Before I started chemotherapy in March 2011 I had had the same hairdo for 20 years. It was long and very dark brown and curly and I loved it. It was, I believed, my crowning glory and I imagined I wouldn’t be the same without it. I found that I was the same without it. I am not my hair but I like having hair on my head.
When my hair started falling out it was shocking to hold great big long clumps in my hands, so my husband clipped it all off and then I looked on the internet for a gallery of pictures to show me how soon my hair would grow back and what it would look like. I thought that way I would feel less sad. At the time, I couldn’t find one so I thought that one day I would put up my own for someone who wanted the same information. So, today is that day.
The pictures are random because I found chemotherapy gruelling. Ideally, the photographs would have been taken at a specific time of the month in the same place in the same outfit. Unfortunately, they were taken all over the place and sometimes there is one month between them and other times six weeks. I took pictures whenever I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Oooh new hair do,’ which happened a lot more than I had thought it would.
I had six rounds of chemotherapy, every three weeks between March and August 2011. My hair started falling out after the first round and I was completely bald by the third round. It started growing back after the fifth round and three weeks after the last round it was fuzzy, grey and thick and thin along its length. Three weeks after I finished chemotherapy I got my husband to shave my head again so it would be even. And my hair has been growing fairly steadily since then.
I had one haircut in April 2012 as it was a bit of an odd shape and then in September 2012 I got my husband to trim the back off with the kitchen scissors to turn it into a bob, rather than the mullet it felt like.
My new hair was completely grey so I coloured it my old colour. I didn’t want grey hair. I wanted to look in the mirror and see a me I recognised. I used a ‘natural’ hair dye one without ammonia in case my scalp was sensitive.
By the summer of 2015, I was so tired of dying my hair every two weeks that then embarked on a journey to let my grey hair grow out.