Hair Envy

Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of hair envy. I’m not often one to be influenced by social media or celebrities in magazines, but right now want hair like the women in every shampoo advert on television. I know that they are unrelasitic, but I’ve never wanted long volumous hair as much as I do currently.

I started to loose my hair around November 2015 when I first starting taking Vemurafenib, and since July 2015 I’ve worn a wig on an almost daily basis.

The most upsetting thing about loosing my hair was that I wasn’t mentally prepared for it to happen and I feel as though I will be emotionally scarred by the experience forever more. I was told at the time of starting chemotherapy that hair loss from my particular treatment wasn’t so common, so I guess it didn’t sink in. According to the Cancer Research website hair loss occurs in just under four out of ten people (40%). taking oral drug Vemurafenib. Of course, knowing my pattern of bad luck over the years I should have known I would be one of those unlucky few.

Losing my eyebrows and my hair felt like I was loosing control of my situation, I went from looking healthy to very unwell in just a few short weeks. Suddenly I lost my confidence and my femininity. I could hide the scars from previous operations, and even managed to get eyebrow tattoos, but I couldn’t cover up my hair loss so easily. It felt like as much as I tried to ignore it, the seriousness of my situation was hitting home. As I began to look increasingly unwell I found it very stressful trying to  act as thought it wasn’t an issue. I’ve never been good at doing my own hair, I can’t even do a plait successfully,  but this was a whole other ball game altogether.

At the start, my hair started to thin and fall out, particularly from the temple area. After a couple of moths of taking Vemurafenib it then began taking on an afro texture. I tried straightening the roots, but this was only a short lived fix. I even thought about trying to crimp it, but I’m pretty sure nobody has used a hair crimper since 1998.

After a few tearful weeks of dramatic hair changes I went with my mum to the hairdressers to have my hair cut short, I thought it  was wise to try and make the best of a bad situation and be in control as much as possible. The first time I went I burst into tears and the hairdressers decided it probabaly wasn’t the right time for me, so we went back a second time for the chop. Eventually my friends shaved it even shorter. Although I didn’t like the way it looked, it was as thought a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I no longer had to pull my hair out of the plug hole when I had a shower, or wear a thick headband to hide the afro roots.

I had a few important engagements coming up in summer 2015, including being a bridesmaid for one of my best friends. After discussions with my Macmillan nurse I decided that a wig would be the way to go. I picked two; a long brunette one which I now wear regularly, and a short blonde one. I’ve never got into wearing the blonde wig, it seemed like a good idea and the time, but I decided to stick with wearing one as I didn’t want it to be obvious to people it wasn’t my own hair. There might be a point in the future where I change treatments and I could loose my hair again, so I’m saving the blonde one just in case. For a rainy day so to speak. I guess I could use it for a future fancy dress party but I really dislike fancy dress, my ideas always look better in my head than in reality.

I’m delighted to say that after having worn my brunette wig for almost 18 months my hair is growing back thick and fast due to a switch in treatment. Hair lost is not a side effect of IV drug Pembrozilumab, which I have been taking since July 2016. I’m now due my eighth cycle at my next hospital visit and the texture of my hair has changed completely and I have a short thick pixie hair style forming, its like 2010 all over again!

Although my short hair now looks much better than before I’m still self-conscious about it, but the longer it gets the more confident I’m growing. I was so upset about having to get a wig initially, however now I don’t want to be without it, which is ironic.  I’m happy to go without my wig outside of work, and am hoping to debut my updated look in the new year, but I’m so desperate to have my long curly hair back that I am hesitant to stop wearing my wig until I have long L’Oréal style locks.

My initial idea was to debut my new do on my 30th birthday in May 2017, but I am not sure I can wait that long. Wigs are also very hot, and with new hair growning I feel like I am constantly wearing a hat, so I will see how my hair keeps growing before making any decisions. It would mean so much to me to be able to tie it back, I get tearful just thinking about it.

I need to have a passport photo taken soon so I think I will go without my wig as I don’t want to be looking back at a photo of my wearing it for the next ten years. Hopefully I’ll be looking back and thinking about how far I’ve come.

Hopefully my hair will be envy of others very soon.

One thought on “Hair Envy

  1. […] It has been almost a year since I began taking iv drug Pembrolizumab to help keep my cancer at bay. When I first began systemic treatment my hair and eyebrows fell out and then took on a new afro like texture. I documented this expereince last year in my blog posts Eyebrow Tattoos and Hair Envy. […]

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