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Hair, Hair Cuts & How Much Do You Share?

I’ve written about hair many times. Hair posts seem to strike a chord. If you’re a woman, hair is always on your mind. Well, maybe not always; but hair is on your mind at least once or twice a day, probably many more times if you’re honest. Maybe this is true for men, too, but it’s not quite the same deal.

Hair and/or the lack of hair is a bigger deal if you happen to be female. This is not at all fair of course, and we might not like to admit it’s true, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t.

Need proof?

Well, no one cringes when they see a bald man out in public; but plenty of people cringe, or at least do a double-take, when they see a bald woman, or even just a woman with really “bad” hair, whatever that means to whoever is doing the looking.

And let me just say again, I hated being bald. Hated it. I know some of you say you find/found it to be freeing. I respect you for thinking like that, but I just never felt freed by my baldness.

If truth be told, I felt even more “imprisoned” by cancer when I was bald.

Fast forward a bit…

Eventually, post-chemo  I did manage to grow some new hair. However since chemo, since being put on AIs, therefore since cancer, my hair has been nothing like it used to be. And my hair used to be one of my “better” features – in my mind anyway. Today it’s more sparse, more unruly, more difficult to style, more stress-inducing, more of a whole lot of what you don’t want to be true about your hair. I definitely no longer see my hair as one of my “better” features. Sometimes I wonder if I have any “better” features anymore… but that’s another post.

Of course, none of this means I’m not grateful to have some hair. I am. But still…

When I finally did grow enough hair to require a haircut again a while back, I had a lot of explaining to do to my regular stylist because of course she wondered where I’d been for the last year or two.

I explained. I told her. You know what that means.

Yes, I told her about cancer. I told her about chemo. We had had a good relationship before cancer, so it wasn’t too awkward to share bits and pieces of my cancer story with her. She was very kind, caring and understanding. She was gentle, and I don’t just mean with my hair. I confided in her about my new hair struggles, too, and have never allowed anyone else to cut my hair in the past two years or so since.

Then it happened. She up and quit; hence this little rant!

The last time I walked into my usual chain salon that I go to for my regular trim, she was gone.

That old familiar feeling of dread, self-consciousness yes, even panic set in as I realized I had to start all over with someone new.

That old dilemma once again presented itself. You might know the one…

How much do I tell?

How much do I share? Will the new stylist get it? Does it matter? Yes it does. Why do I care? Because it’s my hair. I have to tell her something because my hair (I have to face it) is a little weird. I can say that ‘cuz it’s mine.

So, I shared just enough with her.

Too much? Not enough? Will I eventually like her?

On all counts, who knows?

In the scheme of things, none of this is a big deal I know.

But it’s still hard. Even now.

And I miss my old hair.

Cancer or no cancer, do you have hair issues?

How much of your cancer experience do you generally share with others?

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Melissa

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

I had chemo in my mid 20s…and my hair is super thin now. Most of it did not grow back even though they said it would. It's hard to be in your 20s… a few years out and have a bald spot on the top of your head. It just raises questions. Which are annoying after so long. I want my hair back! I've only cut it twice. I think it looks horrible but I have anxiety about cutting it..

Nancy

Wednesday 11th of June 2014

Melissa, I understand. Hair is always a big deal and it's hard when your hair doesn't grow back as good as it once was. I have the same problem now and I hate it. Every time I go in for a haircut it's stressful now. All I can say is I understand and you're not alone. And the people who love you don't care about your thin hair or bald spots. But yes, it's still hard. Thanks for sharing. It helps!

Beth L. Gainer

Sunday 20th of April 2014

As you know,, Nancy, I didn't lose my hair. I cannot imagine this horrible effect of treatment! I know I would hate it, absolutely hate it. It's not vain to say this: bald women are perceived differently than bald men, as you say.

Nancy

Sunday 20th of April 2014

Beth, I think women are judged quite differently regarding their physical appearance than men are period. And hair, well, when it's gone or even thinning, it can be traumatic or at least quite stress-inducing for some. And isn't it strange that when you have chemo and don't lose your hair, this presents a whole different set of sometimes difficult circumstances? Thanks for reading and sharing, Beth.

Honey Bee

Monday 7th of April 2014

I got a wig when I first began chemo and had my head shaved. Now, treatments are over, and my hair is growing back in, wavy this time and thick, but still white. But I loved being a blonde, with the wig. So I have opted to go for a "younger look" that makes me feel good without the trouble of dying my hair. I keep my own hair short underneath to make wearing the wig easier. I love my wig. I never have a "bad hair day" and it's no trouble to maintain. It's far easier than my own hair. I love being a blonde and look ten or more years younger. So far, I'm very content with my new look.

I really appreciate all the topics you discuss on your blog. It helps to know one does not face these challenges alone.

Wishing you love and sunshine, Honey Bee

Nancy

Monday 7th of April 2014

Honey Bee, It sounds like you have found the perfect solution for you! That's great. I actually liked my wigs too, but they just never felt that comfortable after an hour or two of wearing them. Thanks for your kind words about my blog. Join the discussions any time. Sharing does help doesn't it? Thanks for reading and commenting.

Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Saturday 5th of April 2014

[…] Nancy is musing on all things hair related and how of your cancer story you reveal to people. […]

Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC)

Saturday 5th of April 2014

Losing my hair just didn't seem to be a big issue for me - I was more upset about losing my fertility with chemo :-(

Nancy

Saturday 5th of April 2014

Marie, Losing your fertility is heartbreaking for a woman like you who dearly wants children and I realize a loss like this is on a whole different scale. I know you have suffered a great deal of emotional pain over your loss of fertility and I'm so very sorry, Marie. Thank you for sharing. xxxx

Maureen Labanowski

Saturday 5th of April 2014

Marie, I am so sorry! Maureen

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