• Do you feel embarrassed or self conscious when you go out?

    Asked by Leuky on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Do you feel embarrassed or self conscious when you go out?

    I have gotten to where I don't even want to go out in public now. I've lost my hair and lost weight to the point of looking like a sick person. I just can't handle the looks.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      My reason is exactly the opposite, @Leuky. I keep packing on the pounds ... I'm at least 40 lbs HEAVIER than when I was diagnosed ... and I was already concerned about gaining weight (it is the reason I went to the doctor to start with and why my cancer was discovered).

      I detest the extra pounds, but they seem to love me - they refuse to budge, no matter what I eat, how much I eat, or how much I exercise. It makes me extremely self-conscious.

      14 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Wigs. Scarves. Hats. Ball caps. Hoodies. Flair hair visors (I have one). Sunglasses. You need not go "full cancer" in public. And, going out is no reason to feel even worse! In any event, who cares about the stares? Will you ever see them again? Probably not, so why let that bother you? I first looked sick in 2008, for good grief! Today, 10 years into this and 3+ years post-transplant, I still wear mask and gloves in public. Am I the freak?

      No. But people tend to think that I am radioactive and move away. That is a favor, since I am immune compromised.

      I worked 10 hour night shifts as an emergency first responder. When I spoke with those who were feeling terminally sorry for themselves, I would take my ball cap off, revealing my hairless head. "See this?" I would ask? "You think you have problems? I'm in chemotherapy and I don't know if I'm going to make it. I sure wish I had your problems."

      You should have seen the looks then! I reset some perspectives. But, I also made it. Now, as to that flair hair visor, when I received compliments on my radical "hair", I would say, "Thank you! Let's see how it looks" - then I would pull the visor off and look at it. We all would then laugh because...

      ...humor heals.

      Rather, have some confidence! Even consider some counseling or other encouragement if you think it would help.

      14 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      @LiveWithCancer Being on high-to medium dose prednisone for three years now, I still have the "moon face" and must shop for shirts in the maternity department. Muscles are M.I.A. I try, to lose the fat, but the steroids seem to prevent it. Ugh.

      14 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I had to go around with stitches hanging out of my nose, mouth, upper lip-side of my nose, and my nose pointed at my right eye. They cut out part of my lip, so that was swelled up like a weird botox treatment. Then the stitches came out, but my face became red from radiation.

      I had a few weeks to gain a minimum of 20 lbs to survive radiation treatment-they would not start treatment unless I gained the weight. I'm short- it all went to my belly-and I have to maintain it in cause I start 'failure to thrive-- sudden unexplained weight loss that kills many head cancer patients, especially those that had radiation. i have red eye lids from radiation- I had one sinus infection after another. The ENT wanted to put drainage shunts to drain my sinuses and ears.

      I was hospitalized after radiation. I couldn't get the spoon in my mouth, because my mouth was too little.

      So with this shape and age-76-- i look homeless. My family goes with me to new places so nobody calls the cops on me. Skinny-I was thin before I got pregnant- for some reason, I lost 10 lbs with each baby-5 pregnancies--50 lbs--I ate and ate. and one day an old Jewish woman asked me what camp I had been in.

      My face looks pretty nice- my nose points down--I can get a spoon in my mouth- only my eyelids are red. Hey, they wanted to remove-skin-flesh, nose, eye, upper and lower sinus, so I would have had an eye patch. They wanted to replace everything with steel and plastic skin. You know something, my smile isn't that pretty, but I can smile and eat.

      14 days ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I wore hats and scarves most of the time. But if I was at home, then I just was bald. And my future (at the time) son in law would come over and I would scramble around for a bat.
      I think the difficulty with hair loss is now everyone can tell you are sick. I bought a few pretty cotton scarves to go out with and .matched them to my outfits.
      A nice thing happened to me when wearing a scarf. We had gone to a local restaurant as one of our first outings besides the hospital or doctors office. We had a nice dinner and the waitress came over and said that someone had picked up our bill. It was just so nice.
      Being bald is not easy. God b less you on this part of the journey.

      13 days ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I see a mistake on my post. It should say I would scramble around for a hat! Not Bat! My son in law is a great guy. Lol!

      13 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I looked like a starving person from a third world Country at my worst. I lost 50#, lost my hair, you could see the cracks in my skull and I just looked bad. People did look twice or three times at me. I just ignored them, but my Nephew who was about 8 or 9 at the time didn't like it at all. I once let him draw eyes on the back of my head with a marker. He got a kick out of that.

      13 days ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      I got a cute wig for when I called on clients or went to church - the rest of the time, I wore a head scarf for comfort. I lost some weight, but I wore lightweight jackets because I was always cold so that disguised my weight loss.

      I always put on my makeup - no matter how tired I was - it was my way of telling cancer that it wasn't going to keep me homebound or away from doing what I wanted to do.

      There is no need to be embarrassed about the side effects of our treatment - I almost believe that it's part of job as a cancer patient to show ourselves to help educate others.

      Best wishes that you'll find peace with your temporary appearance.

      13 days ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      Even though I worked through treatment, I did feel self conscious due to the hair loss. I wore hats from Sept 2012 - end of March 2013. I didn't have much hair at that point, but I was soooooo tired of wearing hats....

      13 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      right ear- right ear-not right eye-NOSE POINTED TO FIGHT EAR

      13 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      cllinda, HAHAHAHAHA! I was kinda hoping it really WAS a bat!

      13 days ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I did at first but I finally got to the point I didn’t worry about it. I have a pretty nasty scar and radiation changes around my neck. Sometimes in the right light it looks like it is bleeding, but it’s not. Every now and then someone will make a comment and it reminds me how bad it looks. Most of the time I forget about it. At first I lost a lot of weight and my clothes hung off of me and people would say go buy some clothes that fit. Then came the steroids and the weight gain, the moon face and buffalo hump. I should have kept the clothes that were falling off of me. They would fit now.

      13 days ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I did not have to worry about embarassment in public because when I was bald I was also too weak to go out in public,

      12 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I lost the hair just in the back of my head after it had grown back after losing it from chemo. It looked odd. From the crown of my head down my neck, nothing. I was in line at a store and a gruffy crotchety old man behind me wanted to know why in the world did I cut my hair like that? A told him that I didn't cut it, the cancer did it for me. He shut up pretty quickly.

      12 days ago
    • pennyo's Avatar
      pennyo

      I'm having chemo #1 this week. When my hair falls out, and you know it will, I'll wear a hat. But the way I look at it, if I choose to go bald... I will. This is a badge of honor!! We fight hard to find our way through cancer and no one is going to make me feel less than I am. Go out and be proud of who you are and what you've accomplished.

      12 days ago

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