Chemo and Hair ( New to site)

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LeahN
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 8/26/2006 7:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone,
 
 I am new to this site. I am stadge 2 breast cancer and will begin chemo next week. I am a mother of 3 and just turned 41.  I am scared to death and can not imagine how I will get through the chemo treatment. Then my hair is going to fall out. I am so afraid and could almost cripple myself with the fear that I am feeling at the present.
I would love to hear from others on suggestions on how to get through this.
 
I am trying to be so strong but feel like I am loosing control of this fear.
 
thanks for listening to me vent

Leela
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 8/26/2006 8:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Have you looked into penguin cold caps to prevent the hair loss? I am from the crohn's board but I looked into it to prevent hair loss from remicade. I wound up buying something called arctic cooling cap but penguin cold caps has a whole system to use for chemo. You can do an internet search to find and contact them. I do know someone whose friend did not lose her hair using them. You may also want to ask your doctor or hospital if they have them.

possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 8/26/2006 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome Leah,my name is Tammy and im 44 years old its been a year now since my last chemo treatment,I was stage 2,possitive lymph nodes,double mastectomy and i had hair to my knees,i loved my hair and i was scared at the thought of chemo but after the first treatment you will know what to expect and it wont be so scary for you.My hair grows so fast now and its thick and wavy,it used to be so straight.I love short hair now and i will keep it short.Your hair will grow back quickly after chemo.What is your cocktail going to be(chemo meds).The ladies on this forum is so helpful and they will be your best friend .someone will be responding to you soon.Pray to God to carry you through this journey,he carried me and he will carry you to.Stay possitive!Keep in touch with us we will help you through this battle. Prayers and hugs.....Tammy
 


Liffy
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/27/2006 6:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi  LeahN  I was diagnosed with Cancer at your age and know how scarey it is, but hang in there, although my cancer was a blood one, I still had to have loads of chemo, but meanwhile brought up five kids and I am still around to tell the tale. Just get in touch if its getting you down, I am sure there are lots of us who will be around for you. Thinking of you
                                   Moth

debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 8/27/2006 11:26 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Leah! Welcome to our group. I am sorry that you have had to join us but let me assure you that you have found a wonderful, supportive, caring and fun group of women that know exactly how you are feeling.

I know that you are frightened about starting chemo and not knowing what to expect. Each of us has felt the very same way. You will have some side effects but there are meds that your onco can prescribe for you that will offset these. You might call your onco office and ask if he/she would call in those prescriptions before you have your chemo. This way, you will have them on hand and won't have to worry about going to the pharmacy. I can tell you that the treatment isn't nearly as bad as the waiting and not knowing.

My hair started fallling out about 7 days after my first treatment. My sil was my beautician so she just kept cutting it shorter. I finally had her buzz it because it was driving me nuts having hair everywhere. (I don't even have dogs that shed) You might want to visit your beautician so that she can help you get a wig before your hair falls out. Also, you can contact either your local ACS or the SW at your hospital or onco office. They usually have wigs at no cost. My dd and granddaughters lived w/ me when I began my treatments. My granddaughter was 6. The day I had my head shaved, I showed her. Her comment was "Nana, it's not bad. Just wear your ballhat when my friends come over". As someone said, your hair will grow back once your treatments are completed. If you have curly hair now, most likely it will come back straight. One plus...you won't have to shave your legs or under your arms! :)

One of the most important things is to keep a sense of humor. Watch movies that make you laugh or your fav tv shows that are funny. Laughter is a great healer.

You might feel a little sick and tired the day of your treatment and a couple of days afterwards. You can let your friends help you by bringing in meals for your family or cook up some thing ahead of time that you can freeze. Remember, the most important thing right now is to take care of YOU. Something that we find very difficult to do. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Come here and let us help you.

Hugs...Deb


 


Brnadebt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 688
   Posted 8/27/2006 4:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leah

I thought I would welcome you to our group and tell you that this is a great site for information and support. You will be able to ask lots of questions ans at least one of will have been thru similar events and be able to answer you.

I was diagnosed just one year ago and let me tell you there is life after breast cancer. I had six months of chemo and two months of radiation after my lumpectomy and lymph nodes being removed. I can tell you the chemo is not nearly as bad as you would think, and yes loosing your hair is the hardest part at first. I found a couple of hats and a wig. I swore I would not wear that wig to work but once I wore it for a day it wasn't so bad. I was another one that had stick straight hair and it came back curly and I love it. It actually started growing back before my chemo was done so I had a head start on it. I love my new hair and it is so easy to do in the morning. I put gel in it and go and that is it, I get compliments on my "new style" all of the time. Chemo did not make me throw up, but did make me a little nauseaus and tired. I would suggest that you get a port a cath before chemo it will make it alot easier for you and save your veins. I had one and just had it removed a week ago. If you don't know what that is just google it and that will explain it.

