Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hair

It started Christmas Eve, with a few strands on the pillow in the morning. I had already noticed some thinning that week, but it wasn't much; only noticeable by someone who inspected his hair daily for that sort of thing. Others couldn't tell anything was different.

The hair on the pillow was the proof that it had begun.

That night, he showered for the first time that week. He can only shower when he's not accessed. I washed his hair for the first time in two weeks. With scars all over (in places I can't even remember), and a tender head from the chemo, washing it has become yet another thing to be feared. I went ahead an washed it anyway, since it was starting to get itchy.

I did it very gently.

But the gentle massage was enough to signal the release of more hair, resulting in this all over the pillows:



By Christmas morning, it was falling in his eyes and down his neck.

By Christmas evening, it was itching so bad that he asked me to please pull some of it out.

So I did, feeling like a mother gorilla picking bugs, as I sat and pulled clumps of my son's hair out. They came out easily, requiring me to just run my fingers through his hair and gently pull. Anywhere from 5-25 strands would come out, and I would run my fingers through again for more.


It was a strange mixture of emotions I felt, trying to look happy so he didn't freak out over it, while mourning the loss of this boy's hair...and not wanting to stop until I had gotten every loose strand possible. It was--in a way--similar to the feeling of picking a scab and wanting to get it all, even though it would sting.

It didn't hurt Mason, though. He laid and watched the TV while I did this, looking nothing but calm and relaxed. After about half-an-hour, he fell asleep while I was still picking strands out after telling me that: yes, his head was starting to feel better.

That was about when my arm got tired and I decided to pull out the big gun:


Amazing revelations about using a lint roller on hair:

  • Do not, under any circumstances, roll this thing against the direction of hair growth!! ...unless you want to pull hairs out that aren't loose, and give your child a heart attack.    Not my greatest moment.
  • Rolling it on a {clean} shirt or pants before using it will make it less sticky, and it won't yank on things that are still rooted in!
  • Unless your roller rotates extremely loosely, do not use pressure to make it roll by itself. Instead, rotate your hand with the roller to create a rolling motion, and just lightly touch the hair. Much less yanking.

The lint roller worked pretty well--all things considered. I got the idea from the blog of a little girl who also has cancer. I thought it was a great idea...but the above information would have been very useful to know before hand. Or maybe you just have to have a mind that doesn't think to roll it in the wrong direction....

It is now the day after Christmas (making it two days after washing) and it is coming out in droves. He leaned against my sister's arm this morning, and she came away with a 2"x2" addition of his hair on her arm. I'm finding it on pillows, counters, and clothes. It is especially all over him. I used the lint roller on his hair (and clothes) again this morning, and it has helped...a little. And when I first woke up, I found that someone else had already used the lint roller to clean something he had been laying on, since it had been a new sticky sheet, and it was full of his hair. His hair is everywhere.

So what does he look like? Well, even with this much falling out, his hair still looks surprisingly full. The only places that you can really tell anything has fallen out are at the nape of his neck where he has a bald patch, and the front, where he has a receding hair line...unless you're me, who notices each new place his hair has thinned.

Here is a before and after, with a picture from Christmas Eve, and a picture taken today (the day after Christmas):


We've talked to him about his hair falling out, and let him know before hand that it would happen. He knew to expect it, and hasn't been upset over it. He just wants it to stop itching. In fact, now he asks to see the hair when I find some, or when I run my hand through it. He is curious to see what is happening to it, and has started asking where it goes when it falls out.

And for the record, I did think about just shaving it off (which was either recommended, or offered by anyone who has talked about his hair), but I ruled it out. He doesn't like the feeling of it in the first place, but with surgical scars, screw holes, EVD scars, and other tender spots I may not know about hiding on his head, I think it would turn out to be more traumatic than accessing his port.

I'll just deal with the mess.


Edit: About an hour after writing this post, his hair began basically "leaping" off his head. By midnight, his front and back bald spots are almost touching, and are getting wider by the hour. He may be completely bald by tomorrow night.

3 comments:

  1. Mason you handsome boy! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

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  2. Ah, sweet boy. Isn't it amazing how resilient little kids are? That is so great that he isn't really caring much about losing his hair. That's how Elena was too - just cared about how annoying it was to have it fall out.

    I think he is a very handsome boy!

    Oh and p.s. - I found out - my sister-in-law (who sent me the link to your blog) was roommates in college with your cousin, Stacie (sp?). So there you go. It's a small world. :)

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  3. Monica, you are so sweet! We hope you had a great Christmas, too!

    Briana: That's too funny! I love that she didn't care, and I can TOTALLY relate to how annoying it is when it's falling out.
    What a small world! Yep, Stacie is my cousin. I'm so glad your sister-in-law sent you the link! :)

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