• Getting head shaved?

    Asked by nancyjac on Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Getting head shaved?

    So the oncologist tells me my hair will definitely fall out, probably 2-3 weeks after first chemo, which was 10 days ago. At first I wanted to get my head shaved before it started falling out, and I have an appointment for that next Wednesday. But now I think I am having some second thoughts. Didn't seem like a big deal initially, but now it's like it represents...I don't know.....giving in or something. Did any of you have it saved before it fell out? How did it feel at first, both physically and emotionally?

    23 Answers from the Community

    23 answers
    • sunspirit's Avatar
      sunspirit

      I had my first chemo 11/30 and my hair started falling out Tuesday. There was just enough falling out that I knew it had started. What surprised me was how much came out Wednesday when I took a shower. Handfuls were coming out. I had already decided to shave it off once it started to go. I've heard that it feels empowering to decide to shave rather than watch with distress as it comes out. I didn't like seeing the handfuls that were coming out and it felt much better when I cut it short and wore a wig. I was going to shave it but didn't have enough time before work.

      People who know I'm going through chemo say the wig looks great and it just looks like I got a new haircut. People who don't know just tell me they like my new hairstyle.

      A friend suggested putting some of my hair out in the woods for the birds to use for nests, which I did.

      I'm glad I cut it off. I haven't shaved my head yet because I like the cushion of my hair between me and the wig. I need to get one of those wig caps.

      Are you planning on wearing a wig or scarves & hats? I thought I would just go with scarves and hats but the medical center has free wigs and so did a local medical supply store, which is where I got the wig I ended up using. I'm going to take another wig in for styleing.

      Good luck with your decision. let me know how it goes for you.

      over 5 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar
      Cindy

      Mine started falling out about 2-3 weeks after my first chemo. I didn't have mine cut all off until after it started falling out. I had long hair and it would bunch up. When I ran my fingers through my hair it would it come out in bunches. My husband saw me looking sad repeatedly running my fingers through my hair and pulling out clumps of hair and saving it in a box. I didn't want to give in at first but he convinced me to have him cut it all off and throw away the hair I collected. I cried a little when he cut it off but afterwards accepted the loss and started wearing hats or wigs outside of the house. I wore a blonde wig which many people assumed it was my own hair that I dyed which was kinda fun trying a different look. I missed how my long hair felt on my neck and shoulders. So, I crocheted a hat and braided some dreadlocks on it which helped. Physically, the chemo caused the roots of my hair to feel very sensitive (before and after cutting it all off) and even hurt for a while even moving my head on my pillow. Your side affects may not be the same since it varies by the type of chemo and by person.

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I have bought a wig, but my thinking is that for the most part I will just wear hats, and only use the wig for social meetings. Somebody suggested to me to use a satin pillow case because they cause less friction than cotton.

      over 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar
      susie81610

      I have been through chemo 3 1/2 times was told I would lose my hair and I still have it. Got it cut short when they told me that but didn't shave it thank goodness. I can tell it is thinning but once it gets to going bald then I will shave it. But make sure its really coming out first.
      Good Luck and remember it will always grow back.

      over 5 years ago
    • foneheads' Avatar
      foneheads

      When I was first dx with breast cancer, my hair was long; all the way down to my lower back. I have had that length of hair for years and was devastated that I was going to lose it. I started off with a short hair cut so when it did fall out, it wouldn't be such a mess or so shocking to myself and my kids. On day 13 after the first chemo, it started coming out in handfuls. I didn't shave it off until the next day after I had stressed out myself enough. I became paranoid that a big clump was going to fall out while I was working (I am a sign language interpreter so I always have someone looking at me). So on day 14 I shaved it. It was already thin enough by that time that I wasn't very confident in leaving it anyway. I do have one wig that I wear to work and receive compliments on it all the time. No one can tell its a wig. It does itch my head, though, so the minute I get home it comes off. I use hats both soft and crocheted.
      Many people think its empowering to choose to shave it off before it comes out where I just thought it was getting to be a pain to deal with all of the loose hair everywhere! As others have said, it will grow back. I have one more treatment left so I am still queen of the baldies, but I look forward to the day I have my own hair back. Good luck!

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Thanks foneheads, you response was especially helpful to me. I use to have really long hair but decided to keep it shorter several years ago. Today is day 11 of my first chemo cycle and nothing falling out yet, but based on what you and others have said, once it starts, it usually goes in bunches. So this coming Wednesday (the day I have scheduled my head shave) will be day 15 of my first chemo cycle, so the timing seems just about right. I don't see it as an empowerment either, just a pain in the butt, and would rather be done with it all at once than to spend several days with hair falling out everywhere only to end up with the same result in the end.

      over 5 years ago
    • mysecondchance's Avatar
      mysecondchance

      My hair began falling out 13 days after my first chemo infusion. I took it in stride at first but when I began to see large amounts on my pillow or on the backs of chairs it grossed me out. I washed my hair in the kitchen sink so I could see how much was falling out and I knew it was time. I cried at that point and told my mom it was hard. I had spoken to my hairdresser about shaving my head when the time came and she said she would come to my home. I called her and a few days later she came and shaved my head. I was fine. We took pictures and I texted them to my family ad friends. My mom told me I had a beautiful shaped head and began referring to me as her mannequin.

