I am completely bald again. I really don't mind. Hair is over-rated for me. For over a year, I have sported a short Afro because I was so tired of fooling with my shoulder length hair. It had to be permed every 6-8 weeks, trimmed, and styled. If I wanted curls, I had to roll it every night, and then fuss with it the next morning. Most of the time, I combed it back and pulled it into a ball at the nape of my neck or left it dangling down in a pig tail. Even permed, my hair was never totally straight. After a run, it would almost revert back to it's natural state, lol. It takes up too much time to keep it up, and if I pay a beautician to do my hair for me, it's expensive. So in October of 2009, my sister cut it off for me. No more perms to deal with. Going natural is the way to go. A male friend trimmed my Afro close to my head about once a month to keep it neat. I loved getting up in the mornings, adding a moisturizer, brushing it, and just going.
I had only two chemotherapy treatments in December, but my hair started to shed. With the next two weeks off from chemotherapy, I thought that I would keep my hair this time. During that time, my mouth sores healed, my taste buds were awake again, my nails have not darkened any more, and the tingling sensations and slight pain at the tips of my fingers have ceased. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to lose the big toe nail on my right foot. The nail has turned brown and has started separating from the toe bed. That's okay, too. I've lost toe nails from running, so it's no big deal. The nose bleeds have finally stopped. I'm still pretty anemic (tired, breathing problems, and cold, unless I'm having a hot flash). There is never any relief from the hot flashes - every hour, all day, and every day. The hot flashes are a side effect of every treatment protocol that I've been on over the past three years. They are inconvenient, but they are just a part of my life.
The hair shedding was so gradual at first that it was hardly noticeable, but then it started collecting on my clothes. The bath tub was full of little hairs, as were the bathroom floor and sink, and clean up became a real chore. My scarf that I wrap around my head during the night would also collect hairs by the next morning. But my Afro was so short and thick, that in the mornings, I simply combed out the dead hairs and kept going. There were no visible bald spots. It was coming out pretty evenly. My scalp was a little tender, which is a clear sign that the hair was separating from the follicles, but I still didn't think I would lose much hair. I'm losing hair on other body parts as well: leg hair, nose hair, and pubic hair. My underarm hair has not grown back since I last shaved. I know, TMI! My thick eyebrows and eyelashes are fully intact so far, however. Hair loss during chemotherapy is a very strange (and random) process.
On Saturday, after washing my hair, I noticed that the bath tub had more hair than as of late. When I towel dried my hair, a large patch of hair was missing on the right side of my head, from my temple to about the middle of my head. It was completely smooth. The funny thing is that this was also the first bald spot that I had when I had chemotherapy in 2003. On Monday, I was able to just run my hand across my head and come away with a hand full of hair. It was time to ask my male friend to shave my head. As he cut away the hair, he also noticed several smaller bald spots at the top of my head. The remaining hairs clearly had to go. As the scalp was tender from the hair falling out, he carefully razored off the last of the remaining hair. Good riddance! I no longer have to worry about cleaning up all of the loose hairs all over my town house.
Thankfully, today my blood counts were just high enough to restart my chemotherapy treatments. The platelets are not clotting, and the lab could not run the kidney and liver tests that they needed, but we still proceeded. I've never had blood pressure problems, but the numbers were out the wazoo when they checked. We may have to deal with that at some point in the future. Most importantly, my oncologist decided that I should remain in the clinical trial. Apparently, my bald head has taken command of the situation, lol. We are back on track.