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I'm Molting

Well, it's finally happening. I'm losing my hair. Two weeks to the day from my first chemo.

I had some advance warning, at least. I started losing hair on Monday, but not from my head. And as advertised, it does come out in clumps. Then Tuesday underarm hair started to go, and I think maybe the legs (though its hard to tell, since my legs are kind of sparse and patchy anyway).

Then today (Thursday) the head hair. I had noticed that hairs were coming out three at a time from the back left side of my head. So naturally I procrastinated taking a shower today until I really had no choice but to shower or go to bed without one, because I had a feeling that it would be clumps of head hair in the shower and, well, I wanted to put that off.

And, indeed, it was clumps of head hair in the shower tonight. And not just from the back left side. From all over. Clumps and clumps and clumps. Handful after handful. I must have spent an hour or more in the shower pulling my hair from my head and rolling it up into golf ball size balls -- all the while intermitently crying and thinking about what to write in this journal (because what else can you do?) Not that any of this is what I thought in the shower, mind you...

I started to lose count of the golf balls around number 5, but I'm pretty sure there were between 8 and 10 of them altogether, until I decided it was time to stop because I was too tired to stand there and pull my hair out any more.

There is still hair left on my head. Not much on the top, but a little, with more hair on the sides. I look like I have male pattern balding and am at the little wisps on top and comb-over stage. If I could have pulled it all out, I would have -- there was certainly still more hair that was coming out with every hand through my hair -- but as I said, I was tired.

My parents are down at their condo on the Central Coast, and as I suspected, I'm just as glad I'm here pulling my hair out by myself. I'm not ready for anyone to see me. When my Mom comes back on Wednesday she can help me shave the rest of it off (as I expect there will only be wisps left by then). Mind you, if she were here now I think I'd have her help me shave it all tomorrow. I don't see any reason to prolong this. (Not least because pulling hair out in the shower is hard work, and messy!)

As I was warned, the hair does come out in clumps. But it doesn't clear whole patches at a time. Instead, the clump that comes out is interspersed with hair that stays put, so it's severely thinning the hair, but not clearing whole areas of scalp at once. Which is kind of too bad -- it would be easier if I could just clear the head systematically, I think. And it's not like I'm trying to preserve anything for longer -- it's hat time regardless of whether anything is left or not.

However, it doesn't hurt. The hair just comes out -- I don't feel anything when it does. The top back of my hair, or rather scalp, was a little sore today when my hair was pulled/pressed the wrong way, but otherwise even that didn't hurt (and presumably when there is no hair left there that won't hurt anymore, as there will be no hair to pull/press the wrong way...)

One thing that definitely helped -- in addition to my hair being short now (that was a really smart move) -- is that my hair is very dark, and I still don't think of my hair as being dark because for all these years I've mainly seen the ends of my long hair which were much lighter (having been exposed to the sun and elements for many more years than the hair at the top of my head) and also just generally my internal image of my hair is kind of fixed at around 4th or 5th grade, when my hair was lighter all over. So as I was pulling these short dark handfuls of hair out, it just didn't look like my hair. At least for me, pulling someone else's hair out of my head is easier than pulling out my own ;-)

So tomorrow I break out the buffs and the hats (tonight I wear a soft pink brimless knit cap with sequins scattered about that will never be seen in public ;-), and get on with becoming bald. Joan (of the half a million dollar hair cut) says it is liberating to go bald, and that everyone should experience it at least once in their lives. I'm thinking that the being bald might be liberating, but the going part is messy and I'll be glad when it is over.

In any case, liberating or not, somehow I doubt I will look as good as my cousin Linus did with no hair...

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
hrj
Oct. 28th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
*sigh* It's one thing to know it's going to happen and another thing for it to actually start.
xrian
Oct. 28th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
{hugs}

The fingers have been busy re-working your burgundy hat so it doesn't Looki Stupid(tm). The teal colored one is started -- I'm trying to make it look Cool and Fun without looking like a court jester's hat......

P.S. The icon is one of the silliest details I've ever seen in a period painting. I ran across it when putting together my "Field Guide to the Saints" class. Lorenzo Lotto painted the Virgin Mary with a bunch of saints including St. Lucy, and down by her feet is this, her defining attribute -- a pair of eyes in a dish.

Either that, or he was abducted by UFOs at some point in his life.
klwilliams
Feb. 4th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
Hi. Every email address for you that I got from friends has bounced, so I'm trying this. Let's do lunch or a movie or something. Go ahead and respond to this and I'll get it.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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