One of my BIGGEST fears when facing chemotherapy was hair loss. I feared that I would then be ugly and that people would look at me differently even though I was the same Katrina everyone knows. Now don’t get me wrong, I know hair isn’t everything to a person and it’s what’s on the inside that matters most BUT I personally think (and having already been through it) that hair definitely shaped my face. No, it doesn’t define me as a person obviously but I most certainly didn’t feel myself.
Losing my hair actually happened super quick, just after my first cycle of ICE. I woke up one morning, looked at my pillow and saw quite a bit of hair over it. I yelled out to mum balling my eyes out! It was happening. My most dreaded side affect. And then as I pulled on it, it was like the hair wasn’t even attached to my head. It was coming out in chunks. Seeing this was so confronting and terrifying and it made me sick. Purely for the fact that this wasn’t my choice. These were the side affects of the poison that was also attacking my good cells. Physically seeing what chemo treatments does to one’s body was horrendous!
A few days went by and it got to a point where I couldn’t even touch my hair. I couldn’t wet it, I couldn’t wash it, I couldn’t brush it or tie it up properly. It was seriously a mess and so knotty. Every single time I would touch it, it fell out. It started getting extremely distressing and I knew what I had to do. Luckily one of my good friends is a hair dresser. I was actually so scared to message her as I knew once I did, then that was it.
When she told me she was on her way over, my heart started pounding. Oh my god, it was sooo scary! I didn’t want to be bald! How will I even go out in public? How does one come to terms with having no hair when they didn’t want this? It was not only I that was an emotional, nervous wreck but Carlene (my friend) and mum were also crying. It was a big thing to do, as it wasn’t like I wanted a change in hairstyle. You know? But boy, was I grateful to have had a really close friend to do the deed. Even though I knew she found it difficult herself. Giving the situation and the relationship between us. Thank you my beautiful girl! ♡
Feeling her shave off the remaining hair was so upsetting and I was crying the whole time. I just wanted to stop, or hide away or something and not have to face this part of it, but I knew that wasn’t an option. There was no running away from this. Just forward through it. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for ages. I felt sick. Although, after Carls had finished shaving it all off, my dad walked in (as I didn’t want anyone else in the bathroom at the time) and stood there looking at me. He said, “Because you’ve shaved off your hair…” and I was thinking, oh god no, please don’t shave off yours. He continued, “I shaved off my moe!” We literally all cracked up laughing, it was the funniest thing ever and none of us have ever seen dad without a moustache! Still to this day, he doesn’t have it. Bless
I knew that when going through chemo, you lose the hair on your head. What I didn’t realise was that you lose EVERY. SINGLE. HAIR on your body. Some which did have bonus’s as I didn’t have to shave my legs anymore! But the worst of all was losing my eyebrows and eye lashes. Seriously… I would have way rather just lost the hair on my head than my eyebrows and eye lashes. For a while there, I didn’t recognise myself. Truly! I really didn’t look at all like me. I wore a hat as I didn’t like the head scarves. I had to learn how to draw on eye brows with no indication as to where my bloody eyebrows once were! I’m pretty sure they looked different every single day. I didn’t get out much in public during this time as for the reasons above. I just felt super self conscious.
Once I finished this treatment my hair started growing back. And I’ve actually really enjoyed (most of the time) watching the process. It has been sooo exciting! For me, it’s been growing suuuuper quick. I swear it grows a little bit at a time every single night. I’m now at a comfortable length where I don’t hide under a hat. Even though sometimes I’m annoyed by the curls or the flicks on the sides.. I actually don’t mind how it looks and it’s kind of fun watching it go through all the different stages. By the way, my hair wasn’t this curly before hand. I do hope that it starts to straighten out though as it gets longer.
I remember when I had no hair I said to myself, “When I get my hair back, I don’t care what it looks like, as long as I have hair!” So I really shouldn’t be putting myself down sometimes for how it looks. It’s honestly not even bad!! Haha. Their just my little insecurities. I’m at about 6 months of hair growth now!
I really did beat myself up about my appearance throughout having no hair. And for what!? I don’t know why I would put myself down so much during those times when I was facing one of my hardest battles. Like I wasn’t already going through so much already.. I mean, I would never ever in a million years ever look at someone and judge them for the way they look through out cancer treatments, or just anything for that matter, so it really wasn’t fair that I put my own self down through those times. Even though I knew no one was ever looking at me in weird ways. As I look back, it went pretty damn quick. I didn’t have hair for a good 6 months. Yet it feels like it was only for a few. I knew it wasn’t a forever thing… But it was hard to grasp what was happening I suppose.
And this is me now! I am sure in about a week, it’ll be even longer!