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a woman with plants sprouting from her head

Chia Hair

One of the possible side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. I prepared myself with a pre-chemo haircut. I cut my hair chin length from below the shoulders to ease into the impending loss.

After the first couple of treatments, I started to see strands of hair come off in the shower and on my clothes. It was thinning. As the treatments progressed, I grew more self-conscious about my hair. I didn’t feel the need to wear a wig or hats yet, but I had thin hair.

Thinning hair turned to hair loss

When I rang the bell after my last treatment, some strands were still hanging on. I felt hopeful after chemotherapy finished, but the hair loss was not over. About two weeks later I found massive handfuls of hair in my hands in the shower. My kids noted the occasional hair in the meal. If I reached back to put my hands through my hair, it would just come loose. My scalp became visible through my hair, so I decided to start wearing hats. Without cover, I looked like I had an old man’s comb-over. The clumps were growing larger. I am not vain, but our hair hides us and frames our faces. I clung to the idea it would thin, but not anymore.

I resigned myself to this last phase. I rarely left the house for months. When I did go out, I donned one my skull caps, the softer, the better. My scalp was tender where the hair had come out. I wore caps each day when I went to radiation only removing them in the radiation room. As I waited each day for the treatment, I sat with others who wore their own caps or wigs too.

After loss, Chia Pet hair emerges

One day I saw a young woman who had new growth. She had very short hair but wore it proudly. I had something to look forward to when I saw her. Each day I checked the mirror hopefully. Finally, I began to see seedlings. About a month after chemo finished there were signs of growth. The tiny dots on my scalp looked like chia seeds. It reminded me of the Ch-ch-ch-chia pets advertisements. Just add water, and they visibly sprouted. My hair growth was not chia quick.

Finding my way through wigs and hats

I ordered a wig, but when I tried it on it felt uncomfortable. Not just physically, rubbing against my tender scalp, but I felt like someone else. I kept it just in case, as a security blanket of sorts. In the meantime, I grew used to my hats. After I finished my radiation and my neutrophils finally rebounded to normal levels, I ventured out into the world. I was hesitant. I still felt anxiety about germs, and I looked like a cancer patient in my cancer cap. I decided to wear it proudly.

Hair goals

I actually have some hair now, not much, but it’s coming in. As the new hair grows, I have hair goals. I am looking forward to my pixie cut to be, but for now, I have a chia head, and that is okay. Growth is good.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Ann Harper moderator
    1 week ago

    Crystal was also self conscious about her hair loss. She had a few wigs that looked so cute on her, hats, and even a few scarves. She also liked the softer hats as her head was tender. Eventually she took them all off and and showed her bald head. For her, it was the summer heat that prompted this decision. Her hair is growing back and we are all so happy to be past that chapter in our lives. I’m happy for you and chia hair is the first step!

  • Deb Wesloh moderator
    1 week ago

    I like how you compared your incoming hair to one of those Chia Pet; funny and accurate. I lost my hair from breast cancer chemo so can relate to most of your story; getting the haircut short before chemo, hair coming out in clumps and not being able to wear a wig. Hair comes back though. Soon you’ll have a new head of hair. Take care!

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