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  • Clare Reed CBT Therapist

Coping With Hair Loss Second Time Around

Coping with Hair Loss Second Time Around
Coping with Hair Loss Second Time Around

I used to have long blonde hair once. It seems like a long time ago. Before my treatment started in 2017 my long blonde hair was part of my identity. It used to define me in many positive ways. When I lost my hair, during my initial treatment, through chemotherapy, I was prepared mentally by my Oncologist who said I would rock a Demi Moore, ‘GI Jane’, impression in no time. He was right of course but first I had to go through the baby rabbit phase, before my hair sprouted out and I looked like a GI!

When a tumour arrived, a second time, in my brain, my hair was gliding nicely below my ears. I was slowly returning to resemble my former self. My treatment plan involved radiosurgery to the site of the removed tumour only. I presumed the radiosurgery, which only amounted to three, 10 minute sessions, would leave no change to my appearance. It was in the final consultation that my Radiosurgeon mentioned as an aside, “By the way, you may have some hair loss at the site of the beams, though it’s mostly men who lose their hair, so it probably won’t happen.”

After Radiosurgery had finished, I had a full head of hair! Hurrah! I thought I had avoided the hair loss. But 2 weeks later in the shower, I was no longer having a ‘Herbal Essences’ moment. I was losing my hair in clumps. Bit by bit. I lost two patches of hair on the side of my head about 5cm by 5 cm circles. My only saving grace was the rest of my hair was long enough to do a side parting on the other side and do a ‘comb over’. It took 4 weeks until I finally had a shower without hair loss.

I probably will have another full hair loss when I start chemo again soon but c’est la vie.

I do think we have to learn our lessons in life and this one has probably helped me to take it easy. Having a visible reminder of the fact I had brain surgery only 6 months ago definitely is a reality check. After all, I sailed through the operation and the treatment again, it was all painless, thank goodness. It would be so easy for me to forget it happened. So, having these bald patches is a daily reminder to take it easy and has helped me to put the brakes on a few plans.

What You Can Do

  • If you are facing second time round cancer treatment such as radiosurgery to the head or more chemo hair loss don’t despair. I understand it’s a step back to a time which we all want to move on from. Some of us have a longer journey than others but the good news is we have been given another chance to beat Cancer.

  • Whatever it takes has become my new mantra with metastasised Cancer. Whatever the number of operations I have, however many times my hair falls out, I will do whatever it takes to get my health back on track. Find your mantra for motivation and to inspire you.

  • If you, like me, have little side effects from treatment remember to take it easy. We can’t see what is going on inside our bodies during treatment, but we do know for sure that rest is vital.

  • Take a hair growth supplement. I have taken Boswellia and I can attest to the speedy regrowth plus it has made my remaining hair grow faster and fuller. Make sure to ask your Doctor before taking any supplements during Cancer treatment.

I wanted to share this with you in case you or anyone you know is having Radiosurgery so they can manage their expectations. I could have done with a bit more heads up from my own team for this little known side effect but I think they thought they were helping to save my life – again, so what is a little hair loss after all, and I totally agree. Besides my hair is already growing back and will soon blend in with the rest of my remaining hair. Hair loss is no biggie, whatever it takes!

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