have been my Her2 ball cap. When I replied yes, she said me too and we had a special moment. When my hair came back it was just as fine and straight as it had been before. I had so hoped for curls.

    1. Betty, I certainly did not like the way I looked with no hair, so I admire you for saying that. Being bald does scream “cancer patient” doesn’t it? I hated that too. It’s nice you connected with that woman in the store. Like I mentioned when responding to someone else’s comment, I didn’t get great regrowth either. I hoped for that, but it wasn’t meant to be I guess. Oh well. Thanks for adding to this discussion. I appreciate it.

  9. I have lost my hair to chemo twice, 6.5 years ago, and recently. What is odd is when people I’ve known for years walk right past me having no idea who I am. I reintroduce myself and they are shocked. I get to be more than one person in this lifetime. Hmm. What is a frustrating effort at making me conform rather than just talking to me about who and why I am the way I am is when, for example, I go to a breast cancer support group, bald, and the facilitator asks me if I know about the salon downstairs. I say no, and she says, we’ll visit it the last 10 minutes of the meeting. The salon is a wig shop and also sells hats and scarves. It was summer, in the south, and I was hot and having hot flashes and I roll for comfort and I also don’t do stuff to make other people comfortable with me and the fact that I have (now, Stage IV) breast cancer. I like my hair as much as anybody, probably.

    1. Elaine, Oh my, I think that facilitator’s comment was very insensitive, though I’m sure well intended. You make such a critically important point – this “covering up of cancer” in order to make others more comfortable. Have you read Audre Lorde’s book? She writes about a visit to the doctor where a nurse asked her why she wasn’t wearing a prosthetic and on top of that told her she was making others uncomfortable by not doing so. Really? Completely ridiculous. Cancer and conformity, I think there’s a blog post in there some time! Thanks for your comment, Elaine. Keep on doing what feels comfortable for YOU.

  10. Losing my hair was really frightening. I couldn’t shave the few strands I had left off, and I really should have because I looked so ridiculous with maybe 20 strands of blonde hair that just looked crazy when I took my wig off. Then when it was growing back I didn’t want to take off the wig because it was too short and it was so easy to just throw on the wig. Everyone has to do what’s best for them. I think you have a point when I compare losing my breasts to my hair. On top of that the emotional toll of constant hot flashes and numb breasts after reconstruction. It’s quite a process. You were brave to take a photo. But we do what we have to do, and we try to live our best life in the moment…that’s all we can do. Great thought provoking post Nancy. Thanks! XoXoXo-Susan

    1. Susan, It is frightening to lose your hair so quickly from any cause. So you didn’t ever shave yours off then? Wigs are easy, but so uncomfortable, or at least they were for me. Yes, everyone has to do what’s best for them and their situation. Lots of emotional stuff to deal with for sure. As I said before, I’m not brave. I’m just trying to hopefully help someone else out there by sharing. Thanks for adding to the discussion, Susan.

      1. I just completed my last chemotherapy treatment. I have few short fine strands of hair left and I don’t want to shave my head. Is it OK not to shave?

        1. Nila, Of course it’s okay to not shave it. You can do whatever you like. I didn’t want to shave mine either and I waited until after I was finished. You certainly don’t have to shave it off now that you’re finished either. Sometimes it seems like we’re supposed to shave it off early on as a way to take control. I never liked that added pressure. Do what feels right for you. Thank you for sharing.

  11. You.Rock.My.World.

    Brava, bella! Today, you may have unknowingly given a total stranger a gift. A bit of courage or a bit of en/courage/ment.

    I never lost my hair when I was on chemo so I always feel like I don’t have the right to even talk about chemo. I feel like I was a “chemo-fraud” …. my brain has left the building with so many things but a damaged brain, in my mind, is less troubling than the hair loss.

    I stand in awe of you, Nancy.