      I had purchased cotton scarves to wear but ended up not covering my head unless it was really cold when I went out. It never was a problem for me, I wasn't embarrassed and I never saw anyone stare or do a double-take; even children. I kept it shaved (when I had hair) until my treatment ended.

      At my first visit with my gyn/onc/surgeon, he told me I would look different the next time I saw him. I looked at him and he said, your hair will fall out. I told him I didn't care if I was bald for the rest of my life as long as I stayed alive.

      That has been the theme of my journey or my bottom line as I call it. I am alive. Everything else I can handle.

      over 5 years ago
    • RebeccaLynn25's Avatar
      RebeccaLynn25

      For me my hair falling out was worse than the treatment. I had to cut 16 inches off my hair and I would just cry at the thought of losing my hair because it was just a horrifying thought. It was like, it's bad enough that I have cancer, and now I'm not going to feel like a woman because I don't have hair. I didn't want to shave it, so I let my mom cut it really short. I don't know how you feel about religion, but I prayed for God to give me the strength to lose my hair gracefully. So when it started falling out, I was ok. I didn't cry, I would take a shower and just started pulling my hair out. I would look at myself in the mirror and laugh because I had the worst comb overs I've ever seen! Eventually I did shave it, but I waited until I was ready. You have to mourn these things in order to come to terms with them. I am very bald and very pasty! My boyfriend calls me Powder like from the movie lol. Most of the time when I'm out, I wear a wig, but at home I wear a hat. I have the attitude of, it is what it is, there's nothing I can do it about it, so I'm just going to look at the positives and keep living my life. I just keep thinking that there's worse things out there. Besides I'm really excited to see if my hair gets curlier or is straight, and what color it comes back in!

      over 5 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar
      mspinkladybug

      Hair is soooooooooooo over rated hair does not make us us. I LOVED being bald. losing ones hair at first is tramatic but take controll of your disease and shave it you want but know this once your hair falls out it means the healing is begining the drugs are doing their job of kicking cancers butt

      over 5 years ago
    • Chris' Avatar
      Chris

      I was told I would loose my hair by my second treatment. First treatment I had a bunch from my crown in the back fall out - I had a wig party before my second treatment and some of my dear friends and family helped me pick one out - it was like a celebration..... I came home and after having long hair all my life I cut it off just below my chin. In the end - I did not loose my hair...

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      I've lost about 80+% of my hair at this point.

      It started falling out on day 16 - and it was literally like a switch had been thrown. That morning, my hair seemed firmly rooted in my head. That afternoon, I could grasp a small amount of hair, and yank it right out. No pain... It just came out in clumps. Crazy.... The browns came out before the greys. I think that is because grey hair is slower growing than brown hair. Most of my remaining 10-20% of my hair is grey.

      So - what did I do? Before I started chemo, I cut my mid-back length hair to a faux hawk. I donated my hair to locks of love. I read that hair with grey is usually sold to support their work. So, I felt good about doing that. I used some hard core gel, and I had fun with it. A couple of weeks later, my hair was a bit too long for the faux hawk and I knew the falling out phase was imminent, so I buzz cut it to about 1/2 inch.

      The evening after it started falling out, I buzz cut it to about 2 mm.... And that was that.

      At first, I got a lot of positive feedback for the shape of my head and so on... Back then, I had eye brows and eye lashes. Now, I have about 10% of my eye brows and lashes remaining (probably less)... and I guess I miss my eye brows and lashes the most. I feel like their absence is what makes me most look like a cancer patient.

      The other thing I find kind of annoying is that when I have a hot flash... The post-hot flash leaves me with a very cold head. I don't really care for that feeling at all.

      What do I wear? I have a few kinds of hats. I like cycling caps, which have a small bill and can be made out of really soft material without scratchy seams... I like cycling hats, which are made out of very thin material... I like crocheted hats, which can have a hug cute factor if they have the right shape and color scheme. Those are my three main styles. I think finding styles that feel good on your head PLUS give you a feeling of at least a small cute factor is important.

      Good luck... It's really not as bad as it seems... I am sick of being hairless. I miss my lady-bits hair, to be honest. I also really really really miss my NOSE HAIR!!!! I have zero warning before my nose is unsuitable for public viewing. I must carry tissues in my pockets at all times. That there is seriously annoying. And sometimes -= like a toddler -- I don't seem to notice that I have a droplet right there for everyone to see.... until someone hands me a box of tissues that is.

      I hope you have a peaceful day.

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Thanks for that info leepen. I hadn't even considered hair other than head hair. I wear glasses so my eyelashes don't really stand out anyway and I guess I could always pencil in eyebrows, but the nose hair thing...guess not much you can do there but thanks for the heads up on that. What about other facial hair? I tend to get some upper lip and chin hairs. I wouldn't mind losing those at all.

      over 5 years ago
    • grams2jc's Avatar
      grams2jc

      No hair anywhere. Funny how I didn't miss my leg hair, underarm hair, little mustache, arm hair. But like Leepen I really missed my eyelashes, brows and nose hair. Hair loss was traumatic for me and now that it is back I am trying to be happy to have it even though the dark color and crazy curl drive me nuts!!

