Last Wednesday I sat in the Primrose unit having my line flushed through and was amazed that I was the only one who still had a full head of hair. I actually wrote about it on Face book as I was in utter amazement that I hadn't lost any of it. Also - although at first I felt confused, I haven't had to shave my legs in nearly two weeks. Don't get me wrong this is great and I'm getting used to the fact that I've hardly any hair left on my arms or anywhere else for that matter. However, to my horror my eyelashes are already falling out but I have managed to find a great mascara which takes care of what I have got left and even though I've spent a small fortune finding the correct eyebrow kit, including, powders, pencils and stencils, my eyebrows are looking amazing. ( thanks to the girl on the Benefit counter)
My sleep patterns are all over the place I get up on numerous occasions throughout the night to check in the bathroom mirror to see if my hair is falling out. It got so frequent that when I was in the Primrose unit that day I spoke to the nurse about it in a slightly obsessive way, she told me I needed to sleep and that maybe I would find some peace if I just shaved it all off. I realised she had a point - I really did, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
I couldn't and still can't walk pass a mirror without looking in it, I was running my hands through my hair to see if any of it came out. I even got to the stage where I had to ask my husband to wash it as I couldn't bear to wash it myself. I was convinced that it was all over the bedroom carpet I was obsessing about it constantly and often broke down in tears.
In the meantime I spoke to a good friend of mine who told me that when she had her brain tumour - when we were teenagers, she'd convinced herself that her hair wasn't going to fall out. She continued to tell me that she was in denial and of course eventually it did fall out. It was over 20 years ago and I remember her NHS wig - how times have changed. I myself told the nurse that maybe mine wouldn't fall out. She nodded her head and told me that in a few cases it didn't. Although she didn't look convinced.
Then on Wednesday afternoon it happened, that very same day. The first lot of hair decided to come out. Not what I imagined. It came out in my hands as I touched it. Thursday I got up and I was too scared to brush it. Taking the plunge I did so and handfuls came out on the brush. In between tears I tried numerous hair pieces. I wasn't ready to wear a wig. Buns, ponytails, fringes. Luckily I have a few. On the Friday for my sister's birthday dinner, even though I wore a bun I was mortified that hair was falling out into people's food.
Saturday during the day I took the kids shopping. I didn't wear anything, but just put it up in a normal ponytail and clipped the fringe back. it still looked okay but I knew my days of wearing it down were over. Then that night before we went to dinner at friends, I washed it, and so much came out that the thickness of my ponytail decreased and it looked like a rats tail. I asked my husband to call our friends and tell them we were going to be late. In the meantime I'd filled the wastepaper bin with my hair and in between tears I managed to get a hair piece to stay in and hair sprayed every hair I could down. One of the guy's picked us up and as I came down the stairs he pointed to my head and said " Its not what's here" then pointed to my heart " It's whats in here Wendie" I held back the tears and went to dinner with our lovely understanding friends.
Yesterday I wore a wig for the first time, but it took ages for me to get out of the door, as I wasn't happy that it looked okay.Yet funny enough no one noticed not even my daughter. However that's because I can still pin my fringe over the front of it. So it doesn't seem that final. I do need to get myself into a routine of speeding up my hair and makeup - because it takes ages to apply everything. I don't want people to look at me and know I've got cancer. I want to look normal. So far I think I'm managing it.
Today I am rearranging bits, I've changed my fringe over as I had a thinning spot in the front on one side. As I put my hair up I have thinning bits at the back in my hairline, but I figure no one can see me at home. I've just clipped a small bun in and rearranged and sprayed down the back. Clip in pieces are becoming increasing hard to wear as there is nothing much to clip them too now.
Yes I know that I should shave it off - but I am not ready, all the time I can cover it up I will. Using my own fringe makes me feel like I am just experimenting with different hair styles, however I am sure that will too be gone in the next day or so.
I cry most days and then tell myself off. I lay awake at night wondering what I can get away with the next day. I get up in the morning and give it a good brush, almost punishingly. Trying to see how much will come out. I have kept the wastepaper bin with all my hair in it in the bedroom. I cannot bear to throw it out. I hoovered the carpet again today, as it really does get covered. I know that I am fighting a hopeless cause, but I figure that all the time I have some hair - albeit around 50 to 60% has gone and its like a ball of fluff on my head - I can experiment. To look in the mirror and see someone who is completely bald feels me with dread. The thought of walking into a shop and someone knowing I am wearing a wig and getting a sympathetic look feels me with dread. Someone sniggering that my hair isn't real - yes I know I need to get a grip.
On Saturday night I did manged to have a laugh about it with my friends, albeit they would never have brought the subject up first. Andrew was proud of me joking about my hair loss, as I seem to have had a sense of humour transplant lately and have become withdrawn, however looking in the mirror everyday or seeing your hair all over your pillow isn't much to laugh about. At some point I will have to wear the wigs full time. Before my next Chemo session on Thursday I am picking up another wig at the hospital. I hope it looks good. Then I will have 3, I hope the only reason I cannot get out of the door on time in the future will not be because I am in tears because bits are falling off me, but because I just can't figure out what wig matches my outfit that day!