CaringBridge Staff | 08.30.22
Pictured above is Courtney Lamb, whose story is part of the CaringBridge How We Heal Series.
For many, hair is one of the most beautiful and important parts of personal identity. Hair helps everyone express parts of their personality and cultural upbringing. It can even connect people to precious memories, like a first haircut as a child, or your mother brushing your hair each morning before school.
Hair is an incredibly special part of who we are, and so when hair starts to fall out from chemotherapy and other treatments, it feels like a loss. For those experiencing cancer-related hair loss, know that these feelings of sadness are valid. Losing your hair is a loss, and on top of everything else you’re going through, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
Cancer-related hair loss is a significant life change, but you are not alone. We asked members of the CaringBridge community who have been in this position to share their stories and words of encouragement. Through their quotes, we hope you find strength and confidence to move forward during this new stage of life.
Find Empowerment in Your New Look
Whether you let your hair fall away on its own or decide to shave, try to embrace your new look with confidence. Consider adopting an attitude of self-discovery and use this as an opportunity to try new things.
Experiment with accessories, such as hats, wigs, scarves and even bold jewelry. Embrace any feelings of liberation that may come from the time you’ll save on hair care. If you struggle, seek out inspiration from others and their stories about cancer-related hair loss.
“I shaved my hair off when it started to fall out. I found it empowering when things felt so out of my control. I found cute hats, caps, and scarves to wear. Six months post chemo. It does grow back.”
“I remember the first time I saw myself bald. My hair came out in the shower, kind of shocking. Know that everything else will fall into place. . .your hair will grow back, and having short hair for a woman is empowering, you feel free.”
“I found losing my hair was one of the most difficult parts of my cancer journey because it was an announcement to the world that I was sick. But those feelings only lasted briefly and I came to appreciate my quick morning routine without having to wash/dry my hair. And no more bad hair days! When it started to grow back, it also gave me the opportunity to experiment with short hair for the first time in my life! As many others have said, this too shall pass. You got this!!!”
Channel Worries & Nerves Toward Healing
It’s normal to feel anxious when you start to lose your hair, but you don’t have to dwell on these feelings. Consider taking control of your fears by channeling that energy into something positive.
When you start to worry, try to reframe your thoughts. Think about the kind things you’d say to a loved one if they were going through the same thing. Apply those words to yourself, and direct your valuable energy toward healing, self-care and the future.
If you struggle to find the words, read these cancer hair loss quotes to inspire you.
“Don’t worry about your hair loss, use that energy in getting better. I was eating ice cream and had an itch. When I scratched my head, my hair fell into the ice cream. I looked at my husband and said, ‘Let’s shave my head, one less thing to worry about!’”
“My advice: try to embrace every day and love what you are given. Take everything one day at a time, and turn it all over to God and try not to worry. Often, what you worry about never comes to pass.”
Know That This is Temporary
Many hardships are temporary, including hair loss from cancer. Remind yourself that what you’re experiencing won’t last forever.
You may have a mix of emotions during your healing journey. You may feel angry or sad. Meet your feelings with respect and kindness, and know that this too shall pass. Try to notice the positive things around you to help you cope with what you’re experiencing.
“I read a book during chemo that said this is all temporary. I repeated that over and over as I grabbed handfuls of hair. I cried as I screamed ‘this is all temporary.’”
“Hang in there, as this too shall pass. Our hair doesn’t define who we are. Take the time to rock some fun hats, scarves, headbands. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and have fun with it at the same time. I’m 8 months post-chemo, and just had my first “haircut” this week. I’m loving my new look!”
Know Hair Loss Does Not Define Your Beauty & Worth
Losing your hair from cancer can feel traumatic. But remember, your hair does not define you. No matter how you look, real beauty comes from genuineness and self-love. The most important person’s opinion is your own, so affirm your worthiness and beauty.
“You’re still beautiful no matter what, hair or no hair.”
“My hairdresser shaved my hair off for me once I knew chemo was scheduled. He found me two attractive wigs that I wore to school and church, and many people didn’t know I’d lost my own hair. When it came back in, it was curly and much more fun than before. There are many more important things to deal with than hair!”
“You’re still beautiful and handsome, hair doesn’t make your personality.”
What Advice Would You Share?
To those experiencing cancer-related hair loss, you are not alone, and there are communities that understand what you’re going through.
If you’re looking for a place to start, consider trying the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery app. This free program is specifically designed to connect people facing breast cancer with trained volunteers who are breast cancer survivors. Sometimes speaking with others who have been in your position can help inspire confidence and strength.
For those who have gone through a hair-loss journey, please feel free to share your advice and words of encouragement in the comments below. Your story may help give courage to those going through hair loss.
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