When is your first treatment, and what have you had done so far? Please keep us posted, we care.

L&H

Bernadette
 
 


wackygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 8/27/2006 5:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Leah- You've gotten some wonderful advice already, and I just want to add my .02 as well... I had just turned 34 when I was dx, with three kids who at the time were 2 (almost 3), 4 and 6. I had a 4.5cm tumor, Stage IIB, er-/pr-, her2neo 3+++ and 5 of 49 nodes were positive. I was given a 50/50 chance to see 5 yrs! Chemo wasn't easy, but not as bad as I had thought it would be. Yes the hair fell out, well actually I zipped it off w/clippers before it fell out all over the place. I wore scarfs and pretty knit hats (wige were too hot, too itchy, and too expensive!), and I just told myself 'its temporary' about 10 times a day. I still went everywhere I usually went, Target, the mall, movies, etc. and maybe I just didn't notice, but people really did NOT stare at all. I just told the kids in a very matter-of-fact tone, 'yep mommy's hair fell out because of the medicine I am taking to make me all better, but it will grow back soon!'... they took it in stride and never questioned it after that. Ya just gotta get thru it, and tell yourself that soon it'll be over and your hair will be growing back and you'll start to feel better.....you just have to believe it... yes you'll have your down days, we all do... but keep that chin up, and come here and we'll help you... you can do it!! we're all in the same boat.... many hugs, Stefanie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


MNlady13
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 8/27/2006 10:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Leah, I can't help with your chemo questions, but you have already gotten good feedback from some of our board members who have BTDT. I am sure others will respond to you, too. I just wanted to extend a welcome and some words of assurance. You can do this! It feels scarey right now, but you are not alone. You can come to this board any time to post questions or find someone to who can hold your hand and share some cyber hugs. It really helps to have people to talk to who have been where you are. I was diagnosed 10 years ago, and am doing fine. There are other long term survivors here, too. Hang in there and try to take this just one day at a time. Hugs, Lauri

"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
 
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/28/2006 6:00 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi and welcome! Sorry you are going through this now, but we'll help you when we can. We're a pretty good group to hang with! 

Chemo impacts us all differently. Some people can get quite ill from it, and others never miss a beat. You'll likely be somewhere in between. Of 50 side effects, you may get 6, whereas I had another 7 and the next gal gets a different set. No one can tell you what will happen, except hair loss...

For me, I was 31 with no kids doing  chemo (6 1/2 yrs ago!) and I was very lucky. I worked through most of it. I never felt sick, just sometimes felt slow or tired. The pre-meds are pretty sophisticated, and if you get sick, tell the doctor to alter the meds. There is no need to tough it out without trying other options. Remember to eat light after chemo. I thought that meant a salad or chicken...it really means clear soup and toast! LOL. Some things you learn the hard way...

I did chemo on Tuesday and took off work Wed., but did a couple hours from home. Thurs and Fri I went in half days. The chemo made me sleep, but the weeks in between is when I got introduced to ambien. Chemo can wreak havoc with sleep, but ambien is my friend till this day. Just don't be afraid to ask for meds if you need them or help if you need it too. Don't assume you'll be too sick to care for your kids, but prepare for it just in case.

In my time, I found each of 4 chemo cycles to be identical. I could set my watch,...5:00 on Friday started acid reflux. Thursday morning my voice faded. Thursday night my taste buds went wacky, by Tuesday they recovered. Things like that.

Let people help you if they offer...that was very hard for me, but necessary.

The hair loss is traumatic, no way to dance around it. DOn't let people upset you when they say "oh, it will grow back." It WILL, but I hated when they said that, it did not acknowledge the trauma of the moment. I cried for 2 days, but I had it shaved off. I needed to be in control and would not let chemo take my hair, I took it. It was my way to dictate the disease.  Once the hair was gone, it was no big deal, but I did look jealously at those with great hair! I finished chemo in April and shed my wig by July, about 6-7 weeks after the last one. It was super short and had a little curl starting, just mousse and go!

Hang in there, and keep us close!

Lori



gumoore
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 8/29/2006 1:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leah,

Welcome to our group. I know you will receive plenty of support here - I know from experience.

I am so sorry about your diagnosis. I had to laugh at the timing of your question though because I've just gone through my own hair ordeal.

I will let everyone else address chemo because I want to really address the hair part and because they've done an awesome job.

My first chemo was on Aug. 14th. By Sat. 19th, I was starting the thin. The thought of losing my hair in chunks or like this in general really upset me. So I asked my husband to shave my head. He was a gem. He covered the mirror in the bathroom and did it so gently. I think that it was as hard on him as on me. I did cry afterwards.

