Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's happening

My hair started falling out last week. It was just a little bit at a time. Really, not much more than I think most people who brush their hair lose every day. (If only I was a hair brusher, to be able to relate. But alas, I am not.)

Tuesday and Wednesday were no big deal. It was just a little bit. Maybe half of what's showing on my hand in that first shot.

Thursday. ... Thursday was sort of a big deal. I ran my hands through my hair in the shower and lost an entire curl in the palm of my left hand. I stared at it, then closed my fist around it while I concentrated on breathing... And then I opened my eyes, and I opened my fist, and let that little ringlet wash down the drain, and then I cried. And cried. And cried. And cried. And yelled about the injustice of it all, and pounded my hands on the walls of my shower until my fists and my shoulders started to hurt. I stood there, sobbing, with my head against the shower wall, while the water ran from hot to cold, and until my numb legs were screaming  that they couldn't hold my weight anymore. And then I got out of the shower, stumbled into the kitchen for an Ativan, and then rolled myself back into bed. Where I continued to cry for about an hour, while Judy rubbed my back, until the drugs gave me just a little bit of control back. And then I got up and got dressed and made peace with the knowledge that it was all going to come back out.

Friday and Saturday were about the same as Thursday. I didn't lose any more big chunks of hair, but I lost four or five fistfuls, daily.

Sunday afternoon, my scalp started to change. It did the same thing last time. It's a hard sensation to describe, but it's a lot like when your hair is dirty and that makes it hurt. Like, when it sort of hurts to bend your hair at the root... Do you know what I'm talking about? Well, it's like that, but totally different. The dirty hair thing is sort a good pain. Like, it hurts, but it also feels good? Well, this... this is... not the same. It's mostly just pain. It's not horrible. It's not excruciating. But... it's a sharp, stabbing pain... like... well, frankly, it's like something is dying. (Uhm, probably because something is dying. And it's my hair follicles.) Once my scalp started to hurt, I knew it was coming.

Monday morning, I washed it (because it had been almost a week, so I figured I needed it... and I was hoping that would take some of the pain away). I lost a crap ton (or at least 4 oz) of hair in the shower on Monday, but then it sort of stayed put for the rest of the day.

Today, this morning, Tuesday... I lost probably three times the amount of hair in the shower that I lost yesterday. Enough that my steady stream of short little hairs formed a ball that clogged the pipes in my bathtub.

Steve took me to chemo this morning, and tried to play with the curls on the back of my head, as he is wont to do, while we sat in a waiting room to see Dr. H. For the first time ever, I slapped his hand away and told him he was not allowed to touch my hair in public, because it would fall out if he messed with it. He gave me a disbelieving face, so I reached up and tugged at the curls behind my left ear and came away with 20-30 hairs.And then I shrugged my shoulders at him as an explanation, and tossed that handful of hair in the trash.

After chemo, I sat and talked to Judy on the couch and pulled at my hair. I got two big piles like this out of my head before it started to slow down.

My guess is that it'll come faster tomorrow, and the next day. I think, by Friday, it'll be gone. My consolation is that my scalp won't hurt anymore, once it's let go of this hair. Also, I have that totally awesome wig in my closet. And a whole bunch of hats that people who love me - and other cancer patients - have made me. I have more scarves than the clearance section at Target. And, above all that, I am at peace with my naked head.

What happens, happens. I'd really hoped that I'd get to keep it, that it would just thin out a little and I'd keep my curls for as long as I was on this regimen, buuuuuuuut... I'm not in charge, and this chemo has a 50/50 chance of thinning vs. loss. And, it appears that I've pulled the hair loss card this time. So, be it.

But it's a real tragedy, because I am telling you... this curly hair has been great fun. And it just got long enough that I can tuck it behind my ears.

My hair line is rising, and the curls on the back of my head are just barely coming into some kind of submission. I don't love that I sort of need bangs right now, but I'm grooving on how soft and supple this dying head of hair is. Thinning it out has made it so much more controllable. It's breaking my heart a little that I'm losing it, but heck... It's going out on a really good hair week, and for that, I am grateful.


Julie Hoffmann said...

Oh, Laur! Bathroom sobbing is so heart wrenching! I'm glad you grieved the loss (like Sadness acknowledging pain), and I'm glad you have Judy there, and I'm glad you can be so honest. Like it or not, you are an example to me and my family. It's a beautiful (and tragic, hopeful, depressing, heartbreaking, and victorious)
thing you've just posted.

Anonymous said...

Well sugar - I just love you. Hair or not. Thank you for your honesty. I'm glad you are surrounded (near and FAR!) by people who love you. Hugs my friend. Steph (and once again I'm anonymous because I STILL can't remember my freakin passwords!!!)