Saturday, March 28, 2009


I thought I was prepared. The thing most talked about since I found out I had cancer was the thing that happened today. I lost my hair. All of it. It had been coming out more and more and I had a few bald spots here and there, but today was almost like a horror movie for me. My scalp and my hair were hurting worse than normal. Yes! My hair actually hurt! Several days ago Tom and I actually had this conversation:

Me: This is driving me crazy! I can feel my hair (hair in my hands and I'm pulling on it lightly)

Tom: I can see you feeling your hair.

Me: NO! I mean my hair can feel!

Tom: (looking at me like I'm insane) are feeling your hair.

Me: My. Hair. Has. Feeling.

Tom: I have no idea what you are trying to say.

Me: Forget it.

Tom: I'll try. Believe me. I'll try.

Me: My hair hurts.

Tom: (Deeeeep long sighhhhhh)

Today I got in the shower and when I pulled my hands out from lathering my hair, it looked like most of my hair was attached to my hands. It didn't seem real. I kept rinsing my hands and putting them back in my hair and bringing them back out only to see more and more hair coming out. I rinsed my hair then reached up to lightly touch my head. It felt like all my hair was still there. Ok, maybe that was it, I thought. Maybe that's all that is going to come out today. I thought I'd test to see how fragile my hair situation was and pulled together small bunch of hair - about 20 or 30 strands. I gently tugged on the little ponytail of hair and the whole dang thing came free from my scalp.

I started crying. This was it. This was the next step in the process. I couldn't believe how easily my hair was falling out. The slightest touch would detach the hair from my head. I stayed in the shower as long as I could - crying and mourning the loss of my hair. I've always loved my hair. There was not a hairstyle I couldn't do with my hair. Even at it's longest I could curl it and it would hold curl. It was thick and dark and easy to take care of. I'm told when you finish chemo your hair will come back in differently than what you've had before. They say if you had straight hair, your new hair will come back in curly and perhaps a different color. I don't don't want curly or a different color. I want what I had.

Another reason I wasn't ready to lose my hair was simply because it will now become harder to hide the fact that I am a cancer patient when I go out in public. Unless I'm looking especially good that day, I don't want people staring at me. Plus, every time I look in the mirror I'll see a sick woman looking back.

Anyway...I got out of the shower and left behind a mound of hair. I got dressed then slowly started brushing my hair. I could see big bald spots forming and my hair was looking extremely thin in some places. I went downstairs in tears and told Tom I needed to get my head shaved. Thankfully I didn't cry the entire time I was getting my hair buzzed off. It was traumatic and terrible.

I wasn't sure how the kids would react, so I thought I'd make it as easy on them as possible. I had on a wig when they walked in the door. Jacob didn't pay much mind to it, but Allison was curious as to why I was wearing the wig. I bent my head down and told her to pull the wig off. She very carefully grabbed the wig and pulled it off. The look of sadness in her eyes almost got me crying again. I sat there a long time waiting for Jacob to notice. Finally I had to tell him to look at me. I believe his exact remark was "Oh wow, does this mean you started chemo today?" I laughed. I love that his 7 year old mind still isn't able to process exactly what is going on with me.

I'll now continue on my journey wearing wigs, scarves and silly hats. God has my hand.


  1. I remember helping my mom shave her head. She told me too that she could "feel her head".. so you are not crazy at all! She wanted to do it on her terms.

    I know how hard this day is.

    I will say.. when my mom's grew back.. it was exactly like her old hair, straight and pretty.. just very soft. I bet yours will be just as beautiful as before.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Keep the Faith!


  2. Everyone told me to get my hair cut short before I lost my hair. Somehow they felt it would be less traumatic. It wasn't. There is no feeling like that when you have to ask your husband to buzz your hair. For you or him. Believe it or not after time I got used to it. When my hair first started growing back it was a little curly but then after a couple of cuts went back to the way it was.

    Sheri, you've had a tough time so far. Hopefully, the doctor will get on top of the side effects for you and it will become a little easier. Hang in there.