For the first bit, I couldn't bear to look at myself. I wore hats and scarves, but then three days into avoidance, I accidentally saw myself in the mirror. I must admit that I was a little taken aback. You just don't realize how much volume hair adds to the shape of your head.

Now I'm just fine with it. I still have difficulty in public. What helps me is that my face is the same. Same eyes. Same nose (pity that). Same mouth. That and the fact that I am having an absolute ball with hats and scarves.

I have purchased a wig (get it tomorrow) for those days when I am able to go out to dinner or socialize a bit, but I suspect that the general rule holds true: you wear it about 25-30% of the time.

Keep us posted!
Gayle
 
Life is short, wear your party pants!


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 8/29/2006 5:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I was 36 at dx, with 2 kids in middle school. That was almost 12 years ago...I'm a grandma now! I have to tell you, there was nothing scarier to me than the thought of dying before I got my girls raised. Losing a breast, losing my hair, while traumatic, were small things, in comparison.

While chemo was no picnic, I never missed a day of work because of it. And I think I managed to keep my house a lot cleaner when I was going through chemo, too...they gave me steroids for side effects, and let me tell you, I could go a hundred miles an hour when I was on those things!

Sorry you are having to go through this, but get through it, you will. Hope you come to this board for support and information. There are plenty of both here.

Let us know how it goes.

Hugs...
BEV

belindafeathers
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 8/31/2006 1:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi! I am new to this site also and am going through what Leah is. I have been diagnosed with Stage III bc, 2.5 cm tumer removed along with 16 lymph nodes (6 of which were cancerous). Had my mammograms every year, did everything I was supposed to do. Doctors said last year's mammogram was "clean." I can't imagine how it was. I am just feeling very scared and frustrated right now. I want to be O.K.
Sandy

LeahN
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 8/31/2006 4:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandy,
 
  It is so normal to feel the way you do. The days do get better and you learn to cope with the diagnose much better. You will read there are so many survivors lots with stadge 4 bc.  You will be ok, you will kick this in the butt and next year you will look back and be so proud of yourself for making it through this journey. I had my first chemo today and I am ok. You will be ok too. Please feel free to email me.\\
 
BEst Wishes
LEah

wackygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 8/31/2006 6:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandy- Just wanted to welcome you to the board too, and give you a big (((HUG)))... I too had a mammo and ultrasound 4.5 months prior to dx that showed no issues at all.... it made me very scared/angry/upset at the medical community to think that they missed it.... that was something that was very hard to deal with. BUT you can still beat it.... you have to think forward, and not dwell on the past... I know thats easier said than done.... but you can do it. Don't fall into that 'what if' trap for too long... it can sap all your good energy.... Hugs Stefanie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


belindafeathers
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 9/1/2006 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for the encouragement. I think over this weekend I will look for a wig--oh to think about that--anyway, I start chemo on Wednesday the 6th. Let me know how yours is going, leah...and did you get a wig yet? I feel like shaving my head right now, but I don't want to look at myself!!!!!
Hopefully, after the first treatment and after my hair falls out, I will be able to cope with this a little better.....
Sandy

LeahN
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 9/1/2006 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sandy,

I have look for a wig and have one picked out. I feel like I look very foolish with the wig on but I have to have something as i dont think I have the courage to go out bald. When my hair falls out I will be devastated. I have read from most women that this is the hardest part of the chemo. I know I have cancer but unless I look at my scar it could be hiden but with no hair I dont think I will be able to look in the mirror at myself.
Good luck with your treatment on Sept 6 and stay strong, things do get better and one day we will both look back on this and be amazed as women what we have accomplished. THe first treatment is where all the fear is because it is unknown. I had my treatmen t Thursday and it was uneventful no pain and no discomfort when the meds are given. There is a light at the end of the tunnel

belindafeathers
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 9/5/2006 12:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Leah -

I hope you are starting to feel better. I had another down day today--when does it stop? I was supposed to start chemo tomorrow (sept 6) and was all ready for it, but got a call that the last tests I had showed a "dit" on my liver. I sure hope my cancer hasn't spread but it seems every time the doctor calls, it is bad news..... Did you go through all kinds of tests? This is so ridiculous. It is almost as if they are looking for something else. Now my chemo has to be rescheduled and I have to wait some more. I know I will put off getting the wig.

Sandy

LeahN
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 9/5/2006 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi,

 

Thank you to all of you who answered my post. Your thoughts and your wisdom mean so much.

 

  Sandy: Yes I did have test before, I had blood work, cat scan, bone scan and muga scan on my heart to make sure it was strong enough for chemo. My oncol. said all those test are normal for someone who is to begin chemo.