      Good luck to you!

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      I'm pretty close to fuzz free on my face.... Just a wee bit left. I don't have a hair problem so much on my face, with the exception of the probably 1-2 hairs per week on my chin... Annoying buggers, those. Anyway... After my head hair fell out, no chin hairs grew back after plucking. I imagine there'll be a phase during which I'll be SHOCKED - I say SHOCKED by a sudden appearance of a 5 mm long chin hair! Ha ha.... Those with the occasional chin hair probably know exactly what I mean!

      over 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar
      susie81610

      Those darn chin hairs. lol Funny thing I remember my Grandma having them all the time I have always said she left them to me when she passed.
      I still have not lost my hair but this time around it is getting thin and starting to come out but not in clumps yet. Dr said I shouldn't lose it but I haven't gotten a hair cut and it looks like I have so I know whats coming. Go in today for my bloodwork for chemo tomorrow so I'm trying to get all my christmas stuff finished in case it gets me and puts me down a day or two?
      Leepenn let me know when that big hair shows up on your chin we will call guiness world records and get you in there?hehe
      Have a great day everyone!

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Good luck for tomorrow Susie. My next one isn't until 12/28 so I'm not making any New Year's plans.

      over 5 years ago
    • cincygirl's Avatar
      cincygirl

      I can tell you that the dread of losing my hair was actually worse than losing it. About 13 days after my first treatment my scalp felt really tender and my hair just looked horrid-dull, thin-just bad. I was so worried it would fall out while I was grocery shopping or something. So my dear husband fixed me a cocktail, took out the clippers, and cut it all off. It certainly took a few days to emotionally process the fact that I no longer had hair. After a while though, it was kind of nice to get up in the morning and be able to get ready for the day in under 20 minutes :) I wore some beautiful scarves and earrings and just made the best of it. I was lucky and didn't loose my eyelashes/eyebrows until after my last chemo cycle-and then they grew back really quickly. Good luck-

      over 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      i lost mine twice, once in chemo, it all started falling out all of a sudden, I went and had it buzzed. The girl cutting it thought I was kidding and spent thirty minutes clipping and trying to make it look like something, then asked "how does that look"? I said, fine, now buzz it, she was shocked. Lost it again during radiation, only lost it in the back of my head, I looked goofy this time. It affected me worse that time because people thought I had my hair cut that way. I just cut it short again. I know it's different for men that women, but I still say it's just hair, it will grow back. Part of the process. Good luck to you!!

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Well mine went just like clockwork. I first noticed some coming out Monday night (day 13). Then yesterday it was still just maybe a dozen strands or so when ever I ran the brush or hand through my hair. Then this morning in the shower it came out in gobs. So I had it shaved this afternoon. Feels very strange right now but I'm sure I'll get use to it pretty quickly.

      over 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar
      susie81610

      Well Nancy I may be right behind you. My scalp is sore and very itchy and my hair has thinned loosing more this time so must be the 3 chemos? Just going to try and hold on to it until after Christmas then I don't care what happens. Is this normal scalp feeling?
      Chemo went ok today I get sick1/2 way through one of the chemos I dont know how to spell it so we are going to try a different way the next time i go which is jan11. need to go lay down will talk soon.
      hugs susie

      over 5 years ago
    • catlady's Avatar
      catlady

      nancyjac, it may end up feeling like a bigger deal than you think it will when the time comes, partly because it's just hard for people, especially women, to lose their hair so suddenly, but also because you're going through lots of chemical changes in your body with the treatments. Don't be surprised if things in general catch your emotions off guard. I found it more upsetting than I expected, but I was kind of a raw nerve about that point anyway.

      I had cut my hair short (pixie style) before starting chemo. Right on schedule after my second chemo (which I got every two weeks), the hair started coming out all over. I had my husband buzz it short but didn't want to shave it smooth in the theory that there would just be tiny pieces of hair falling all over instead of slightly longer hair I could clean up better. My hair fell out back and bottom first, then when it grew back, it also grew in back and bottom first. I had male pattern baldness for a while!

      You mentioned using a satin pillowcase. I tried that and it did help, although my head got a little cold. I had a lot of scalp tenderness while the hair was letting loose.

      Another weird but maybe useful tip: when your hair is coming out a lot and making a mess, you can try a lint roller (the kind with sticky sheets) to pick up the hair that's about to come out. It doesn't hurt, and it might prevent a few hair tumbleweeds around the house.

      Let us know how it goes in a few days.

      over 5 years ago
    • kathie's Avatar
      kathie

      getting my head shaved by choice gave me back a sense of empowerment. I chose to do it, chemo didn't take it from me! I wore a wig to the office for the comfort of my workmates, and took it off as soon as I got out of the office, usually in the car on the way home!

      over 4 years ago
    • dpowell296117's Avatar
      dpowell296117

      I opted to go to my hair dresser and get a close shave not bald. I didn't want to see hair falling out. I felt better about doing it that way. I then wore scarves ,as wigs are so hot.

      over 2 years ago

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