Tuesday, 11 November 2014

71. Neither hair nor there

FaceBook has been trying to persuade me that I will look good with a Very nice short hairstyle, repeatedly sending me hopeful suggestions and exhorting me to be brave with the scissors. To me, these coiffures look positively bushy, quite apart from the fact that they will take me a year or two to grow.

Why do they keep sending me these posts? One of my friends knew. "They think you are Denise," she wrote in response to my baffled question.

This week, FaceBook (or should that be Big Brother?) has finally figured out why Denise is not responding, and has moved on to the next suggestion. Here it is:

Better be careful - before I know it, I'll be swamped with ideas for helpful facilities ranging from the Bigger Breast Clinic to the Wailing Women Support Group.

The hair loss thing has been rather intriguing. 

I have got to the point where I really, really don't mind it. I tried on Denise again the other day. Looking in the mirror, it just seemed utterly ridiculous. How could I ever think that she looked inconspicuously normal?

But then I look ridiculous in all my old photos, except perhaps the ones with the pixie cut. Too much hair everywhere. The thing is, I've got used to the status quo and no longer notice it or think it strange.

So, not wasting any energy on worrying about looks, I can turn my attention to the scientific process of chemotherapy-induced hair loss. It is not at all how I had imagined it. I thought that you lose all your hair within a matter of weeks: head, toe and everything in-between.

Not so. You may have spotted it on yesterday's picture of my arm. No? Have another look.

That's right. It's not all gone, my hair.

It has just been thinning and thinning. My leg hair has almost, but not quite, gone. If I'd been paying for my brazilian, I'd want my money back - it is, as yet, incomplete. (Almost there, but with only one more round of chemo to go, I'm beginning to doubt I'll get the full monty.) I still have one half-decent eye brow; on the other side there are so few hairs left that I could count them. (Let me do that now... ehm... it's 34. Actually, no, 33. There goes another one.) 

Only my head hair came out in vast quantities, that eventful day just before my second round of chemo, when I pulled it out in handfuls. I shaved the rest, because as you may remember, it wasn't really a good look, and no amount of comb-overs could rescue it.

I thought that would be that, the stubble would gradually disappear. No such luck. It is still growing at an apparently normal rate. I've been shaving my head twice a week, to stop the above non-look reappearing.

Looking around the chemo ward (especially at night when scarves and wigs come off), I note that people don't go bald completely. They are left with wispy tufts here and there, a style that has not, so far, made it onto the suggested FaceBook pages.

They are literally clinging on, the remaining hairs. They stay firmly attached. Occasionally, there is a day when they seem to be yielding easily to my experimental plucking, but mostly, they survive against the odds. You have to cheer them on, really.

This is all, of course, neither hair nor there. It really doesn't matter, except perhaps for one niggling thought.

If the chemo hasn't managed to kill off all my hair, how can I be sure that it has managed to kill off all my cancer cells...?


  1. "Hair are the results of the Dutch jury"
    Since I read your posting I get hair advertisements too.
    Hairlab.nl is afraid I'm losing my hair as well. I can get some therapie (only 97 euro). Lieve Ireen, het is heel normaal als je niet al je haar verliest, het zegt echt niets over de werking van de chemo... xxx

    1. Oh dear! Are all my poor blog readers now inundated with hair clinic adverts?! Better refrain from blogging about breast enlargements then...