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Coping With Hair Loss

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When you begin chemotherapy or start losing your hair, you may want to cut it very short to ease into the transition.

If you do lose all your hair, you have a choice of cover-ups, or you can go bald. Most women, however, want to find some way to disguise their bareness — and keep warm. Then it's a matter of what you're most comfortable with: a wig, a scarf, a hat, or a baseball cap.

Hair loss and your children

From the time they can reach and grab, babies like to feel their mother's hair. It's a part of the warmth and nurturing process, especially during feeding time. As they grow up, little girls often like to play hairdresser with their mother, and boys often get a kick out of pulling their mom's ponytail. So it's natural that hair loss could be an issue for some kids. One patient's children, too young to understand what breast cancer was all about, thought she had a “hair disease.” All they could see was that she'd lost her hair.

Try to prepare your children for your hair loss before it occurs, reassuring them that it will grow back. Let them help you pick out a wig or scarves.

Some children may be frightened by your bald head. The more positive you and your partner can be about it, the better. But if they are still uncomfortable with your lack of hair, you may choose to keep it covered when they are around.

Hair loss and your partner

Hair is sexy — there's no getting around it. Losing your hair may make you feel less attractive and seductive. Of course, the intimacy you have with your partner, or can establish with a new partner, doesn't necessarily depend on looks. Appearance is a minor player in the bigger scope of what draws people to one another.

You and your partner have to come to terms with the other changes to your body, including loss of part or all of your breast. You may be able to apply some of those same coping skills to dealing with sparse hair or no hair: experimenting and communicating about what you both feel comfortable with.

Personal Quote

“My two-year-old daughter had a much harder time than I did with my hair loss. She loved sitting on my lap and playing with my hair, and she was terribly upset when it started to fall out. I got a wig very quickly after that, and it seemed to help. But when she'd wake up in the middle of the night, I'd have to pull the wig on—half asleep and in the dark—before going in to see to her.”

— Nora

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