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DEBORAHBROWN1's Photo DEBORAHBROWN1 SparkPoints: (0)
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11/10/10 4:55 P

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I've just been for my 5 year check up with the Oncologist and everything is great - clear bill of health!

I had one breast removed, just because that's the only way I would know that the Cancer was gone. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of having Cancer, except for it gets better.

Having my hair fall out was probably the worst thing for me as well. I faired pretty well with the Chemo, only got sick for my last one. Lost all of my hair, from "everywhere"! I did wear a wig - not because of me, but for my family. They were more secure with me wearing a wig - my Husband specifically. So I wore one for them. I guess I was probably more secure with it on as well. My hair came back curly and I don't color it anymore.

As a result of my Breast Cancer - me and my family are probably more healthy than we have been for years. We've changed the way we eat, we only use organic products for personal use and we don't eat aspartame or MSG.

Things do get better, keep your chin up.

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PAULETTELORAINE's Photo PAULETTELORAINE Posts: 252
11/1/10 6:16 P

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It's been 5 years since I ended my chemo on Halloween. I still remember how naked I felt after losing my eye lashes and brows. When my hair started coming out we were on a camping trip, so my son actually saw it day by day that week. About a week later I asked my daughter-in-law to shave my head, rather than face the straggles in the mirror. I felt I had power (strange, I know) because I was in charge of it. LOL! My son walked in and turned around and walked out. I found out later that he went outside and cried, because it was now "real". I had a nice wig donated by our local chapter of the American Cancer Society. I guess they had to quit doing that, unfortunately. When I got my hair back, I donated the wig, shampoo, liners, etc., back to them. I only wore the wig to church and special occasions where I would be around people I felt would be offended otherwise. (Silly me!) I also got some jersey material wraps, which I wore most of the time. When my hair started coming back it, it was mostly gray and very curly. When it got longer (and straight) I started coloring it again. But I've kept a picture of myself that I "forced" my son to take. I kept reminding myself that it is jut hair and will come back. I missed my eyebrows the most because my face looked funny to me. So I penciled them in (with a stencil designed just for that) for church, etc. You know, bald heads really are beautiful and my only concern was for others who looked at me and the expressions on their faces made me uncomfortable, but honestly, I really was OK with it. I don't say that to diminish your agony, because I know you are going through this right now and it hurts. Hope all the replies have been helpful.
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Life isn't about chance so don't wish me luck. Life is about choice, so wish me courage.


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CD1199018 Posts: 197
10/28/10 9:45 A

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Nan, Nioxin is available in salons and Trade Secrets, but I've also seen it in CVS, so I bet Walgreen's and Target would carry it also.

The Avalon Organics Thickening, Biotin B-Complex - shampoo I bought from drugstore.com.

TWILIGHTNAN's Photo TWILIGHTNAN SparkPoints: (0)
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10/27/10 12:15 A

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Thanks for the tip. Is that shampoo available retail or do you have to order it? I actually have biotin vitamins that I used to take for my nails, now I will start popping them again!

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CD1199018 Posts: 197
10/26/10 12:29 P

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i completely commiserate. i too said goodbye to my breasts much easier than my hair. i didn't shave like everyone said i should - instead, i took handfuls from the shower and let them blow out the window in the wind. i figured the birds could use it for their nests, hee!

i was lucky to find a wig very close to my own color/style, and very lightweight, but as the summer became hotter - and the hot flashes got worse - i grew to hate it. my last chemo treatment was 3/13/09 and i ditched the wig in late july. it was so freeing, and everyone said i had a 'good shaped head' for my very, very short 'do.

i also took biotin supplements and used biotin shampoo (NIOXIN Scalp Therapy™ - recommended by my wig expert - helps promote healthy scalp which promotes hair growth; and Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo) - i swear by them both.



TWILIGHTNAN's Photo TWILIGHTNAN SparkPoints: (0)
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10/25/10 12:32 P

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I didn't bother with make up or eyelashes and now that my lashes and brows and growing in, it's awesome! Looks so creepy with nothing!

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LAURITA.'s Photo LAURITA. Posts: 840
10/24/10 10:22 P

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I had two wigs I loved and I don't think I could have gone through the ordeal without them. Definitely gave me the ability to go out and feel "normal". Having the variety was a treat and I actually enjoyed this.

A friend of mine has ordered wigs from this company - I thought their prices were reasonable and they have a lot of variety. Check this out:

http://www.paulayoung.com/Default.aspx

You can see my pics on my sparkpage (bald, then with short hair in Aug 08). My chemo finished in March of 2008 and I had very short, boyish but "acceptable" hair in July...just to give you some idea of how long you'll be dealing with the bald (and then the white fuzzies that go in all directions).