 

Today, was a little better , still feeling sick to my stomach and having alot of trouble sleeping.
 
I am sorry to hear you had another bad day. I think the roller coaster ride that each of us take from the point we find out we have cancer to the point we find out that we are cured has so many bumps in the road. During the summer we went from cancer/ then one surgery and thinking I only had to have radiation to then another surgery to chemo then radiation when it is done. Everytime I went to the doctor something would change and I became so afraid of what the news would be.
 
The days will get better for you and you do want to make sure your body is as strong as it can  before chemo starts. Please stay strong and please let me know how you are doing? You will get through this and we will both look back on this and be able to help other women who are going through the same thing.
Can I ask what your age is and do you have children?
Sending you a hug to you and your family(:)
take care
 

LondonGirl22
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1629
   Posted 9/7/2006 2:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leah,

Just to let you know that you have some replies from your post in the depression forum. I know that you posted accidentally in there but some people have replied to you and I thought you would like to know.

Take care, you are in my thoughts and prayers

xx
Victoria
 
Co~Moderator: Depression Forum
 
 


Jakula
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 9/7/2006 10:22 PM (GMT -7)   
If i found out that i had breast cancer whatever stage i would take the meds and see my doctor and go for tests to try and let them help me through the medical field.While dealing with that stuff i would surf the net for alternative ways to help myself to find prevention and maybe cures for this t cancer.The first thing i would search on the net is green vegetables and see what could do for me.I would buy myself a juicer machine and learn how to juice vegetables and fruits.I wouldnt give a dam how the greens would taste.I would surf the net for other ways to maybe cure breast cancer if there is a way to cure it.I would look and read about testamonies from breast cancer survivors and what they did to make it go away,either medicine or alternative ways.I would change my diet from junk food,fried food,dairy stuff and sugars and liquor etc.I would eat healthy and go to health food stores.I guess i would have fear but my fear would leave me almost,if i new there is alot of chances to survive this.I would pray to god for faith.I would type stuff into yahoo,google,msn searches and what i might do is write um,breast cancer cures,juicing vegetanles curing cancer,maybe instead of eating veggies i would drink themetc.I would sit in front of the computer all day to find help online.http://shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/cancer2.htm,i was looking and saw this site,there are so many ways for help,doctors,medicines,god,prayer.I would look up stuff like dr.norman walker vegetable juicing,or the juiceman.There is so much i would look for.I would not be afraid i would battle this with all my might.Good luck to You,dont lose faith.Also a cancer survivor DR.Lorraine day reversed her breast cancer too,like i said i would keep searching the internet.May god give you strength and help too.I will say a prayer for you.All of this might work or might not everyones bodies are different.This is the things i would try to do for me if i had breast cancer.Dont be afraid of that word.God BLess.

belindafeathers
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 9/13/2006 11:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Leah - I am feeling better this week--in a better mood--I will be starting chemo next Wednesday (finally!) and I am trying to enjoy every last minute before I start. It sucks when you feel good and you know the onc will make you feel nasty!

It sounds as if we went through pretty much the same thing--first I was stage I, lymph node biopsy was negative, so we operate and I get radiation. Then I get operated on--find out 16 nodes were removed and 6 had cancer (Stage III), and that I had to get "the works." Then the tests, and tests, and tests.........

I have two grown children - my darling daughter is 24 and we are very close; this is tough on her and tougher on me because now I have to worry about her. She was married in 2004 and is no hurry to have children (darn!).
My son is 22 and was just married in May. He has one more semester of college left; his wife has her Masters and is teaching. They both go to the University of Pittsburgh and live in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. He wants to have a lot of children, but of course isn't settled yet. He also is a very religious boy and believe me, I need that at this time. His best friend (who is a young minister) is starting his own church and my son has been his right hand helper in this venture.
I hate to tell you what my age is because I don't think I am "old." But you probably will--I am 53, although I don't feel (or at least I didn't feel) like it. My mortality is scaring me now, though. I have never considered myself a strong person--or a tough person, although my friends say I am a tough egg.

What is your family status? I hope we can help each other. Wasn't it ironic that both of us entered this at the same time? I will keep you posted on what happens.....

Oh, my mother is having an awful time with this (I can imagine, because if it were my daughter I would be beside myself), but sometimes she gets on my nerves - although I love her dearly......mother's do try to help! Love and Hugs, Sandy

LeahN
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 9/13/2006 6:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandy,
 
  Please email me, if you like.
 
Glad to hear you are better this week.
 
I am also feeling better, my next chemo will be next week.
 
I would be more than happy to keep in touch through this journey that we are going through
 
Here is my email; MN6789@aol.com
 
Leah
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