  3. I remember my sister when she was losing her hair..and when it all came out she looked beautiful.. she would wear the biggest earings she could find..and let the world see her as she was... a beautiful, stunning bald headed woman.. Sheri, your beauty will shine through...hang in there..stay strong..your optimism amazes me.. your courage and your strength amaze me more..sending my thoughts and prayers to you and yours..

  4. Sheri - Everyone looks at us like we're crazy when we say it HURTS to lose your hair. To me, it felt like someone was constantly pulling my hair. And it then it happened just like you...I was in the shower washing my hair and my hands became full of the last thing I thought defined me as a woman. But guess what? You may not think so now, but I guarantee you are absolutely gorgeous w/o your hair. And by sacrificing your hair or breasts or whatever else you lose, you've stood up & slapped cancer straight in the face. I tried to look at it as for every hair strand I lost, I killed an equal amount of cancer cells.

    I also wore a wig because I work in an office full of men, but embrace your beauty in whatever way you can. When you're feeling up to it, go have your makeup done & a mani/pedi, too!

    Stay strong, my friend. I agree with're courage & strength AMAZE ALL OF US!!

    Hugs & prayers to you,

  5. Losing your hair is so painful both emotionally and physically. I had long hair too so I felt like cancer took my breasts and my hair. It does come in curly and very soft. You will look great in a pixie cut! I have a few more grays now and my hair is a bit darker. And Scarves are the in thing now....lucky! I raided my goodwill and got a ton or scarves. I refused to get a wig....It was probably denial?!? Stay strong!

  6. Hi Sheri,

    I'm posting to offer one more e-shoulder to lean on. I'm a physician-survivor. My children were 1, 3, and 5 years old when I was dx with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1990. I've been in and out of Rx ever since.

    I had to close my medical practice. I've devoted myself to helping others get good care and live fully.

    Needless to say, a topic close to my heart is helping the children. One of my favorite stories is from when my hair fell out and I put on my wig for the first time. I walked into the kids' room, trying to act non-chalant. My middle child (almost 4 yrs old) looks up and says, "Oh, Mom! I like your new hair. I like it better than your old hair!"

    I realize you love your hair and the wig is NOT better than your old hair. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that you are doing what you have to do to get better again. And you are unwittingly teaching your children valuable life lessons:
    1) Sometimes you have make sacrifices of things you value for things you value MORE.
    2) It is normal and healthy to feel sad when you lose something important to you, even if you are 100% sure it is the right thing to do.
    3) It is normal and healthy to express your sadness. Expressing grief helps you accept and adjust to the loss.
    4) The grief is temporary. So even though you expect to be without your hair for a few months, your grief will last only days or weeks.

    Sheri, I shared what I learned over the years of dealing with the twin challenges of kids and cancer in WHEN A PARENT HAS CANCER.

    I've also written two children's books for healthy kids who have a parent with cancer. Komen for the Cure sells THE HOPE TREE on its website.

    Feel free to email me if I can offer support as a co-survivor/mom.

    With hope,

  7. The same thing happened to me. Although I started to gag because of the wet hair feeling. I turned off the shower wrapped a towel around myself and bent over a towel and buzzed myself. I felt like I took control of my hair falling out. I did not want to pull handfulls out. I had told my girls (who are a bit older) that I was going to loose may hair either that day or the next. I went to pick them up at school and they did not bat an eyelash at my scarf.They wanted to touch my head.

    My hair hurt too, that's how I knew it was coming.

    Quick tip a friend told me that after you shave your head it still has stubble that needs to come out that hurts. Take a sticky lint roller (the kind made out of tape) and lint roll your head and it will come off just as easy as pie :)

    Come over to my blog, I have a post I did recently of my hair growing back and have pictures and dates so you can see how quick it does grow back.

