I came home from chemo on Tuesday and sat on the couch and pulled my hair out in handfuls. I put the hair in a bowl. It took some time.
It didn’t hurt coming out. It just…went.
I had some fringe for a couple of days around my temples and my sideburns stayed a couple of extra days. It was funny.
I now have this fuzz left all over my noggin. Like duck fuzz. It’s funny.
I was worried my head was going to be dented and bumpy and ugly. But it’s actually quite round and smooth. Not at all the denty mess I was expecting. And my scalp is very white. I do have some spots and freckles and moles and things but it isn’t unattractive.
Now I know something I never wanted to know.
I have a nice shaped bald head.
I think the best thing is that it all happened in steps. Before the surgery, my hair was past my shoulders. That was cut to a bob after surgery when it became apparent that brushing long hair in my new state would be difficult. Then three weeks before chemo, I got a short pixie boy cut. People told me I look like Ginnifer Goodwin.
My scalp began to itch a few days after chemo and I was done. I woke up one morning and my husband and I buzzed it to about an inch all around.
I think it was good for the boys to see it go in stages. I know it was good for me to do it that way.
How vain, right? How vain! It’s just hair. Who cares?
I freaking care. I care. I loved my hair. I have been obsessed with my hair. My hair has been a full time job and it is a part of me. A huge part of my identity and it would be an absolute charade to pretend otherwise.
I really enjoyed pulling it out. I enjoyed taking charge of the whole thing. And now it is gone and I am ok.
But you know, even now, a newly bald head is tricky to care for. Because there are weird dry patches and something called sebum (ewwww!) and the skin itself is quite vulnerable.
So here is what I have been doing to take care of my poor sweet round head.
In the shower, first I exfoliate with a nice honey scrub, then I wash my whole scalp with my fancy pants Brazillian Blowout Shampoo because it feels nice and smells like oranges. Then I condition it with the fancy pants Brazillian Blowout Conditioner for the same reason. Perhaps i should save that fancy pants stuff but the smell is really comforting so I am using it. And after all, who doesn’t like an orange scented head? After all that, I moisturize with Egyptian Magic, a cream that was recommended by my new friend Becky from my breast cancer support group. I am trying to avoid moisturizers with parabens and all that bad stuff and the Egyptian Magic is olive oil and honey and beeswax and stuff. I just rub it right in. I sleep with a cotton cap at night to keep my head warm and comfy. I remoisturize whenever I feel the need.
I have not gone out uncovered yet but my understanding is that I should wear a good sunscreen (which is tricky since I am allergic to most sunscreen) and just keep moisturizing.
I am hoping that eventually my fuzzy head turns into a shiny head. We will see. Becky also said to sit outside for 5 or 10 minutes a day without suncreen to build a base tan on my chrome dome but I’m staying out of the sun for now.
My scalp still hurts so I’m just going to baby it awhile.
And I am enjoying messing with wigs and scarves and hats and figuring out what works for me. It’s going to be months of baldness, I might as well take charge.
I also went to a “Look Good, Feel Better” class in June. The American Cancer Society does a nice job with this. I received a tote full of very nice makeup that I have actually used quite regularly (my favorite is this awesome blush stick by Shiseido, I will buy one when this one runs out, it’s that good!). I learned some make up tricks (drawing on eyebrows will be coming soon I think! Whooppie)! I did not know and though I don’t normally wear a ton of makeup, I have found the new “Look Good, Feel Better” philosophy helps. I may be bald and swollen from steroids, I may feel like absolute poop… but a little lipstick and eyeliner actually can brighten my entire outlook when I need it. Maybe just a little.
I never knew what a vain person I was until I got cancer. Or maybe it’s just that I feel so bad that I only have one way to go. Regardless, it’s working for me. It’s getting me through.
Makeup and a lot of moisturizer.
June 19, 2013 at 8:20 am
You know that I’m a firm believer in decorating the body and expressing the self through fashion. It is truly a form of art. Your canvas has changed, but I have no doubt that you will make yourself some gorgeous art in the months to come. Because you will be expressing your gorgeous self, and that is immutable.