Let's Talk Hair

Fact: Chemo Causes Hair Loss

Everyone knows that people with cancer are bald. The chemo causes hair to fall out. But no one likes to talk about the stages of hair loss or the nitty gritty details of what happens. So, here is Jay’s experience.

I pretended for a while that Jay was going to be the exception. She wasn't actually going to lose her hair. But you know what? The doctors know exactly what they are doing and what Jay would go through.

The first couple of weeks of chemo treatment didn’t have much of an effect on her hair. It’s not an immediate effect of chemo. It is an undeniable effect, but it does take a little time. It’s also not forever, but I’ll get to that.

Baths Aren't Fun With Hairballs

Since Jay has Leukemia, she has to be clean. I gave her daily baths because the natural bacteria that grow on the surface of her skin could cause her to become sick. 

So she had to have a bath every day to protect herself from her own bacteria and from what she picks up during the day. So every day, I would wash her in the bath tub.

After a couple of weeks of heavy doses of chemo, clumps of Jay’s hair would come off as I washed it. 

The first time I experienced that, I was in tears. My poor baby was losing her hair! 

I think it was a bigger deal to me than to her, because she was only five.

Jay had really thick hair. Each bath would leave hair all over the tub. It would take me quite a while to clean up the hair. 

Hair gets Everywhere

Her jacket was covered in hair. Her bedding and pillows were covered in hair. I would sweep the floor and pick up clumps of her hair that had fallen out.

I think the final straw, for me, happened during this one particular bath. I was washing Jay’s hair. I noticed how thin it was getting. She was almost to the point of having bald spots. 

I thought to myself, she is going to lose this hair one way or the other. It’s inevitable. 

Dealing with hair falling out all over and spending forever cleaning the tub every day is not going to change the fact that it’s all going to fall out. 

I can prolong this aggravation as much as I want, but the end result will be the same. So, I came to the decision to just shave it off.

The Shave

I spoke to Jay about it. I explained to her what I was going to do and why. She was ok with it. She had the same frustrations that I did. 

I sat her in a chair, put a towel around her shoulders, and shaved her hair off. I then calmly cleaned the mess up and sent Jay on her way. 

Then I went into my room, shut the door, and had a good long cry. Jay’s hair loss bothered me a lot more than it did her. 

To this day, the only thing that Jay remembers about her hair loss is that her mommy shaved her head.

But you know what? It grew back. Once the heavy doses of chemo ran their course, her hair grew back. She was bald for just a few short months during her multi-year Leukemia treatment.

The doctor’s told us that post-chemo hair sometimes changes colors. Jay’s did. 

She went from brown to blonde. I have a picture of her with short blonde hair. I’m not sure when it happened, but her color did go back to brown. 

Her hair is now thicker than ever. Although, she doesn’t like to have it cut very much.


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