Tuesday, October 09, 2007

hair today, gone tomorrow

When I started my first session of chemotherapy, Doc Smiley assured me that I will definitely lose my hair within 2 weeks of the session. I didn't believe him as I had heard that some other patients may take longer to lose all of their hair and I was hoping my hair follicles were stronger than most (though I really had no basis at all for such blind hope).

Nothing happened for 13 days and I was cautiously hopeful... and then the 14th day came and that morning as I shampooed my hair, it started ... I ran my fingers through my hair and an inordinately large amount of hair strands fell away in my hand ... wah leow! could certainly have done without Doc Smiley's absolutely spot-on predictive powers in this instance :-((

Argggghhhh ... I would sit quietly and shed hair like a golden retriever ... there was hair in my bathtub, hair on the sofa, hair on my bed and on the floor ... that day I also discovered hair in my lunch and dinner ... this would not do ...


And so, to the hairdresser I went ... and now I'm as light-headed as I ever will be :-)

Yes, instead of dragging out the agony of seeing more hair come away each time I run my fingers thru' my hair, I decided to lop it all off. For $10, the deed was cleanly done with a proper hair-shearer at this wig-shop I went to in Lucky Plaza which had curtains that could be drawn around your seat-station for privacy during the shave. A very good idea in my view, as the shock of me seeing myself bald for the 1st time can only be described as 'mouth-gaping horror' - not being tough, toned and tanned enough to be GI Jane, nor demure and pale enough to pass off as an Emei nun - alamak... looked like my bald pate needed cover!

I had bought a wig from the same shop some time back after the Doc had mentioned about the impending hair-loss - and boy oh boy, did I have FUN FUN FUN trying out all kinds of hair-styles then. The wig that I eventually chose was very different from my usual hair-style - had decided I needed an upward change of image to brighten up my day and went with a 'Mod Tai-tai' style - nice loose bangs in a layered style with lovely curls ending at my collar-bone, dyed a lovely medium brown with highlights - what the heck, thought I might as well go the full hog since I was living the 'pseudo tai-tai' lifestyle with my days spent at home (except when the chemo side effects kicked in and I didn't feel like a tai-tai)!

How did my family and friends take to the new hairstyle?
  • hubby loved it.. though he seemed to like touching my bald pate every now and then and has encouraged me to go 'commando' in public (i.e. no cover for that scalp) - what a horrifying thought, never!
  • both my sisters-in- law loved the new style, and my bro-in-law has recommended that I take a picture of this new style and when my hair grows back in future, show my regular hairdresser the pic to get back into this style - hmm, my bro-in-law is quite the impeccable dresser, so I'm now wondering what he thought of my previous hair-styles.. scratching scalp!
  • my close friends loved it, and one whispered in my ear the other day that this is the best hair-style that I've ever had! OK.. point taken, all previous hair-styles of the past few decades will be trashed ... maybe I should change my hairdresser (just joking ... I really like her!)
  • even Doc Smiley liked the new look at the last consult and this sparked off a discussion on the prices of wigs in the market... hmm, can never quite figure out the man - couldn't believe he actually keeps track of such prices :-P
Unfortunately, my chemotherapy drugs affect the normal cells in the body as they go about doing their job of attacking the cancer cells and disrupting their growth. Normal cells which include the cells of the hair follicles thus causing hair loss. And to my horror at first and delight later (upon acceptance of the fact), this included the hair follicles at the pubic area as well - wow, no need to go for bikini-line or brazilian waxing for the time being - save a bundle!

And now as I go through my day, wondering whether and when my hair will grow back (Doc Smiley has promised it would and I'm holding him to that!), getting to grips with the heat of wearing a wig, the impossibility of scratching any itch when a wig is donned (a dead giveaway of a wig, for as one scratches, the bloody thing moves up and down as well!), the constant reminder to myself to grab the wig or a hat before I leave the house (I dread the day when I become so comfortable with my light-headed status that I will conveniently forget, and then wonder who everyone is staring at!), wondering how to shampoo and lather the scalp (since there is no hair to lather - and currently have resorted to using mild Johnson's Baby Shampoo so as not to further dry the scalp) ... I can only offer all these anxieties (big and small) to the Lord, and know that He in his goodness, will provide the right solution at the right time, having so wonderfully provided me with positive emotional support and laughter from all quarters after I went bald!

