Monday, November 2, 2009

Hair Obsession

It takes a lot of work to stay healthy. I mean, not just normal healthy, but 'let's kick this cancer in the butt healthy' (Harsh language for me, I know. But we're talking cancer here. Time for tough talk.) Anyway with all the juicing, protein drinks, power breakfasts, supplements, ionic bath treatments, cardio workouts--the routine pretty much takes up my whole day.

But when I do get a few extra minutes, I inevitably find myself at the computer researching ways to save my hair. Not that it can be done--I'm assured with my kind of chemo it will come out. But there are plenty of snake oil salesman that would like you to believe otherwise.

Some methods are even pretty legitimate, just not very well researched. For instance, in 2001 some scientists tested a cream on some poor mice, then put them through chemo. And they only lost hair on the half of their bodies that didn't have the cream. The cream ironically slows hair growth. But since the chemo is seeking out cells that grow quickly, it apparently ignored the hair follicles that had the cream. And the best part is that you can wash it off afterwards and the hair goes back to normal. But I can't find a thing about that magic cream any more recent than 2001. Nada. Zip.

Then there are ice caps. Apparently they're widely used throughout Europe and Australia. Women sit with ice on their heads during their chemo sessions. Apparently the drugs don't like that climate and their hair stays in. But docs in the U.S. speculate that if the chemo drug isn't getting to the hair follicles, it might not be making it to the brain either. And as much as I would like to keep my hair, I DON'T want brain cancer even more.

Finally we have vitamin E. Anecdotal evidence shows that taking mega-doses of vitamin E right before chemo can sometimes either avoid or delay hair loss. And how easy is that, to just take a few vitamin pills before going in? But again docs speculate that antioxidants feed the cancer cell as well healthy cells. I don't personally believe that. And it hasn't been studied enough for there to be any definitive answers. But since I won't be getting a second chance at this game, I want to do it right the first time. My oncologist is ok with me taking antioxidants, just not the mega doses, and not right before the treatment.

So there it is, my dilemma and obsession. Can't ever seem to find an answer, just more and more questions. Meanwhile, the wig is ready and waiting.


Kimi said...

When else in her life can a woman shave her head and still be considered sane?

I say don't interfere with the treatment, buy some super-cute scarves and hats, and dive in head (or hair) first!

Except that it's not me faced with losing my hair, so you should really disregard any advice I have for you.

Either way, you're still the bomb dot com.

EVO SIX said...

I think that you would be absolutely beautiful regardless of whether or not you lose your hair. Plus I agree there are some pretty dang cute scarves out there that could really add to any outfit. Who knows! Maybe even bro pepper will want to start wearing them! Love you much! Thanks for your testimony yesterday. You're inspiring and certainly a pillar or strength!

Suzanne Reese said...

still the bomb dot com? I wonder if that's been taken. I'll have to look it up. Thanks ladies for your encouragement!

Terresa said...

The first two sentences of this post say it all... I mean, I'm trying to be healthy & all, but then if you throw cancer into the mix, I fear I'd need a Phd, an army, and a choir of angels on my side. You seem to have all three.

You can do it! Rock the wigs & scarves & hats! is just hair, right?

Whitney M. Reese said...

Momma, I agree with what the amazing people above me are saying. Hair is just hair. I know that if i was in your situation I might think differently but you should be proud of who you are at all times! Be proud to be fighting this! I don't want you to look in the mirror everyday and have a stream of negative thoughts run through your head. Life is too short. Instead I wish you could see how amazing you are and how your soon to be bald head will be a sign of the strength and courage that the Lord knows you have. You will always be beautiful :) So love who you are!

Katie Parker said...

Good luck with the chemo, Suzanne! I wish I could say something magical to fix everything for you. Know we're rooting for you! :-)