    1. Ann Marie, You certainly have a right to talk about chemo or any other cancer related topic that you darn please! People shouldn’t make assumptions based on appearance – cancer or no cancer. Thanks for your kind comment. You’re sweet.

  12. After a ballgame, I took someone to the emergency room with a facial injury. I insisted that a plastic surgeon be called. It was a small cut right at the side of the eye. This person was completely hysterical. I said to the nurse, “This is a really tough person when it comes to pain, could she have a concussion or something. I’ve never seen her so out of control.” The nurse said, “That is perfectly normal. Any change to our image in very traumatic.” So when you say it is normal you are so right! She ended up with no scar.

  13. I discovered that it is easier to mourn the loss of hair in one sharp shock (by shaving it off) than to do it on a daily basis. A fact I wish I had realised at the time with my rapidly diminishing sparse hairs hanging on for dear life.

    1. Marie, Whatever works best or feels most right is what a person should try to do. Interesting how you chose the word “mourn.” Losing the hair is a loss we might need to “mourn” over for a bit. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Nancy I never mourned the loss of my hair, though I had great hair, long down the middle of my back curly ( natural) hair that just was great. I think I may have relayed this before. I have a good sense of humour and I can laugh at myself easily. One day walking down the street it was quite windy suddenly a bunch of my hair blew off went rolling down the sidewalk like a tumble weed. I laughed so long and hard it was the funniest thing I saw I was shedding hair all over the place and it was falling out in huge strands. When I looked like Benjamin Button i shaved it off. I liked it I had a good shaped head no lumps and bumps. I have a small tattoo on my head haha. I never wore scarves never hats in the house Scared people sometimes but it’s just my bald head. My hair didn’t grow back as thick it’s better now not by much but liveable. I was still me. I did not like not having eyelashes though Eyebrows I penciled in I went to a salon got an eyebrow form the right coloured pencil my eyebrows were very light anyway. Yes for many it is a big deal , I just take things in stride and figure it grows back anyway……

    Love Alli XX

    1. Alli, I think it’s great you didn’t, in your words, mourn the loss of your hair. You’re another example of how uniquely we each experience this stuff. I certainly mourned my hair loss! It must have been startling to be walking down the sidewalk while observing your hair blowing “like a tumble weed.” I’m glad you could laugh about it. Some of us can, some of us can’t. Thanks for sharing about your experience.

  15. Nancy,

    Thanks for sharing those candid photos! I don’t think I could share it with the world like you did. So brave. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose one’s hair. I imagine it would be frightening. I’m very lucky I didn’t lose my hair during chemo. Thank you for such a wonderful, thought-provoking post.

    1. Beth, No, I’m not brave at all actually. I know it was hard for you to not lose your hair too in some respects as people thought you didn’t look sick enough. That couldn’t have been easy either. But then nothing about cancer is easy is it? Thanks for commenting, Beth.

  16. Nancy, you are a brave woman and I applaud you for sharing these pics!

    I have had three fears:
    1) I’d get cancer
    2) I’d need chemo
    3) I’d lose my hair
    The first fear came true two years ago. The other two, thankfully, did not.

    But I am no longer afraid.

    PS My friend Maria kept her hair during chemo by using Penguin Cold Caps. She has written about her experience on her blog for those interested: (


    1. Renn, Thanks for sharing about your fears. I think many relate. It’s interesting you say you are no longer afraid. That says a lot. Thanks for sharing your friend’s info too. I have heard a bit about that, but I can’t remember a whole lot about it.

  17. I have photos and video of when my stylist came to our house to shave my head. (Thanks Lori!) My son laughed as she gave me a mohawk first. My step-daughter took pictures and my husband ran the video camera. I am grateful to have those images today, though they take me right back to “cancerland.” Everyone reacts to hair loss differently, like everyone makes their own surgery decisions differently. It is nice to see a variety of comments here and the honoring of each individual’s experience. I didn’t start chemo until over 3 months after my diagnosis. I didn’t look or feel like a cancer patient until I started chemo and lost my hair. I found some odd comfort in it–like it was working, like I was doing what I could to rid my body of cancer. I also took the perspective that there are far worse things to lose than hair and breasts. I am glad to be alive and also glad to have hair back. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos Nancy.

