A woman with long hair looks at a reflection of herself without hair

Hairs The Thing...

Last updated: January 2022

When it comes to the crown and glory of our hair, some of us feel a certain way when we lose it. When I was on treatment, my hair actually grew longer though very thin. The hair growth or loss depends on the treatment a patient has received.

It’s usually a given with stem cell transplant that you’ll lose your hair. Hair loss is one of the side effects of SCT, and it was one of the major factors in me pushing back the idea of going with stem cell treatment. Here’s the thing, some people connect with objects or places, but it’s something about the hair that gives a whole rollercoaster of emotions.

How will they know?

In most cases when we see people with bald heads, it’s either a cool style trend, a choice, alopecia, cancer, or something else. I can’t speak for everyone, but more than not, based on a person’s overall look with missing hair becomes a puzzle for me, if it’s cancer or not? Now, this isn’t always the case but some people looking in that have that roving eye when it comes to playing detective in what is wrong with a person. To the eye, our imagination can run wild, but for the person who has lost their mane, it can be a horrifying and emotional ordeal.

The hair is the one go-to for those who may not want anyone to know what they are facing, so many go-to wigs or scarves to cover part of their being that is now open to the world.

Embrace it

Well, that can be easier said than done, again the emotional take we each have about our hair is our own emotional story. What may be not a big deal for one patient may not hold the same sentiment with another; it’s a beautiful thing when a cancer patient has embraced a new rebirthing in a sense, but this is not always the case, especially for those drugs that may permanently remove the hope of regrowth.

I was not ready to embrace it at the time, which is one of the reasons why I held off with SCT. Luckily the options open for me worked for at this moment. Again, there’s no rule book to how this thing called cancer works, there are no special potions to what will trigger you or what is doable.

What to consider?

Well, this is what it is, now what happens when you just don’t have those options of holding off treatment while focusing on your hair? It’s not an easy decision but perhaps some of these tips to consider can make the process somewhat controllable depending on what you have going on:

  1. Temporary: If there is some evidence of hair loss depending on the type of treatment, it may just be temporary.
  2. Having in-depth discussions: Rather than thinking too hard on the if it is a great idea to bring your medical team in the mix on your concerns, and the discuss pros and cons of your treatment that may or may not affect your hair.
  3. Scalp cooling caps: Though fairly new they have been used more so for people battling breast cancer and can be costly.
  4. Protect your scalp: Though the hair may come and go, treating your scalp kindly will benefit you in the end when growth returns.

 The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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