Why chemo hair loss is about more than wig or no wig

KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 82 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

Losing our hair can be like losing part of who we are and more. How to cope with chemo hair loss?

Dear all,

When I knew I was going to lose my hair, there were several options open to me, in terms of how to prepare and how to cope. But the emotional impact was the hardest.

In this article I try and talk you through, why chemo hair loss is about more than wig or no wig and how to cope.

I also recorded a video on this and the link to that is in the article.

You can read the article here.

I hope it's of use.

What's your story?

Very best.

Karin

Karin Sieger
Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
Helping you create new possibilities!

Comments

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 82 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

    @Sunshinedaff

    Hi Lou,

    Thanks for sharing your own experience with chemo hair loss.

    I agree, there are practical and emotional issues - for us all, women and men, and those living with us.

    And it also means that we can no longer try and keep what we are going through private. It is obvious that something is happening to us.

    As I say in my article, overall the worst moment was losing my eyebrows and eyelashes. Because I had not thought of that and it had not been mentioned. Quite obvious really, but it had not occurred to me. It did take some getting used to, esp as I decided against make up, because my skin had become quite sensitive.

    Best wishes for you.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Teacherspet

    Hi,

    A very warm welcome to you.

    I don't think you can tell at all you have a wig on, it looks great. The 'losing hair' part of chemo is one of the hardest to get used to. I am glad you are finding the wig comfortable to wear. I didn't wear one myself, opted instead for scarves and hats, lots of them! Not chemo hats, just normal hats haha. Before cancer I would never wear a hat because I didn't want my hair being messed up. I used to be very fussy about how my hair looked! Now I don't care at all! I finished chemo four years ago, my hair has grown back, different colour, but I now keep it very short as I can't be bothered with having to 'do' it.😁 It has brought a lot of freedom funnily enough.

    I know you are in very early days of first chemo, I hope you will get through them ok. There are loads of us here who have been where you are, so feel free to come and chat, ask questions etc, or just pop over for a cup of coffee! We understand!

    Chat soon,

    Lou x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 928 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Teacherspet @Brightstar @Sunshinedaff

    Good evening

    Welcome to our friendly group. I am pleased you have found us and hope that you will keep in touch. I absolutely agree with Lou and Julie that no one would know that you are wearing a wig, you look great.

    I am friendly with several ladies (and one man) who have at different times, lost their hair following chemotherapy treatment. At one of our regular get togethers, two of the girls tried out a variety of wigs and there was a lot of fun and laughter. They both decided to keep the wigs. My niece lost her lovely long blonde hair at the age of 39 and she chose to wear a scarf and hat. They are all amazing and I constantly marvel at the courage, forbearance and humour of the people I have met through the cancer journey.

    I hope that you will cope OK with the chemo and look forward to chatting again soon.

    Rob x

  • TeacherspetTeacherspet Posts: 4

    Yes that is my wig. It doesn’t fit great as I have a full head of hair. Most people can’t tell. A view close friends knew something was different but never thought it was a wig. I don’t know if it will be hot as it is cold in northern Illinois right now. You can’t wear a hat with it (don’t know why but that’s what the wig maker said). I will have to ride my horse without the wig as I will need a hat to keep warm.

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Teacherspet

    It is great you can wear it knowing others can't tell it isn't your own hair. I didn't realise wearing a hat with it wasn't advisable!

    Maybe some beanie hats to wear under your riding hat?

    (When it is a good time for you we would love to see a pic of your horse. We have a Furry friends chat in the Cancer coffee break category. You and @KitKat will have loads to chat about as she has a horse named Splash!)

    Lou x

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 82 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

    @KitKat @RobertA @Sunshinedaff

    What wonderful news! Goes to show. Enjoy the stables.👍

    Warmest.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • BethbeeBethbee Posts: 1

    Hello All,

    This is my first post, I've only shared my diagnosis with close family & friends.

    I am having Immunotherapy & Chemotherapy every 3 weeks and no 3 is due next week. Three weeks ago my hair started falling out, so I went and cut it short. Thinking that it would be less upsetting finding clumps of hair on the pillow,but it was still coming out and I'd find myself having to Hoover and clean up the bathroom after a shower.

    So I went and shaved it off Tuesday morning!! Now I use a sticky lint roller ( new sheet & roll for hygiene purposes) to clean up the lose stubbly bits 😀

    Today my daughter and I went wig shopping, but I really don't know if I can wear one. I found it really upsetting!!

    Take care all,xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Bethbee

    I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, it is a huge thing to adjust to and when I was diagnosed we only told a very few number of people at first.

    When my hair began falling out after starting chemotherapy, I had it all cut off too, well shaved off totally. It was painful too, and once it was off felt better. Good idea though to use a lint roller to pick up the stray bits!😁

    I didn't wear a wig, my youngest daughter couldn't bear the thought of it, neither could I to be honest. I went with scarves and hats, lots of them! I am sorry you found it upsetting today, it is very understandable. Losing your hair involuntarily is really tough, it was the worst thing for me to accept after my diagnosis, worse than losing parts of my body. I didn't care about that! But my hair I used to love, and spent hours fussing over it. I hope you find it gets a little easier as the days go by. I now don't care about my hair at all, completely changed my view about it.

    I hope you are managing with the chemo ok, well done for making it to no 3😁.

    Glad you have found our lovely community, everyone is very friendly and lots of us love to chat!

    Lou x

  • BrightstarBrightstar Posts: 259 ✭✭✭

    Hi Bethbee

    First of all welcome to our community.

    I can understand the wig situation. I don't know as yet if I need to have chemo, but I am almost certain I will go down the scarf route if I do have to have it. To be honest I don't even want to think about losing my hair, as I know from experience how distressing it is.

    I lost most of my hair when I was a young teenager with alopecia. I did try a wig but hated it and felt very self conscious in it. I just used to wear scarves. Luckily my hair started to grow back in time. Although I still have a bald spot that never grew back near my temple. Luckily I can hide it by having my hair to one side.

    Wigs have come on a long way and I am sure there most be some that don't feel like you are wearing a hat!

    They are some lovely styles scarves around for people with hair loss, including on this site. I guess it's a case of trial and error.

    Check out teachers pet recent link. Her wig looks lovely and natural.

    Do follow us on our other links where we talk about lots of different things that have nothing to do with cancer.

    We are all here to support each other, so feel free to chat anytime.

    Julie x

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 82 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

    Hello @Bethbee

    I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Sharing it here with us, that is quite a special step. Sometimes, it's easier to "talk" with people we don't know and cannot see. As others have said, this is a warm, responsive and respectful community. Dealing with cancer, the treatment, the side effects ... it's all a process and we all need to do it in our own personal way. Feel free to ask me any questions you kay have.

    Very best wishes.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 928 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @KitKat

    Hi Catherine

    What wonderful news, you have done it again.🤸🏼‍♂️🤸‍♀️ You are amazing, and what a great way to start the New Year. I trust that you have enjoyed your day with Splash - he will have been thrilled to see you again.

    Rob x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @KitKat

    Hi Catherine

    Just wanted to add my joy with Rob's, wonderful news to hear the operation was really successful, and you are headed in the right direction. Continue to recover well, so pleased for you.

    🤗😍

    Lou xx

  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 50 ✭✭✭

    Thank you so much. I did have a little weep yesterday at the thought of having no cancer inside me. But the oncologist said that I still have a long way to go but I know that I can get through it.

    I'll let you know when I find out what is happening next

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