  8. Thanks, y'all. In my mind I know it's silly... it is just hair, but it is just another part of me this damn cancer has taken away. The advice and loving words help more than you can know. I appreciate all of y'all so much. I don't say it enough, but thank you. As this goes on, I'm getting weaker and more depressed. I try to do all my venting and whining on my blog so I can smile for my children the rest of the day. Each of you with your prayers and kind word comments help keep that smile on my face.
    I've been thinking of getting one of those child punching bag things and writing the word "cancer" on it - then just beating the crap out of it on a daily basis. The way things are going though I'd probably end up losing the fight and back in the hospital.
    Thanks, y'all. Thanks so much.

  9. If expressing your down thoughts here helps you to be upbeat for your kids, then keep on venting and whining!

    The first time my hair started falling out in a real way, I also felt like it was a horror flick. No matter how much we expect it, we are never prepared.

    I haven't shaved my hair, because I always wear scarves (for religious reasons), so even the little hair that I have sticking out makes me look "normal." The flip side is that I keep experiencing more and more hair falling out. We all find our own balance.

    The comments from our kids are both strengthening and entertaining. My youngest (10) took a look at me the other day and said "if you are going to get a wig, now's the time..." She was so matter of fact.

    The punching bag is a GREAT IDEA!!

  10. Sheri I still remember when my mom would wake me up in the morning. The first thing I would do was rub her head. It was beautiful, she was beautiful.

    Remember the same thing the chemo kills as your hair is the cancer. For every hair in the bottom of the shower another cancer cell has been destroyed.

    I know how beautiful you will be without hair. I hope you have a head blanket. My mom had a very soft pink baby blanket for her head. It got cold easily. She rarely wore her wig, she looked so much better without it.

    I'm glad you can feel God holding your hand.

  11. Hair, it is such a big part of us. My hair actually hurt also. It will come back in and it may be different for a bit. It took about 18 months for my original texture to come back, but it did. As for the original color I have colored my hair for so long I can not speak to that. I say get the punching bag - it would probably help the kids too!

  12. You nearly broke my heart until you said God has your hand. now I am sure you will be ok....after all "if God be fore you, who (or what) be against you!


  13. Awww Sheri, I'm so sorry...I have alopecia, it just feels like when you lose your hair, no matter what the reason, you are losing part of your femininity...
    If you dont already have them, there is a woman who sells Yaffa wigs online & ebay, she is a doll, and has great prices. online you can find her if you search "yaffa wig outlet" her name is samantha, and her ebay Id is talesfromapalmbeachcloset.
    I know that doesnt make up for your hair loss, but at least you can have great looking wigs!
    Hugs Maire

  14. Sheri, Stop by my blog and pick up your award, Congrats!

  15. Sheri, I feel you. I described it as feeling like hair was coming out of the shower head instead of water. My hair did come in darker and curly but the curly eventually went away. Keep your head up and walk proud. I know it stinks to be the Chemo Poster Girl but for every person who looks at you and sees a sick person someone else sees an inspiration - a survivor.

  16. I've been sitting here for the longest time wanting to say something, but I have no words. Thank you for the last sentence.
    "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isa. 41:10

  17. I'm praying for you and this journey that you are on. God is holding onto you.

  18. Sheri,

    You'll look beautiful no matter what.

    I am praying for you!




  20. Hi Sheri

    Yep it is tough the day you lose your hair.You keep hoping it won't happen to you but then it does. I still have a bag of the stuff. My hair actually felt heavy on my tender scalp even though it was fine and chin length. I cut it short but the remaining hairs would tangle into rats' nests. My scalp remained tender for several weeks but now is getting much less sensitive. I finished with chemo 3 weeks ago and still don't have any. Any day, I hope. Keep strong!

  21. Sheri,
    I am sitting here with chill bumps as I read your blog! I have been praying for you and will continue for God to keep his hands on you, to wrap his arms around you and carry you through this! I want to say.."what can I do for you?" But I know the best thing to do is pray! And That I can and will do!
    Phil 4:13 says...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" He will give you the strength you need!!!
    Love ya,