Sunday, 13 December 2015

Hair Loss.

I've been looking at wigs online ever since the revelation that there is a very high chance that my hair will fall out. There is a lot about wigs to learn as my current knowledge is zero. I barely spend much time on my own hair and now I need to learn about taking care of fake hair.

The selection online is overwhelming by the amount of selection. As someone who struggles picking out toilet paper at the grocery store due to the amount of choice, I quickly become overwhelmed. There are so many beautiful choices! Do I go long, short, medium? And then colours? Fun colours? Neutral colours? Gah!

I, my budget, eventually narrowed it down to synthetic hair vs real hair as synthetic is easier to take care of, is significantly cheaper, and lasts for about 6 months if taken care of properly which is about the span of time I'll need.

I was too overwhelmed so last week when Amy was here, she sat me down and forced me to narrow it down to a few favorites. Then we looked at the products for upkeep and became overwhelmed once again. Most of the cancer sites are not as helpful as you would think, mostly want you to give you their hair or sell you products. The other information comes from cos-play where people attach them over their actual hair which doesn't help with scalp irritation or adhesion. Thankfully, my pottery friend from Ont has a contact with someone with alopechia who was willing to answer all of my frantic questions about wig combs, caps, shampoos, and sprays...there is so much to learn.

In the end, after narrowing down to our top picks, Friday, with Amy visiting again (she is better at the non-procrastination of scary things than me), I took the plunge and bought my first wigs. Ahhhhhhh.  One short, one long. I was convinced not to wait until my hair actually falls out completely as then I would have to wait for shipping and it might be better psychologically to have something prepared nearby for when it happens. I have no idea how much I'll wear them on a day-to-day basis or how much I'll just wear a toque since it's winter but they'll be nice to have and they look so pretty online.

After Friday, I was feeling psychologically ready for when the change happened. Looking at it as a chance to wear unnaturally long hair or try new hairstyles and whatnot. I figured before it falls out, I'll cut it short and maybe colour it a fun colour so I don't have giant chunks coming out at once. However, that plan is a bit hard to do while I'm still in the hospital.

My plan was going well until Mom washed my hair this afternoon - which felt amazing as it had been about a week. However, when I was combing it out afterward, it seemed like so much more than usual fell out. And it keeps falling out more than I would expect. I don't know if it's because while in the hospital I mostly keep my hair in a ponytail during the day so more hair falls out when it's down but it seems like it won't stop dropping. It's also quite, very much, likely that I'm just watching for it and am paranoid so I'm reading into it more than I normally would. 

I though I was ready! But I also thought I had more time. The side-effect booklets said 3-6 weeks since the first dose of chemo and it's only been day 11. I'm not prepared.

But why this is freaking me out emotionally more than spending several days in the IMCU/ICU, I have no idea. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that once I lose my hair, I'm officially part of the cancer club. Or that it's a more visible sign of the change happening. While being in the IMCU/ICU was indeed scary as they worked to stabilize me, it was all a process of which I've already been. I've been on constant monitoring machines, I've been so physically weak that I've needed to use a bedpan instead of going to the washroom, I've been woken up by screaming roommates before. Not that it makes it less of an event, it was just a familiar event that I knew I endured once and could a second time around.

None of this is familiar and I think that's what makes it so terrifying. And while looking at pretty wigs online was fun, having a strands upon strands of hair fall out when I run my fingers through my hair is not enjoyable. These transition times of unknowing are always the worst and I think I'm starting a new transition time into the unknown. At least I'll have little strands of hair following along, keeping me company through the entire process. 

The next step in all of this is going to learn how to draw on eyebrows. I can barely draw a straight line for eyeliner. Once I get back to regular wifi, I have a lot of youtube videos to watch. I may end up looking very surprised a lot of the time. Or villainous. Perhaps quizzical the entire day.


Dave Malo said...

Alley, I found the hardest part in my journey with cancer was admitting to myself that I was one of "them." A member of the cancer club. I even called it that. It's the club no one wants to belong to. It's a huge club and fortunately filled with some amazing people willing to give you strength and support and draw from you when they need to. Like you said, with Cancer comes hope. The resources are ENORMOUS! You are a very resilient woman with an amazing life force and you will prevail. Another bump in the road.
...............I'm thinking black hair with blue streaks. No?

LittleM said...

A couple years ago I got really into watching Talia Joy's youtube videos. A 12ish year old with cancer.. she got really into makeup to deal with it and was on Ellen and everything. She had spirit.. At the time I was watching it more as a kinship of searching for coping mechanisms. I hope you might find something in her too. Something about when its a young child I find always helps me more.

Alley said...

I remember her too, she did have spirit and influenced a lot of people. Thanks for the reminder. I'll look up some of her videos as I'm terrible with makeup, perhaps she has a video on how to do eyebrows.