    1. Lisa, Thanks for sharing your perspectives on this. It’s interesting how we all react/reacted to this differently. I know what you mean about being grateful for those images. I feel the same way, though I’m not exactly sure why. Some sort of affirmation I guess.

  18. Being bald was the hardest part psychologically of treatments. I shaved it immediately as it started to fall out, but always had some razor stubble, which I saw as sign of hope, strength and renewal. I had an amazing wig, but felt like an impostor every time I put it on. I think what I hated most was other people’s reaction to a scarf while at the gym. I didn’t feel sick and didn’t want to be treated as being sick. I gained a whole new appreciation for anyone who has ever been discriminated against, based solely on their looks.

    1. Cara, Being bald was really tough for me too, though I must admit I anticipated it all to be much worse than it actually turned out to be. So the apprehension/anxiety about it happening was almost worse for me. That’s another reason I decided to write my ebook… Like you, I too felt like an imposter when I wore my wigs. I liked them, but I didn’t feel like me when I wore them. I also have new empathy for those discriminated against based on how they look or don’t look. Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

  19. I find it difficult to deal with the comments of my hair coming back after chemo. I had very straight long blond hair. My hair came back thick and much darker with curls. So many people say they love my new chemo hair. I do not I feel like I’m the same person in a body that does not belong to me. I miss my long straight blonde hair. I want it back.

    1. Tess, I understand. It’s natural for you to miss the long straight blond hair you once had. All this change takes time to adjust to. Thanks for sharing your personal feelings with us. My best.

  20. Well said. It drove me crazy when people would say, it’s just hair… Or …it will grow back. It was so dismissive of my feelings of loss. It was easier for me to lose my breast than my hair. I wanted the diseased breast gone but my hair… that was not something I wanted to lose.

    1. Rebecca, I agree, such comments are well intended, but not very helpful. I think it’s really brave of you to make that statement about your feelings in regard to losing your breast vs. losing your hair. I remember telling my doctor I’d rather have more surgeries than have chemo and he sort of looked at me in disbelief. I was terrified about all aspects of chemo, but certainly losing my hair was one of my biggest fears. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  21. I was just scheduled for a biopsy to be done next week. I did not realized I was actually scared at first. Then I thought of all the problems cancer would create for my family (not that they would think I caused them problems, that’s just my thinking.) Then my next thought was…”oh, no…I have such a weirdly shaped head! Why did I not try to loose weight…my neck is so jowelly! I am 51 years old, so things are going a little south anyway. Reading everyone’s posts have made me both laugh and cry. I think I will get a cut and a perm tomorrow so I look good when I get my diagnosis! Thanks, girls, for helping me get a bit of a handle on this today, and pray for a good report!

    1. Brenda, There will be many emotions that will surface as you make your way through this. I know what you mean about the “weird” thoughts that pop into one’s mind. I’m glad reading this post and the comments has been helpful. Good luck with the biopsy. Keep me posted. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


    This Facebook page is for women who want to post pix of their loss and (hopefully) regrowth. Now I’ve lost half of mine to brain radiation. Looks like a drunk person tried to give me a mohawk but was too drunk to get it back. 3-6 months, if ever, now for me. I had beautiful hair. I try not to get upset about it but it’s depressing. Anyway feel free to join the page and post away. Blessing s to all my sisters, Beverly

    1. Beverly, Thank you for the information/link. I’m sure sharing/posting there is helpful for many. Good luck with your treatment and thanks for sharing.

