Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh when my hair, oh when my hair, oh when my hair starts falling out....

I had just made it to day #14 in the hospital, which was 5 days after completing chemotherapy and I had yet to lose my hair.  I didn't kid myself into believing that I wouldn't lose my hair.  But with each passing day and nothing coming out I began to feel optimisitic.

I have been around enough people that have undergone chemotherapy to know that it is a side effect.  So I had seen people who had lost all their hair right away, some that lost just a little and others that lost no more than a few strands. 

I wasn't trying to put myself in anyone of those catagories.  In all honesty I was trying not to think about it at all although it seemed to be the only thing that consumed my conversations with my mom.  I knew that if and when it happened I would be emotional but really thought I would just take it in stride like I had all the other things that had been taking place since being diagnosed.

All that rational thinking flies out the window though when you wake up to a clump of your hair no longer attached to your head, sleeping oh so peacefully on the pillow beside you.  I felt like someone had torn off one of my limbs. 

I must have laid there staring at it for a good 20 minutes before actually picking it up and acknowledging that yes it indeed did come from my head.  I started to sob.  Again.  For me in that moment it all became real. 

You'd have thought the 7 days of tortuous chemotherapy and the side effects would have been an indicator that "yes Jessica, you REALLY have Leukemia" or even the repeated platelet and blood transfusions I was undergoing on an almost daily basis.  And to a point they were.  But it became a different reality with that first clump of hair.

I sat up in bed and got out my brush to try and pull my hair back into a pony tail.  With each brush stroke more and more hair came out.  Some were just tiny strands and others were clumps.  I sat in my hospital bed holding the balled up hair that moments before had been on my head and sobbed. 

It was my moms day (her and Jon's mom have been taking turns) to stay with me and as soon as she walked in the door to my room I burst into tears about my hair.  She just walked over and threw her arms around me and told me how brave she thought I was and how well I was handling all of this.  I thought she had gone off of her meds again because clearly she was not seeing the semi hysterical daughter clutching a fistful of hair that would not be going back onto my head.

I endured another 7 days of having clumps and strands fall out before I finally called a friend of mine who owns a salon and asked her to come and cut my hair.  I was not ready to shave my head yet although I get the distinct impression that is what is going to end up happening. 

As she was trying to comb through to start cutting she said it was just coming out in large amounts.  I tried to keep from crying because although it's just hair and it will grow back, it is one more thing that I am having to cope with.  Once she was finished I felt a bit better, mainly because I had taken control of my hair and not just waited as each day more and more fell out.

So for now this is my new do....

I'm hoping that I will be able to avoid having to shave my head and hopefully not lose anymore hair, but ya never know.  All I can say for sure is that this morning was the first time since that first clump of hair was on my pillow that I woke up to nothing laying next to me.  My new "do" is taking a lot of getting used to, but its nice to touch my hair and not have strands just fall off from the faintest touch. 

And on the upside, I will finally know what it's like for Jon to just hop in the shower, wash his hair, towel dry and go.  Always gotta look at the brightside of life's little detours....

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! So I'm guessing the mono was a misdiagnosis?