A silly place filled with caffeine induced ramblings of this person named KarmaGirl....or something.
Published on November 27, 2006 By KarmaGirl In Health & Medicine

This article is being written in support of my sister's best friend who is undergoing treatment for cancer.  Since I have intimate experience with hair loss due to auto-immune diseases, I figured that I could at least help her with the hair loss issue that she'll run into with chemo.

Most people think that hair loss is the least of their worries, and it should be.  But, unfortunately, it becomes an outward sign of disease.  If you are like me, you don't want people to look at you and wonder what is wrong with you.  You want to be "normal" and not draw any attention.  It's pretty hard not to stick out when you are female and bald, though. 

Hair loss is a hard one to deal with.  Even if you are not a vain person, the loss of hair can be quite disturbing.  For one, you never believe how much hair is really on your head.  Trust me, it's a lot, and it will be really nasty when it starts falling out. 

Being that it's becoming winter, you will also find that your newly bald head is more sensitive then you would have thought.  You need to make sure that you keep it covered to keep yourself from getting cold.  You will also want to moisturize your scalp to keep it from getting too dried out since it won't have it's natural moisture like it did with hair.

Before your hair starts falling out, I would suggest getting it cut really short.  First, this will let yourself get used to having less hair.  But, more importantly, it will make it easier to deal with when it falls out.

The other important thing is to have things on hand to cover your head with.  You will get cold, even at night.  So, here are some suggestions:

1) Get soft cotton stocking caps to wear to bed.  You lose a lot of heat from your head, and it's much worse when you are bald.  It really bites to wake up sick and cold.

2) Buy some fun hats and wear them before you lose your hair.  People will get used to seeing you that way, and you'll get used to the hat.  Just make sure that the inner material is soft.

3) Think about getting some "professional hair" (that is a term that my brother in law uses for wigs).  You can get one that is close your hair color and hair style, and use it for when you leave the house and want to feel normal.

4) Get some fake eyebrows and eyelashes in case you need them.  You'd be amazed at how weird you look without them.

Ok, so here are some resources:

-Hair for hats: http://www.hatandhair.com/view-all-items.htm  This is a neat product because you can attach them to any hat that you like.  They are also not as hot as a traditional wig.

-Wigs: http://www.beautytrends.com/  I have found this to be the most economical place to shop for wigs.  They have good customer service, and an easy return process.  You also can order hair color swatches so that you know what color the wig will be.  I suggest staying with straighter styles, because they look the most natural.  Otherwise, they get thick looking.

-Eyebrows: Also from Beauty trends.  They sell "natural brows" which you apply with adhesive.  They are made from hair, and look quite natural.  You can get eyelashes from most drug stores, but I haven't seen eyebrows except for online.

-Hats: I have suggestions for hats: 1) Make sure that they are comfortable.  A tight hat will give you a headache over time.  2) Make sure that they are soft.  Your scalp will be very sensitive, so softer is better.  3) Get them in many colors.  You'll want to be able to coordinate with what you are wearing

I also would suggest getting a soft cap liner (you can get at any wig store, like Beauty Trends).  You can wear the liner under wigs as well as under hats.  They are designed to keep hair tucked away under wigs, but I find that they work well as a barrier between my head and anything I wear on it.

In the end, nothing will prepare you for the personal experience that you will have with hair loss.  But, I hope that this info will lessen your hardship with it.  The better you can prepare yourself for your journey ahead, the easier it will be on you.  I hope that all goes well, and that this will soon all be a distant memory to you.

Namaste, my friend.  I hope we will all be celebrating your good health at the end of all this!

on Nov 27, 2006

Insightful,  heart touching too. 

I hope the treatment is successful and that she does well.

on Nov 27, 2006

First of all, it's nice to 'see' you.  Secondly, I too hope that your sister's friend will triumph over her illness, and I too will send some good thoughts her way.

A couple of weeks after I first started blogging here at JU, I found a lump in my breast.  A big lump, about 4cm across and visible underneath my skin.  As it turns out it was scar tissue and completely benign, but the moth long period between my discovering it and getting it removed was enough time for me to resign myself to possibly losing my hair (if it was cancerous and I had to have chemo).  It wasn't an easy thing to do.  I'm not particularly vain, but I do give a hoot about my appearance and knew that losing ALL my hair - brows and lashes included) would make me stand out in a crowd, and not necessarily in a good way. 

So, I went and looked at wigs and hairpieces, and consoled myself with the thought that I could change my look as often as I wanted.  I could have a blonde bob one day and have long dark hair the next - I could, in other words, try on all kinds of styles, depending what my mood was.   I had almost convinced myself that losing my hair could be fun when I had the lumpectomy and found out that I didn't have cancer.   I say 'almost' because I don't think any woman can be totally happy about losing their hair, it's just a matter of making the most of the hand you're dealt.

I'd like to help your sister's friend make the most of the hand she's dealt.  I have access to many knitting patterns for chemo caps, and I'd love to make one for her.  Do you think she'd be cool with that?

on Nov 27, 2006

I'd like to help your sister's friend make the most of the hand she's dealt. I have access to many knitting patterns for chemo caps, and I'd love to make one for her. Do you think she'd be cool with that?

That would be cool!  You could send it to Stardock and I could send it on.  While you're at it,you could make me a hat too   I'm a bit bald myself right now...been having a bad Lupus flare for the past few weeks.

One of these days I'll post on why I haven't been around much lately (it's due to being busier than usual...if you can imagine that) but I haven't had the time to blog on it...too busy

on Nov 27, 2006
My prayers go out to both of you KarmaG, and I wish you both the best.

One thing I did not notice you mentioning, is that one of the biggest benefits hair offers us is protection from ultraviolet rays from the sun. I figure thats the prime function of hair and fur.

on Nov 27, 2006
Excellently put.  A friend of mine is undergoing Chemo.  She never was vain about her hair, but it really bothers her now.  I think I understand better after reading this.
on Nov 27, 2006
KarmaGirl, so good to 'see' you too! I hope everything will go well with your friend, and you too. This is a very thoughtful reading for anyone who needs it. My sisters-in-law has lupus as well, that does flare up from time to time. The last time for one of them was pretty severe. I'm sorry that anyone has to experience any of this. One cut their hair really short, while the other uses 'professional hair', I like that term!

You don't realise how much you take for granted until you lose it. Hair is an important thing to me and I know it's not easy what you're going through. God bless.