  23. Before my first chemo, a friend whose religion requires her to cover her hair in public after marriage, gave me a “party” like they give the brides, she gave me lots of beautiful scarves and had me try on different ones and showed me all sorts of ways to tie them. She also loaned me a wig that was close to my hair color and style. I could not bring myself to shave my long brown wavy hair, but I did get it cut short. A beautician friend offered to do that privately at her home if I wanted. I am grateful to have hair again, but it did not grow in anything like before. It came in all grey, very fine and brittle, and I have a number of thin and even bald spots so I have to be careful how I style it. My beautician says she has actually seen this a number of times before and sometimes it gets better. But hey, at least it’s hair!

    1. Elizabeth, That was a lovely gesture by your friend to give you that party, though admittedly, a “party” would have been difficult for me personally. I’m grateful to have hair again too, and mine is not what it was either… styling is challenging to say the least, but yes, at least it’s hair! Thanks for sharing.

  24. I hated being bald, but felt better once I shaved it completely after the 2nd chemo. The hardest part was when treatment was over and still looking like a cancer patient. It took so long to grow back and even longer to grow in normally. I did get my color and texture back after a few haircuts, even if it’s thinner. But after treatment was finished, I felt so ugly.

    1. Eileen, You make such an important point – that just because treatment might end, things don’t just get back to normal. It can take a long time to stop looking like/feeling a cancer patient. Thanks for making that point.

  25. Great article. To me, shaving my hair off before it came out was the easiest of an unpleasant choice. Then I actually liked the way I looked without hair! (I always thought I had a giant head… not so!) The hardest part were the looks people gave me who didn’t know about my cancer. Now I am having chemo again, (started 3 months after my last chemo ended….) I think this time I’ll wait and see how I feel. Now my hair looks sort of intentional, but I’ll decide as I go. Loved this article, and all of them you post. By the way, you look really good without hair too!

    1. Buffy, I’m sorry you have to deal with chemo again and yes, I understand about those looks. Good for you for waiting to see how you feel about things. Sometimes that works best. Thanks so much for your kind words. Good luck with things. Keep me posted.

  26. Losing my hair was a big deal. At 1st I thought “it’s just hair,I can grow it back.” and then it started to fall out a strand at a time, then small clumps, then big clumps…My BFF and hubby helped me shave my head completely.. I was so devastated. Not that I had this beautiful flowing’s more like ( for us older people) Roseann Rosanna Danna from SNL and that was on a good day. I think it was just another reminder what Cancer had control of and was P. O’ed…Eventually I started to like being bald and it made my life alot easier. it’s growing back in and it is Snow White and mega curly…Oh well something else I can’t control but sure do love!!!!

    1. Adele, I was devastated too. Chemo-induced hair loss is traumatic for many. It just is. I don’t keep quiet now when I hear someone say, it’s only hair. I just can’t! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Glad to hear your hair is growing back! My best.

  27. Loved your blog and I couldn’t agree more. Losing your hair is a HUGE deal. I was anxious beyond belief and when my hair started falling out, it was the most sickening feeling. I hardly let me husband see my bare had and never let my 21 year old see me. My wig and “schmatas” were my protection. A year since chemo and my hair is short and very curly. I don’t love it yet, but I do love that it grows out of my head!

    1. Marcy, I don’t love my hair yet either and I wonder if I ever will. I have these bothersome thin spots now… Oh well, at least there’s growth and that’s no small thing, right? Thanks so much for reading and for sharing. Hope you’re doing well now.

  28. I had my first treatment April 28 (2014)this year and was hoping my hair would stay until after the 2nd treatment. I did get my wigs but was holding off on the “hair catching” net. Well yesterday May 12 – it started falling out. I like you intend to hold onto as long as I can. Tonight I got to get a great cut short cut. My wigs are proudly sitting up on my dresser waiting for their unveil! I do have a few cute caps.

    AND yes very hard on me. It is everywhere and all I could think what NO NOT YET! I can get through everything else but so far this is my biggest challenge.

    By the Grace of God – I am a warrior but this too shall pass. Thank you for being “right on time” my wonderful daughter sent me this!

