The first week or so after I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2009 I was simply working on getting well enough to go home from the hospital after debulking surgery. For those of you unfamiliar with this cancer, I will mention that one of the first things to happen after diagnosis is that your doctor will schedule debulking surgery to remove the bulk of the cancer from the abdominal cavity. Chemo will follow and is intended to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
The chems used in chemotherapy work by killing off fast-growing cells. Cancer cells are fast growing, but so are hair cells, skin cells, blood cells, etc. That's why chemo patients struggle with low blood counts (red and white), skin and mouth ailments, and what often seems the most egregious of all, hair loss.
Once chemo is completed the normal body cells tend to regain their function. Hair will grow again.
When my chemo nurse told me that, yes, indeedy, ALL patients receiving carboplatin and paclitaxel (carbo/taxel) would lose their hair, I began googling to find out what was available in head coverings. I did get a wig but frankly, I feel more comfy (natural, if you please) wearing a scarf and/or hat. During the winter months I wore an assortment of knit caps. In the summer I wear scarves.
If you are newly diagnosed I will make the following suggestions:
1) Cotton scarves work the best. I have a particularly gorgeous silk scarf that my daughter bought for me and I do like to wear it with a hat when I want to dress up. But for the most part, my scarves are cotton.
2) I prefer a square scarf, about 24-36 inches square. Fold it over into a triangle, place it on the head, tying the ends in back. You can google and find websites that show how to tie the scarf. However, I quickly switched to using a pony-tail rubber band, one of the thicker kind and simply wrap it twice around the ends of the scarf. It's so much easier than wrestling with tying. Sometimes I will wrap it once, pulling the scarf ends all the way through, and then on the second wrap, pull the scarf ends only partially through the band. Fluff it a bit. That will leave a nice little bun at the neckline and it appears as if you had tied a bow. You could also buy fabric covered scrunchies in colors to match your scarves.
3) Be aware that scarves are sometimes rather high priced. Watch the sales and hit the teen sections...I've found nice scarves there.
4) The blue one in this photo was a very long rectangular scarf but the width was about 24 inches. So I simply cut it at 24 inches and hemmed the cut side by hand. You could use a sewing machine to hem if you prefer.
5) The long rectangular scarves will work but they must be wide enough that they will cover your head when drawn to the back for the tie. Pony tail rubber bands really work well on these scarves. Simply place the scarf over the head, draw everything to the back and place the rubber band.
6) Wear your scarf plain! Or cover with a cap for a sporty look! Or wear the scarf under a hat for a more dressy look.
Hope this has been helpful to newbies in the cancer world. You can go online to find resources for headcoverings. One is Tender Loving Care which is associated with the American Cancer Society. They have an assortment of relatively inexpensive caps. I have a couple from a similar source. But I generally prefer a simple scarf and cap.
Today's Scripture? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
If you are newly diagnosed with cancer, be comforted in knowing that others are walking the same path that you walk. Look to God and to them for encouragement, and in turn you will be ready to encourage others. Remember that all of our days are in God's hands and trust Him for comfort and strength. Bless you.