Cosmetics, false eyelashes can also add to the arsenal. It can definitely mean some work, but then you are saving time dealing with "real" hair.

Good luck!
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INDYPEARTREE's Photo INDYPEARTREE SparkPoints: (138)
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10/22/10 10:41 P

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Gosh, I remember those days so well. Losing the hair was the most difficult I think because it was when the world could tell I was sick. Surgery can be hidden, lack of eyebrows, eyelashes and hair are a tad more difficult. I had hats, scarves, wigs and anything else I could think of to put on to cover the baldness. My favorites were soft terry hats from tlcdirect.org which is the American Cancer Society. Everything else seemed to itch. The hair grows, mine came back curly and a little grayer. I still color it. Wear what you feel comfortable in. You'll have your sassy hair back before you know it, REALLY:) Hang in there dearie! emoticon

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CD5263005 Posts: 376
10/21/10 3:29 P

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A good resource for hats I used was headcovers.com. The hats they had are larger/longer than a regular cap. It covers up more and they had some real cute styles and were very comfortable.
My prayers go out to all that are currently going through this bald stage. I remember that time all too well. Recently it all came back to me when the windy days of fall were blowing and I remembered the day I was out at a church fall function at an apple orchard and the wind literally blew my hat off and there I stood in all my bald glory. I was mortified. But that was then and this is now and I got through it. You've got to admit though you are not missing the hairy legs or armpits! One good thing!!!

TWILIGHTNAN's Photo TWILIGHTNAN SparkPoints: (0)
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10/21/10 2:36 P

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As my 'thinning haired' husband says to me: "At least YOURS will grow back!" and it will, we just have to be patient! Mine is still too short to go without my wig or scarf but ... drum role... I shaved my legs this week for the first time in 7 months! Gradually it's coming back! yours will too!

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FIVEOHBARBIE's Photo FIVEOHBARBIE Posts: 54
10/21/10 1:54 P

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I'm so glad I found this post....I'm already sick of being bald, but still have 4 more chemo treatments to go. I saw what y'all mean about the cold! brrrr!!!! My hair was so thick it was a nuisance to deal with, so when it started falling out, I had it cut short. That lasted for less than 24 hrs. Even two inches long on top and razor cut up the back, it clogged up the bathtub my next shower. That was so embarrassing to have to get my husband to pull the drain apart and clean it out. =( I bought a wig that passes for a thin version of my own hair, and it's fine for 3-4 hrs, but not for a whole work day. It literally hurts. So, I started wearing caps. A friend of mine who is older (and bald from age) told me his wife started rubbing Vitamin E gel on his head every night and his hair started growing back! I intend on trying that as soon as my treatments are over..maybe it'll make it grow faster.

CD5263005 Posts: 376
10/5/10 10:10 A

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RBP - you have said it so well. Didn't want cancer, wouldn't want anyone else to get it but the knowledge that I am stronger than I ever thought possible was a gift. And it changed the perspective that every day is a gift and to reprioritize things.

The hair issue was tough. Who thought bald people were so cold all the time! My hair grew back in grey and really curly, weird. I was ready to accept the grey because it was kind of pretty but after 3 times in one week being referred to as a senior citizen (I was only 47) I got it colored back to my brown shade. 4 years later it's actually straighter than when I started out. Oh well. I got through it. I wish I would have taken more pictures of myself going through this to look back after you come out the other side.

RBP1952's Photo RBP1952 Posts: 933
10/4/10 3:47 P

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As far as hat vs wig vs scarves, I have nothing new to add. The funny thing about losing our hair, eyelashes and eyebrows is how they all fall out. It's kind of like pfuff, there goes a lock and pfuff, there goes another lock. I found it amazing how it fell out.
Moving on to other things, I found that if I could get up and go to work every morning with no hair, no eyelashes or eyebrows, along with no fingernails or toenails (not that anyone would see the toes) there was absolutely nothing that I could not do. There is an inner strength that comes with cancer that a lot of women will never know they possess. I would not wish cancer on anyone, but I wish a lot more women could see they are able to handle more than they think.

When one door closes another opens, but sometimes it's hell in the hallway !!

If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

Anytime you think you can't, you're right!!

4 things you can't recover:
the stone after it's thrown;
the word after it's said;
the occasion after it's missed;
the time after it's passed.


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TWILIGHTNAN's Photo TWILIGHTNAN SparkPoints: (0)
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10/4/10 2:32 P

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Isn't it funny how emotionally attached we are to our hair? I had both breasts removed a month ago and I am happy they are gone but the hair? I CAN'T WAIT FOR IT TO GROW BACK! That said, since my last chemo was Aug. 6th, I do have white fuzz and notice tiny, light baby eyelashes growing in perhaps a stubble of eyebrows. The brows don't bother me, I never had any really, never enough to even pluck. But I know how you feel about the hair and lashes....I feel like an alien!