    1. Debi, Losing your hair is a big deal, at least I think it is. I’m sorry you are facing this (and a whole lot more, of course) right now. I’m glad your wonderful daughter is there for you and sent you this post too. Thank her for me! Good luck with everything.

  29. I enjoyed your touching article about your experience with chemo and hair loss. Thanks for sharing. I wish you continued success in your battle. You certainly have beautiful hair now, and you’re absolutely lovely!

    My close friend has stage 4 lung cancer and is getting chemo. I’m worried, because she’s being overly upbeat and optimistic. I feel like she’s not letting herself deal with the loss she’s facing. She’d announced on Facebook that she’s losing her hair. After learning that people going through chemo never want to hear, “It will grow back,” I told her that it must be hard and that she’ll be beautiful no matter what. She wrote back: “I have vowed not to be a downer through all of this. A bright side–I’ll save on shampoo and conditioner.” And she marked her post as: “Feeling positive.”

    This is the typical response I get from her when her cancer comes up. Am I worrying about her positive attitude unnecessarily? I guess I feel like she’s not dealing with the reality of her situation.

    1. BB, Everyone copes differently of course. Perhaps your friend’s outlook will change over time. Usually there are ups and downs with everything. I worry when someone puts so much pressure on herself by vowing to never be a downer, but it’s not my place to judge. Regardless, it sounds like you will be a good source of support. Just being there and offering to listen, validating whatever she’s feeling or chooses to share with you, and being open to talk about the hard stuff, too, will all mean a lot. Thank you for reading my article on hair loss and for your very kind words. My best to your friend.

  30. Thank you for discussing this topic and confirming we are not vain if we have lost our hair from chemo or other medical issues. For some time I have felt so alone because when I expressed sadness over lossing my hair I was told, “it’s only hair.” I now know I am not alone in feeling a sense of loss.

    1. Ariella, You are definitely not vain. I’m sorry you have felt so alone. I hate it when people say it’s only hair because it’s not true, at least for many of us it’s not. Thank you for reading and sharing your feelings on this.

  31. I’n on my second week break of my chemo cycle and my hair start to fall so much, it is so apparently when I took a shower yesterday and even worst this morning.

    I am so concerned as so many people say that it will go back n will be better hair quality then before. But when I read all the comments it does not seem like that…

    Second thought should I shave it or just let it fall
    Will it be matter if I shave it? Or it will just having a same result : curly n thinner hair… ???

    1. Angel, There are no one-size-fits-all answers regarding hair loss and regrowth either. Regarding shaving it off, you need to do what feels best for you. I didn’t shave mine off ’til my chemo ended, but that was me. Mine did not come back in better, but hopefully this will not be the case for you. Good luck with chemo and beyond. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Thank you for blogging your experience with chemo and hair loss. Your advice and perspective is helpful. In my experience, people do diminish the hair loss with their “it will grow back” comments which I find frustrating. I agree hair loss is so hard because it projects the image of normalcy.

    Although I have not experience hair loss I have been supporting my fiancée that is currently going through chemo therapy hair loss. We had hoped the Penguin cold caps would help save her hair but they weren’t very effective for her. I feel that has made it a little harder to accept the hair loss since we had a plan to save her hair. It is heartbreaking for me to see her disappointment and sadness these past few weeks. I wish I could have saved her hair and wish I could have done more or a better job with the cold caps. I feel so powerless to help her and I can only imagine how powerless she feels going through all of this. All I can do and will continue to do is be empathetic to her loss, give her a hug and reminder her that I love her.

    If anyone has any other suggestions to show her my support and love I would appreciate it.

    1. Chet, I’m sorry your fiancee is dealing with cancer and now hair loss too. Losing one’s hair is a big deal, at least it was for me. It’s understandable you are both disappointed that the cold caps didn’t work. (I might wish to talk with you about this further at some point as I’d like to write a post about it sometime). That feeling of powerlessness is one many of us know and partners feel it on a whole different level. It sounds as if you are doing exactly the right things. Be there. Listen. Support her. Allow her to be real. And mostly, just love her. Some things you can’t fix and cancer is one of them. But your love and support will help hold her up through all of it. Good luck to you both.

