Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chia Patti

Losing my hair back in the fall was an interesting experience, to say the least. The unfortunate side of it was that this hair loss was due to the chemotherapy regimen I was on at the time (TAC) that, it turned out, did absolutely nothing for my cancer. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Lost my hair, sick as a dog, missed work, all for naught. That chemo came to a screeching halt in October when it was determined that my tumor had grown considerably.

We quickly decided to move from neoadjuvant to adjuvant chemotherapy and had the tumor removed the old fashioned way – via sharp knife and talented doctor. A section of the tumor was sent for profiling, which came back with discouraging results, showing it to be resistant to the majority of chemotherapy choices. One of the chemo regimens that showed the least resistance was the one I just completed 6 weeks ago, the previously blogged about and frequently whined about Cisplatin and Gemcitabine.

In most minds, breast cancer treatment equals hair loss, but not with this regimen of chemo. That’s the one and only good thing about the Cis/Gem combo.

Once TAC ended, within about 6-8 weeks I began to notice a baby fine haze of darkness on my head and eyebrows. At one point I actually thought I had a smudge of something on my eyebrow area and tried to wipe it off, then realized it was new hair! By Christmas the baby fine haze had morphed into a sort of Euro-funky-skinhead sort of chic.

December 2010
So, here I am. It’s been over 7 months since the hair cell eating chemo ended and my hair has been allowed to grow. Right now it's only about an inch and a half long...shorter than I'd hoped after 7 months growth. I'm convinced that the chemo I just completed arrested the growth somehow. But I'm thankful to have this little bit...truly I am. Only, odd thing is, it seems someone else’s hair has taken the place of my old hair. Instead of my usual thick, somewhat wavy locks, my new do consists of a much finer and very curly crop of hair.

I knew this was a possibility, having read about something affectionately called “chemo curls”…and now those curls have come to live on my head. Like I said, I have someone else’s hair.

March 2011

Good start on a mullet. March 2011
 The hair color, at least, is the same. I did not lose the pigment that sometimes occurs following chemo, leading to a head full of white hair, though it does seem I have quite a few more grey hairs than before.

As far as style goes, I've gone from a nice Jewish boy look (think Adam Sandler), to my current, slightly longer locked, Will Ferrell style. Next stop, Mr. Kotter…or maybe Chia Patti.

I actually went to my hairdresser, Amanda, at Enve last week…first one in about 10 months! Not sure what she could do with these short little curls, but I was anxious to at least get rid of the weird mullet that was beginning to form on the back of my neck. She actually managed to blow dry and flat iron my hair, leaving it somewhat straight and a half inch longer. A miracle, for sure! Being this short, though, I don't think I'll trust myself with a flat iron for a while. I don't care for blisters on my fingers or head.

I would have loved to come out looking like Halle Berry, but it’s going to take a lot more than a haircut to make that happen.

I try not to complain about these curls (very often) since it definitely beats no hair at all (as David sweetly reminds me). I do get compliments, but am always suspicious. I haven’t decided if they’re genuine or sympathy induced. I seem to have lots of friends who are pretty bad liars.

And when all is said and done, a good baseball hat still comes in handy now and then.

At my birthday celebration last month.

The mullet is gone.
I'm thinking I could get used to this.

Eh...I don't think so.


  1. I really do like the curls. Of course, I have had straight hair my whole curls are the "unknown" for me. Your hair has grown alot. It has been so good to see more of you recently!

  2. Praying for complete healing. YOu are an awesome warrior. God will use you and your journey in mighty ways.(I'm sure that has already begun)Praying God's peace and comfort as you continue this road. Love ya= Kay

  3. You look good here. I like your style. Your courage and confidence is so inspiring, I must say. Nice sharing and keep posting.
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  4. You are adorable!! Found you whilst googling cancer/radiation/bolus stuff.
    You made me laugh, so thank you. All the best to you~