So I had tons of scarfs and a couple of hats but felt so "Cancery" in them. Without lashes, brows and the fact I quit wearing makeup (why bother?)my face was so fat and round and looked worse in a doorag. I hate having to wear a wig and hate how hot it is especailly in Arizona in the summer with the complication of "Chemopause" but bought one anyway and I feel more normal going out in public. I have totally gotten my money's worth and it makes me feel normal. Don't get a cheapo one, it really makes a difference. If yours makes you feel like an old lady, I agree that you should get it styled. I always wear my hair short and spikey so that's the style I chose and it looks like it's frosted. I have had so many compliments on it from people who thought it was my real hair! I like the color so much that if I start to color my hair again once it grows back I would use it as a reference. Yes my fuzz is totally white now and I may just be thankful to have it grow back than worry about the color.

I was really considering not getting a wig but am so happy I did. I actually have two. The first one was given to me at the "Look Good Feel Better" seminar and it was too puffy and old ladyish so I took it to the wig store where I bought my second one and had it cut. Still not as cute as the other one but a good spare.

I guess we have to take the bad with the good. I haven't shaved my legs since April and if I HAD wanted to put on a bathing suit this summer, no bikini was would have been needed! lol! emoticon

Also...anyone out there thought of buying Rogaine or something to perhaps encourage growth? Maybe it wouldn't work since we're not really 'bald' naturally but I sure would like my fuzz to hurry up!

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GATOR12's Photo GATOR12 Posts: 4,655
10/4/10 1:15 A

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DEE--GLAD YOU GOT SOME INFO TO SORT THRU & THE SUPPORT AND LOVE YOU ALSO DESERVED. HERE'S MORE HUGS AND LOVE SENT YOUR WAY. bRENDA

Brenda


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DEETHEDIETITIAN's Photo DEETHEDIETITIAN Posts: 356
10/2/10 9:15 P

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Thanks so much everyone! Thanks for the encouragement and for the suggestions! I just love this group =)

You know, some days I just want to walk around bald (Or fuzzy since I do have a little bit of growth)... The only reason I don't walk around bald is because it makes others feel uncomfortable.

I'll check out some of the websites you recommended and I think I'm going to stick with scarves ~ As for the eyebrow situation (LOL!) I saw paste on eye brows ~ but again ~ I'm imagining them to be uncomfortable.

Just having a not so great day emotionally ~ Thanks for being here for me

Hugs,
Dee

It is not enough to simply show up. You need to step up for results.... keep on stepping! Dee


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PAT3ONTHEBACK's Photo PAT3ONTHEBACK Posts: 270
10/2/10 5:06 P

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I am different but the same in that I hated the scarves and loved the wig! One similarity seems to shine through--that if we don't like it, for whatever reason, it just is not going to work for us.

I wanted more "fluff" around my face than what the scarves or caps would give me, and I got my wig styled freshly every couple months to keep it nice. The wig place had a stylist who knew how to work with a wig. She would cut it, curl it (very low heat) and spray it to keep it that way.

The itchy part was only satisfied by a good scratch every few hours! I kept (surreptitiously) twisting it around my head little bits to satisfy the itch, so it was probably always a little crooked.

Good luck finding what works for you.

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SWARMSOFLIZARDS's Photo SWARMSOFLIZARDS Posts: 231
10/2/10 1:37 P

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Hi Dee,

I didn't end up wearing any wigs. I went with some cute Pistil hats, and more often, soft cotton caps from softhats.com. They were really comfy and machine washable. I probably wore the plain black one the most, since it could be dressed up or down pretty easily.

I didn't lose all my brows until a few weeks after chemo ended. I shaded in where they would have been for a few weeks until I had some new growth. Same with lashes...I just put a little dark brown eyeshadow along the lashline.


Oh, and if it makes you feel better, my hair started coming back in white/platinum blond, but quickly darkened a bit. My normal color was red, but it came in sort of a light brown for a while. Now, about eight months after chemo ended, it looks like the new growth is finally back to its old color. So it'll probably change!

Meredith

"Imagine that in front of you is a castle. That's where you want to be. But surrounding that castle is a moat, full of piranha. The only way to get into Sexy Abs Castle is to swim across the moat and let the little fish painfully chew off hunks of fat. The real situation is exactly like that, only the swim will take years."
tinyurl.com/piranha-moat


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IVYLASS's Photo IVYLASS Posts: 7,201
10/2/10 11:10 A

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There are lots of pretty scarves out there. I decided not to go with a wig, since I didn't want to pretend I didn't have cancer. I work in an office, and I was able to dress professionally with head scarves.

