Bald Days

It has been almost 3 months since I have been bald. It was odd at the beginning, I felt uncomfortable about this appearance. However as the time passed, I got used to it, I even enjoy it now. For years I have been long haired woman. I used to carry lots of hair bands, carried a hair brush wherever I went. I paid attention that the hair is not in my way when I work. I wanted to make sure my hair did not fall in front of camera when I am shooting. I was bored all of those without even thinking about it.

Finally my chemo therapy is ended after 4.5 months later. If I compare last year’s chemo days to this year, there was no serious side effects except being bald. The second week of the first chemo treatment, my sister shaved my head. I officially started my bald days. That week I had to deal with my ‘new look’. Very clean, a bit pinkish but something missing. Then I accept baldness and moved on. Actually after 3 weeks, new hair started to grow slowly on my smooth skull. It is more like peach fuzz.

Luckily I am a woman who does not care much about the hair situation. Hair is just part of my appearance for me wether there is or lack of it, I do not care. My brain is above everything. However I accept that for many women losing hair is a big deal. In my case when my doctor told me I will lose my hair due to chemo drugs, I just went ahead shaved it off, before even losing in it. Therefore I prepared myself for the situation in a way.
Before I got rid of my hair, I bought two wigs. Similar my own brown hair. A few days later I decided to take advantage of my baldness. I could be anybody, really.
Changing my look during my chemo days could be fun. So I started to buy cheap wigs from Ebay, many colors, shapes, and lengths, such as curly black, shiny silver, wavy red, a very long straight purple and more.
What I did not know just because you buy a wig, does not mean you will wear it!

First of all, my shaven head was very sensitive. I could not possible wear anything. The baby bottom pink head was extremely tender. Forget wearing anything, even touching the pillow hurt.

I was not expecting that. I did not know what to do. Then help came from the bald Indian at home. Nothing like a having a clever man around, he is handy when I need it. He suggested to put on Coco butter lotion on my delicate skin. I started to put on 5-6 times a day. It worked. The tenderness of the skin faded away in a short time. Now my head was like a bright lightbulb proudly shining around. Let me share with you my experience in case you go bald one day. You might find it useful for those stressful days.

bald head

It is OK to be bald for a man, but always gets too much attention if you are a woman. If that was going to bother you, first try to prepare yourself mentally.

Try wearing a wig, put on a scarf, or a hat, the choice is yours. Make an effort to find your new style. Chemo drugs can make you very tired, therefore I advise you to shop around before you start the therapy.

There are many choices on wigs. Long, short, practical, fancy, name any. A good wig is costly, try before you buy it. I found out that a short wig is easier to use.
I knew I would not wear wig much for two main reasons, so I got cheaper versions.
First of all as I mentioned, the skin was too sensitive to wear a wig at the beginning. I was putting the wig, two minutes later I was taking out, because it hurt my head.

Secondly the wig was difficult to wear. It kept sliding on my head.
I learned later, you supposed to wear the wig on top of wig cap. How will I know? I have never used a wig before. Youtube has very good information about these. You really need a training to wear a wig.
I used my wigs to take photos and put them away, I could not used them much, it was too much trouble for me. I choose easy way; stick with who I am: ‘bald and free’ .

I was getting chemo therapy during winter. I felt quite cold especially at night.  I could not sleep with with polar beanies. They were too hot to wear at home. I bought a night cap. That was right thickness but still bothered bare head.

I knew then I was in trouble. I had to find a solution, so I started to sew my own hats. I used my worn out old t-shirts to make night caps. They were soft and kept me warm, so the mission accomplished!
When you go out, you should wear hat. If you are going to expose to sun your most vulnerable organ, do not spend more than 3-5 minutes. I am warning you, unless you like to walk around like a tomato head, be my guest. Never underestimate burning sensation, it will cause sleepless nights. Chemo drugs makes your skin tremendously sensitive to sun.

