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Since Chemo Every Day Feels Like a Bad Hair Day – A Little Rant!

Since chemo, every day feels like a bad hair day! Yep. This one’s a little rant.

In by gone days (this really means pre-cancer days), I considered two of my better physical features to be my hair and my eyes. Not that they were anything all that great, but they were two features I could work with.

Then along came cancer and chemo; suddenly in addition to no more breasts, there was also no more hair and no more eyelashes. Oh, and pretty darn sparse brows too.

Losing body parts completely stinks!

The “lesser losses” like hair, lashes and brows aren’t much fun either.

In some ways, losing my eyelashes was harder than losing my hair because while I could plop a wig on my head whenever I felt I needed to or wanted to, my bare eyes were suddenly just, well, bare. And I had absolutely no desire to attempt fake eyelashes. Plus, I was told the glue is often problematic for chemo patients anyway and who needs glue problems when going through chemo, right?

When chemo ended, I often wondered “how long would I have to look like this?” I waited patiently for my hair to regrow.

I waited. And waited. Actually, I’m still waiting.

Things progressed slowly, ironically except in places where I didn’t want hair. Is that more than you wanted to know? Sorry.

Today the hair on my head is nothing like it used to be. Nothing.

I hate to admit it, but when my family members and I go out, one of their jobs now is to check the back of my head for bald spots. If I’m strategic enough and if it’s not super windy, I can usually fluff things around enough to make do. Depending on where we’re going or if I’m out by myself, often times I simply resort to wearing a hat or cap because it’s easier and a whole lot less stressful than wondering what the person standing behind me in the checkout line might be thinking about my bald spots.

As for my eyelashes, they remain pretty sparse too. The art of putting on mascara now requires even more expertise to avoid that unattractive clumpy-stuck-together look. My brows remain sparse as well.

You’re probably thinking by now that vanity is one of those deadly sins, right?

I know in the scheme of things hair, eyelashes and brows are insignificant, but still…

I miss my old hair, lashes and brows. I hate how cancer treatment took what I perceived to be my better physical features.

Since chemo, every day’s a bad hair day!

There I said it. Again.

Rant over. I feel a little better now.

What on-going side effects from cancer treatment are you dealing with?

What’s something you miss about your “old self”?

Do you have something you’d like to rant about? 

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Since chemo, every day is a bad hair day!

Since chemo, every day is a bad hair day!

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Lin

Friday 18th of June 2021

Not much hair, 35 permanent extra pounds, I stopped being athletic me.

Nancy

Friday 18th of June 2021

Lin, I hear you. Boy, do I. Of course, I was never athletic though. Thank you for sharing.

Kristie Konsoer

Thursday 17th of June 2021

I agree with every single word.

Nancy

Friday 18th of June 2021

Kristie, I'm glad you relate, but also sad that you do. I remember your hair post! So good. Thank you for reading and agreeing. :)

Carol A Miele

Friday 28th of February 2020

Microblading, permanent makeup, tatoo'd brows, gels, powders, dyes, on and on, ad nauseum! I never thought with my formerly thick dark brows that I would now be searching every ad that promises to thicken brows that have nearly disappeared. My hair, lashes & nails took a beating from chemo. At the time, I was just thankful to get my Stage 4 breast cancer into remission But now, over 9 years later, I am annoyed that I feel the need to fill on or draw on my eyebrows each day so I can at least attempt to resemble my former self. I don't like the wan look of my sparse brows...I look less energetic, a shadow of my former image I'm reluctant to do anything permanent, so I continue to use brow powder daily before answering the door or venturing out. I guess its part vanity, part loss of control of my life, and part longing for my pre-cancer self. I won't apologize for any of it! At this point, I've had to stuff too many feelings inside while I put on a smile I've endured too many losses of family & friends with MBC and other terminal conditions....and I've experienced too much pain and discomfort to be concerned with how others perceive me. I'm not bitter; I just feel I've earned the right to my feelings. I invite anyone to walk in my shoes, as that's the only way they could possibly understand. Thanks once again , Nancy for bringing up some of the sore spots and inconveniences of living with a cancer diagnosis

Nancy

Monday 2nd of March 2020

Carol, You have earned the right indeed. It means so much to know you understand. Sometimes, those of us who are not metastatic feel we can not mourn or talk about those things we miss. As Shelli wrote: "One can never fully understand the pivotal importance of brows and lashes until one loses them. Devastating. Not a point of vanity, but of basic sense of self." Love that so much. I miss her.

Elizabeth

Monday 22nd of April 2013

I miss my long brown hair, it came back very fine and grey with bald spots. Oncologist never had anyone develop bald spots after? Really? I know several other women who have them after chemo. I didn't have really great eyelashes before, but they are so fine and sparse now that they are totally invisible without mascara. I miss my breast. I feel I can't wear half my clothes because even slightly scooped necklines show a difference all the way to the collarbone. Still struggling with adhesions interfering with arm and shoulder movement. And then there is good old lymphedema. And fatigue. And side effects of hormone drugs. But the very very worst thing is that my husband, who is so proud of himself for standing by me, and so proudly tells friends and family that my lost breast makes absolutely no difference to him, he will not touch me in any way at all - no hugs, kisses, handholding, and of course no sex. And if I need to cry or express anger or even complain about side effects, I sure better hide it from him. If I try to talk about any of this, he usually says "Would you rather be dead because that was the alternative." (I am about ready to say YES!) Since I was laid off from my job shortly after the cancer diagnosis, I am trapped as he is my only income and my health insurance and I will be in treatment forever as stage 4.

Nancy

Tuesday 23rd of April 2013

Elizabeth, There is a lot to miss isn't there? I'm sorry for all the losses you mention. I understand. I miss those some of those same things myself. Adapting to life is difficult and as a stage IV person, there is no end in sight for you as far as treatment goes. It's a lot to deal with. I'm sorry your relationship with your husband is not as it should be and that you feel trapped. I would recommend that you discuss this matter with someone you trust and get some help. You deserve better. Good luck with everything.

Nancy

Thursday 14th of February 2013

Nancy, thanks for this post. I had very thick hair and now, 14 months past chemo, it's a shadow of it's former self. It covers the top of my head, but just barely, although the back is thick as ever I think. The white eyelash produc t works very well and I did find a maybelline mascara that worked well for thin lashes. The mascara itself is nothing special but it has a very fine thin brush that did not glom product on your eyelid.

Nancy

Sunday 17th of February 2013

Nancy, I have never had thick hair, but I did have "decent" hair before chemo. Now it's really sparse on top and it's difficult and frustrating for me to constantly be stressing about bald spots showing through... Sounds like your hair and mine or sort of similar now, as mine is pretty good around the back as well, but the top... Thank you for mascara tip. I am going to look for that maybelline product. Hope you are doing well.