      1. Hi Nancy. Thank you for your kind words and support.

        Feel free to reach out to me about cold caps if you get around to writing about it. I do think the cold caps work most of the time when applied properly, caring for hair properly, and when a person is not under excessive stress. Though, everyone should remember they don’t work 100% of the time even done properly in ideal conditions. My fiancée and I have learned, it is very disappointing and a little harder as you are dealing with failing to save hair and the hair loss.

  33. I was sad when my hair fell out and we had to shave it! In time I accepted and just went with it! Losing our hair is stressful, sad and difficult. I found with a little time it got easier. I was especially hard after growing it out for a year just to start another chemo which took almost 70 percent!!! But because it is taxol, I am growing a little while the treatment is still ongoing, a BIG positive!!! I would love you tocheck out this post and lets start a revolution!
    I love this!!!

  34. I am glad that you made it thru the chemo first of all. Yay! I am not starting to lose my hair just 3 days now. I got enough to partially fill a sandwich bag today just from showering, blow dry and brushing. I cry and cry. It is terrible. Hair is so personal and I don’t want to say goodbye to mine either. I don’t blame you in the least for how you went about yours. I have an appointment with my hairdresser in a couple of days for a cut as when I set up my appointment I wasn’t losing hair yet. I bought my wig today and I feel embarrassed. It is a nice wig, it is long and can be cut but it isn’t mine and it felt like it was going to come off. I keep wondering would a strong wind blow it off in public? How mortifying would that be? Sounds funny reading it back but the experience wouldn’t be. Your post made me realize my crying over my hair isn’t silly even though some may think it is but luckily most of my friends get it and comfort me what they can. I am glad a friend sent my this article you wrote and again I am glad you are past all this and have your hair again. Good luck to your future as well.

  35. Dear Nancy!
    The experience of hair loss, scalp and hair care and hair regrowth will be different for everyone. There are also differences according to European, Indian, African, Middle-Eastern and Asian hair types. Getting individual advice can be the most helpful. This may be from your breast care nurse a specialist organisations or supplier. We also list a number of organisations who supply headwear designed to meet the needs of people experiencing hair loss.

  36. Nancy,

    The very fact that this post got it first comment in 2012 and its latest one in 2017 just proves how much you inspired people!

    A lot of our customers have been through similar ordeals to yourself and we often hear how being able to regrow their hair quickly gives them such a confidence boost.

    One of our recent emails said “I felt like I was drowing and getting through Chemo pulled me out of the water, as happy and relieved as I was my confidence due to my hair loss was on the floor, I felt like my legs were still in the water but being able to regrow my hair quicker than I expected thanks to Minoxidil was like being pulled to the shore.”

    I’ll admit I’ve not read your book (yet – but I aim to) but by reading posts like this help me to understand what hair loss can do to people and how it can make them feel is one of the reasons we started out in the first place. I’m going to check your book now 🙂

    All the best,

  37. Hi Nancy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I remember my mom’s chemotherapy process but I was just a kid back then and wasn’t fully able to grasp the situation. Thanks again for being an inspiration!

  38. Hello Nancy,
    Thanks for being brave and share your experience with us. Though it seems all it’s all women talks and shares own experiences here. But I have seen the suffering of lung cancer patients. My dad has died of cancer and when we able to find out the reasons for his illness it was too late. He reached stage three and doc give him 6 months. Back then I was a young teen I don’t clearly understand what happens to my dad. I was surprised when I saw my dad in bald had after a few month chemos started. He could not survive the last cycle of chemo and my mom has broken already. I could not able to describe the situation but I have gone through all this.

  39. Generally, you should try to avoid hair treatments and products that include chemicals such as parabens, DEA and sulfates.

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