Wear a hat or a scarf and use generous amount cream ( lotion & sunscreen ) on the bald area every day. A fragrant-free lotion helps to heal dry, itchy skin. Also helps for your future hair growing. Instead of sandpaper, you may have soft close haircut.
Brush your head every day with a soft brush. Do not say, “why would I brush my hairless top?” It helps to get rid of dead skins. If you do not use shampoo, at least use creamy soap when you shower. I washed my head olive oil based soap with lukewarm water almost every day.
Do not worry about when will your hair grow back. It will come back eventually. It is not the end of the world being bald. Between me and you, if you are an obsessed woman with your look, then I must say, karma got you. It is time to pay attention real important things in the life.

Nurses kept telling me ‘your hair will grow, do not worry’. Every week I had lab test, Julie my lab technician used to say “it will come back, salt & pepper style usually”. I must admit I loved the salt & pepper emphasis. Have you heard the description of grey hair that elegant before?

I was wondering why nurses and staff try to support women about hair that much? I mean I must say it is a bit silly for me. I may die during chemo or after the therapy in a short time, and I should concern about my hair? I did not think so. In spite of me, majority of women care about their hair a lot. Perhaps that is why even an ordinary grocery store have at least one aisle of hair products.

Do not get me started on talking about fake eyelashes, eyeliner, billion choices of make-up products.The amount of those products are incredible. You can not really blame companies which produce these things. If they did not sell, they would not produce them. Ladies would it be better if you spend more time on your health than your appearance? Perhaps you can speed up of getting better medicines if you demand.
20 years ago, there was no HPV vaccine. Needless to say there was hair dye 20 years ago. HPV vaccine was started to be used in Europe, in 2006. 
Protect your fragile head. Make sure that you do not get cold. Therefore get used to use hats and scarves. They are useful and help to create your new style.

night cap

As I was drinking a cup of tea in my garden and thinking ‘I like baldness’ a small insect attacked my eye. This tiny kamikaze bug caused quite a pain within a few second.
Then I realized when I was washing my face not only I lost hair, also lost my eyebrows and eyelashes. Therefore I officially started to wear sunglasses everywhere.

Nothing could prevent me going outside in these beautiful spring days. Not bugs, flies, strong wind, I will enjoy my walking outside days.

I was fed up with grey, cloudy, rainy days and colors, I bought a pair of yellow sunglasses “it creates saturated colors” and I felt even better. I could protect my eyes and enjoy bright greens and red colors even more.

When I looked at my face in the mirror, there was something missing. Not only hair part, the facial symmetry was gone. I said myself, ‘well, that is a new challenge’. I bought eye pencils, and started to draw eyebrow every morning. A few days drawings were not even, but I get better at shortly. I started to draw black angry eyebrow, blue laughing eyebrow, just have to fun with my face.

Years ago when I was younger I met a woman, who had permanent purple eyebrow tattoo on her face. I thought that was very interesting. I never knew one day I would draw my own eyebrow. Life is full of surprises.
While I am enjoying hair-free days, I would advise this: do not dwell on hair. The most important thing to win the cancer battle. Do not create unnecessary sadness to yourself. It is not the hair will keep you alive, it is the desire to live.  Do whatever makes you happy, feel confident in yourself. If you like to wear a hat, or scarf, or wig, just do it. I tried them all. I choose to stay bald and focus on my daily exercises, eating healthily and lean more about vitamins.
I educate myself on nutrition and did not think about much baldness. Staying positive is the key of getting better. Do not forget, it is not important being bald, it important to pass chemo days as healthy as possible.

Actually you can even enjoy being hairless. There is no bad hair day, no shaving armpits or legs, change your style with cool scarves. Why not? Do not think about what others will say if they see you bald. If a person makes fun of you or say something rude about your baldness, it means this only: that person does not carry of characteristic of being human, so do not pay attention.
Go ahead, you can do it.