Before my first chemo infusion I was warned by my oncologist’s nurse that more than likely, my hair would fall out thanks to one of the many common side affects of chemotherapy. She quickly followed with a recommendation—don’t shave your head now; there’s a chance it won’t fall out. I’ll go with the recommendation. I was blessed with good hair and was not in the mood to loose it. Cancer’s attack on my body, mind and soul was quite enough, thank you very much.
A couple weeks after my first chemo session, I noticed more than just a few strands of hair intertwined in my hairbrush after brushing. Then I started seeing several strands of my long hair seemingly everywhere; on my clothes, the floor, countertops, inside the freezer (go figure)…it was happening. My hair was falling out. I would soon be bald, surely not the best look for me. Yet, I was already feeling better. The chemo was killing the cancer cells (along with the hair follicle cells). I should have been thrilled about feeling better and hair should have taken a backseat. I was thrilled, but hair loss…that was a low blow. This humiliating side effect took a few days for me to emotionally process.
I consulted with my trusted feline companion. Bobcat, do I shave my head now? He just leaned in and gave me a gentle headbutt on the forehead. I could have horns growing out of my head and Bobcat probably wouldn’t have cared (although he wasn’t so crazy about his 2019 Halloween costume).
I decided that seeing my long healthy locks fall to the ground at the wisk of a shaver would be too traumatic. I let my hair fall out on its own, cutting it every couple weeks as it thinned out and became lackluster and matted. I pretty much had dreadlocks by the time I cut my hair to chin-length, along with a scalp that revealed far more skin than hair.
The bob-with-a-patchy-scalp hairstyle didn’t last long. I finally cut the remaining patches of hair down to about two inches. And there I had it: a baldhead with some wispy blonde remnants. I showed Bobcat my “baby head.” He looked at me unimpressed, as though he didn’t notice that my look had drastically changed.
I put on a burgundy knit cap with an oversized pom pom on the top of it then reclined on the sofa, settling in for the evening as I settled in with the fact that I lost my locks. They would grow back, and in the meantime, I was healing.
Bobcat joined me, relaxing alongside my legs facing me, my sweet comforting cat who looked me in the eye, then slowly moved his head and his gaze up from my face, up to the pom pom, then back down to my face.
Bobcat finally had an opinion. His motion said it all, “What happened to your hair and what is that gigantic puffy thing on the top of your head?”
Looks like I’ll have to get a wig.
You are beautiful no matter what!!
Caren, thank you! I look at myself without hair and just think that I look weird. Thank goodness for caps and wigs!
Pammy…you’re 1 of the bravest people I know. Thanks for the update. You’ll get through this, I have faith in you. Buzz.
Buzz! Thank you for your support in my cancer journey and in my stories! This is the stuff they don’t teach you in college!
Courageously and wryly accounting of a women’s worst fear. I’m not sure I’d be so brave about it. Bravo Pam you are a warrior among women! Love, Mom
Awww, your making me get all teary-eyed! Thank you so much. xo
Purrayers to you and your feline couturier
LOL, yes, he certainly was that. Thank you!
Love it!!! Great to see both of you (you and dear Bobcat). You are still looking good, girl!
Thank you, Marilyn! I’m keeping Bobcat alive with my stories about him. xo
You look FABULOUS! So happy to hear your feeling great and strength coming back!! Yay!🎉 Now maybe music soon!! ❤❤❤
Rhonda and Doug! Hello and thank you so much for reading and for your continued support. Hopefully summertime music…
Thanks for sharing Pam….this is a unexpected part of your life’s journey…may a season of healing and joy follow.
Thank you, Brad! It certainly was unexpected! It’s been life-altering.
Pam, good and well said story about your experience while following the doctor orders for cancer treatment. You are among millions of cancer patients who loose the hair due to chemo treatment. I’m glad to see you putting your experience in the written form. May it be of help to others. Dad
Thank you! Loosing hair was very hard…I do hope my decision on how to let it go is indeed helpful for others. 🙂
The fact that you feel better sounds like good news! Sending purrs and meows and hugs for fast recovery. And you look beautiful!
Thank you so much, Leah! I’m recovering from surgery now. Feeling a little better each day.
What a beautiful, up beat piece of writing* Shine on Pam ! It was such a pleasure to meet you, exactly as you’re are, hair loss and all. That’s brave, that’s wise !
I’ve been waiting – during lockdown, up here in Canada – to get a haircut and some brightening just feeling pretty @overgrown@ and dull. You just showed us ..with style and humour, how to make some fun out of it all. THANK YOU !
So glad your Mom sent me the link & saving some of your sunshine for a cloudy day
Hi Colleen! I’m so happy that you found my story a slice of sunshine! This warms my heart so much. At this point, I gotta laugh. I’ve been through enough pain. Cheers! xo
Dear Pam ,
What a journey ! Have to say you have the best shaped head sans hair !
You are the best .. love auntie Rachel
I’m laughing out loud at the head shape comment! Thank you! If you gotta be bald, better to have a well shaped head.
Thank you so much for your continued support. xoxo
You’re as beautiful as any person I know. AND, you’re healing!! It was so wonderful to spend some girl time with you last week. Keep writing!
You are such a great support! Thank you, Robin. Yes, I had a fabulous time at our lunch here at the cottage. xoxo
You look gorgeous Pamela. Hope you are feeling better everyday and that your spirit is light. Hope is abundant for your wonderful future. Sending rays of LOVE- Suzanne & John
Hi Suzanne! Thank you for the sweet compliment and so nice to hear from you. xoxo
You’re rockin’ the cat ears, the cap and the wig! You’d probably rock any look. I’m glad you’re feeling better too!
Awwww, thank you! So nice to hear. Tell that to cutie-pie Harley, my current kitty crush. LOL!