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
- 1 Peter 5 : verse 6-7 (KJV)

And so, I think it apt (or maybe ironic?) that whilst I lose my hair, I end this post and leave you with these food shots of a lovely 'angel-hair' pasta tossed with asparagus stalks and strips of parma ham which have both been cooked lightly in garlic-infused olive oil and some boursin garlic cheese for a light creamy touch! A couple of good wrist actions with the black pepper grinder and lunch is ready :-)
"angel-light" meal

Angel-hair pasta is easy to cook (2 minutes in boiling water - almost like instant noodles) and is not as heavy on the palate as spaghetti or fettuccine - perfect for those days when I just want a quick meal without too much trouble. Oh and in case you're wondering - asparagus is folate-rich (has one of the B vitamins), has high levels of ready-made glutathione (which is the main antioxidant in cells, helps to detoxify carcinogens and other pollutants, boosts the immune system, helps to form new blood cells and prevent anaemia), and is also a good source of rutin (a type of flavonoid which helps to strengthen capillary walls and improve blood circulation) - sourced from various extracts of the book Hot Potatoes & Cool Bananas (Healthy Food - What, Why & How) by Anne Perrera, Carolyn Lister & Lesley Hedges (you can look for it in Popular Bookstores, which was where I bought the same).
light & healthy

With that, bon appetit to a healthy lunch :-)

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Blogger pfong said...


Sounds like you new do is a big hit!

10/10/2007 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

so far it's been getting rav reviews - making me wonder about my previous hairstyles... haha!

10/11/2007 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous thess said...

Your courage is inspiring. It isn't a coincidence that I hopped your blog. A dear family member is to get his first chemo treatment next week and strength is what he and us his family need right now.
You are a source of that...I thank you.

by the way, you have an amazing well photographed and written blog...I think I will always visit you :-)

regards from Holland...God Bless you and your family.

10/12/2007 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Strange that I found your blog today and read your most recent entry...my mom is going for her first chemo session next week (diagnosed with breast cancer) and has been going through a really hard time with the idea of losing her hair. This entry made me smile in hope that she too will find the strength (and a little bit of humor) in her situation. Thank you for such a positive and hopeful entry! I will definitely stop by to read in the future!

10/13/2007 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger samshiki said...

I happened to come to your site through web links. Do stay strong. There are many people who care and love you. I am a volunteer for Children Cancer Foundation and through these years, I find myself amazed many times at the strength and courage of the kids who manage the crisis so calmly and with great strength. If they can do it, you definitely can. All the best!

10/16/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first visit to your blog as well. Seems everything happens for a reason. Love your blogging voice and sense of humor.
You'll be in my prayers.

10/17/2007 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, I really thank God that i stumbled upon your blog...my pastor's wife has just been miraculously healed of cancer!! My pastor taught one friday about the differences between the "FACTS" and the "TRUTH". sometimes, facts in intimidate us (eg. presence of cancer) but, regardless of the FACTS, the TRUTH is that, our God is a HEALER!! So lets just hold on to the Promises He has given us in His Word!

God healed my Pastor's wife, though you may not see your healing yet, it is coming down the road!!!

The doctors were all stunned at her healing because it was exactly what they proclaimed impossible. but, it happened because of the Truth that our God is a healer!

"ye shall hear the truth and the truth shall make you free"

God bless! I prayed for you tonight...

10/17/2007 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@thess - I'm sad to hear that your family member will be going for chemo - cancer is just so prevalent nowadays - please tell him to remain positive and build up his health by eating well, it's so important that we make ourselves mentally and physically strong to overcome the treatments!

@deb - again, it saddens me to hear the news about your mum - do be strong for her and of course, make her laugh as much as possible - with love and laughter, even the most horrible of situations does not appear that bad - and oh yes, I have spoken to quite a number of people (breast cancer survivors and health care professionals) and they all confirm that the hair will grow back - so tell her to look forward to it just as I'm looking forward to mine :-)

@samshiki - you are definitely an inspiration, being a volunteer for Children Cancer Foundation - my heart wrenches to hear of kids with cancer - they are so young to have to endure such pain! Keep up the good work!

@maryann - thanks for dropping by :-) appreciate your kind thoughts and prayer!

@anonymous - what a wonderful story... yes, the Lord is the greatest of all healers and we shall put our trust in Him!

10/17/2007 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Hair replacement said...

If you want scalp massage to be effective you need to do it at least twice a day. Place your fingertips on your scalp and move the scalp in two directions - forward and back and in a circulating motion. Do not rub or scratch your scalp to avoid breaking off hair or damaging your scalp.
Blood circulation is one hair loss cause that you can work on. By doing some of the recommend techniques listed here you can help yourself to have better hair for a longer time.

10/28/2007 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous ByHisGrace said...

Thank you for your boldness in acknowledging our living and mighty God. I believe in no coincidence, stumbled accross at your blogger-site refreshes my weary heart. I pray that the Power that resurrected our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, work in and through you and that your healing process happen speedily to His glory. VP

3/02/2010 11:58:00 AM  

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