Today I am giving a huge shout-out and a huge hug to a person I know who has just finished an intense round of chemo treatments and is dealing with the loss of their hair.
This person is showing so much courage and positive thinking in their intense and aggressive fight with cancer. This person also happens to be the third person I have known to lose their hair during chemo and I totally get why this stage is so traumatic: hair loss makes the cancer obvious and visible to others.
From talking to these people about experiencing their hair loss, the first instinct is denial. Each person tells themselves it will not happen to them and then they want to hold on to every strand of hair they have. Our society happens to see hair as health. In fact, lots of hair is equivalent to good health and vitality.
So when your hair starts to fall out in clumps from chemotherapy, most people, men and women alike, want to start wearing a wig. The women's wigs are really nice but the men's wigs have a really long way to go in looking like real hair. Instead, I think the men should go for it and just shave their heads. It's a very Steve Harvey/Bruce Willis look (Harvey and Willis are not cancer patients just to clarify) and I think most women think it's sexy.
Plus there is something empowering about taking the initiative to decide to shave your head when your hair is falling out or when you are facing cancer in general. This exceptional person I am thinking of today now just takes his hat off and shows you right away what is going on and then continues to talk about the positive things he is doing while receiving treatments.
Chemotherapy drugs are super powerful medications that attack rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these same drugs also attack other rapidly growing cells in your body, particularly those in your hair roots.
But the good news is that hair loss is temporary. It's going to grow back, no doubt about that. It may be a different color and it may be a different texture, but it will be hair and it will be yours.
Of course it is easy for me to say what looks good because I am not a cancer patient and am not experiencing the turmoil of cancer's life and death decisions. I have the luxury of standing back and saying this is what I would do if I were losing my hair. If it were actually happening to me, I probably would feel distraught and very scared.
And so I salute all cancer patients who are in the hair loss phase of their treatment. May you continue to be brave, strong and resilient in your battle for wellness.
We are with you!