That said, if your wig doesn't fit...go get another one! The American Cancer Society should have local resources for you to get a flattering wig that fits.

And hang in there...it will grow back. I finished chemo in October of 2008 and stopped wearing the scarves by late January. It looked like I had a crew cut, but everyone I knew was aware of the reason why.

One stumble does not a failure make.

Everything in moderation.


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AZGRANDMA6's Photo AZGRANDMA6 SparkPoints: (0)
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10/2/10 11:07 A

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I understand completely, I hated my wig. I didn't look like myself and it was itchy. I rarely wore it. Most of the time I wore hats. We have a botique type store that caters to women recovering from breast cancer and they had so many hats. My favorites had rhinestones and I had a black one and a red one. I lost my hair in August 3 years ago and I did appreciate the warmth of a hat because I reember that my head did get cold.

Hang in there. It will grow back and it really looks cute when it is coming back and still short. People are more accepting and I think it has helped that a number of well known women like on TV have gone au natural with their bald heads. My hair came back really curly which I enjoyed for about a year.

Good luck.

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PEACEFUL-SPIRIT's Photo PEACEFUL-SPIRIT Posts: 16,620
10/2/10 10:56 A

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How about a new younger looking wig, maybe a fun color. I used wigs.com. I felt pretty in my wig. emoticon

Inga
Co-Leader of Breast Cancer Survivor's & Those Who Care. Days Go By...So Live Your Life.

Motivational Quote:
"You have within you a supply of energy limited only by your ability to discover and develop it. In body, mind and spirit, you are endowed with capabilities far greater than you know, keep reaching for your potential. "




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MEMARE's Photo MEMARE Posts: 2,369
10/2/10 10:41 A

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I just want to offer hugs and support for you. I only had radiation treatments with no chemo so I don't have any like experiences to share.

Let your internal beauty shine and emit through your every pore. Be your sassy self and this too will pass before you realize it. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

~~If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise. ~~ ~Author Unknown

Former Team Leader ~ Rescued Dog Lovers teams.sparkpeople.com/rescueddogs

EST~ GA, USA


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GATOR12's Photo GATOR12 Posts: 4,655
10/2/10 9:48 A

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So totally understand. That is the best thing about being able to unload here, you know others have gone through it, sYmphathize and may have ideas. I did find some cute hats. Like you I hated my wig and usually wore undressy ball caps or nothing but it winter and as my hair started growing back it kinda hurt. So I had a turban like hat, that was really warm. (I lost my hair at end of Oct) You might see what is available. Oh, no, a shopping trip. I don't know if that is too dressy or hot or whatever but an idea!! I was bald Nov, Dec & Jan. By first of March I had 1 inch length about. May be similar for you! Hugs & sympathy, Brenda. THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!

Brenda


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DEETHEDIETITIAN's Photo DEETHEDIETITIAN Posts: 356
10/2/10 9:15 A

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Hello Everyone,

I haven't een "around" much of late because I teach college and I am taking graduate classes as well. Very very busy (and stressed).

Since I've been bald I've been totally okay with not having hair. Its been easier to get ready - all I have to do is throw on a bandana or a baseball cap! I haven't had to pay for a haircut and color/highlight ~ Its been pretty cool (especially since I know it will grow back).

HOWEVER -- that was during the summer when I didn't have to make very many "public appearances" ~ other than with friends and family.

NOW -- I have to go to work and meetings and the holidays are coming up and starting in January I will be doing externship hours for my graduate classes. It is hard to get dressed up and look dressed up wearing a bandana or even one of the head scarves I have.

I do have a wig - but I hate it. It makes me look like an old lady and I it is itchy - I'm constantly pulling at it or tugging at it and I just feel so ... I don't know... fake? I'd rather not wear the wig.

Oh, and on top of that - I have maybe 3 or 4 brow hairs left ~ I'm just feeling -- not so pretty!

Like I said, it didn't bother me all summer but now I am more public and its starting to get to me.

I finished my chemo on Septmeber 7th ~ now I am just waiting for the hair to grow back.

I do have a little hair growth but it is MOSTLY white (ugh, I'm only 44) and I swear every one of the hairs is growing in a different direction!??

Anyway ~ Thank you for listening and I'd appreciate any words of wisdom, ideas etc. on how to manage until my hair grows to a length that I can not worry about head covers. I generally wear my hair shorter as it is (I like the spike/flip - sassy kind of hair style).

Thanks!
Dee

It is not enough to simply show up. You need to step up for results.... keep on stepping! Dee


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