Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chopping My Hair

So, met with the oncologist last week and chemo will be starting in about a week. I will go to the hair dressers this week and chop my hair off. It is long enough that I can have a wig made from it, but that takes two months so I will also get another 1or 2 ready made wigs for the short term. I will be getting chemo for 5 months. Out of all the things that have happened to me so far or will happen in the future, I think the thing that bothers me the most is the hair. I mean if a guy is bald, it's a look. If a girl is bald she is either mentally ill or has cancer. And although the wigs are really good, you can't wear it all the time. At some point I will have to look in the mirror and see myself bald. Argh!

On the positive side, with chemo (and not including radiation which I will also get), my odds are 90% for survival (so it will ultimately be higher). On the academic positive side, I have no service or teaching requirements right now. So other than resting and Dr's appts, I am sitting around working on proposals and papers. I think my research productivity is about the same as before. So I guess that means time spent on cancer = teaching + service. I think I may be doing too much teaching and service (or at least was before).


At 12:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was most worried about the hair as well --- I'll tell you, worrying about the hair loss is much worse than actually being bald. The worst day was the day it actually started falling out in clumps. When it does that, just shave -- it will make you feel much better.

I was pretty lucky, all of my hair except my eyebrows and eye lashes fell out... so, no waxing or shaving for a while... but, I didn't get stuff in my eyes.

Hang in there and don't think about it too much. I didn't do wigs or scarves etc... just a baseball hat. I suppose I was ok with it because I told my students and colleagues all about it... so I had nothing to hide from folks who loved me and the folks who don't know me don't matter anyway :).

At 9:00 PM , Blogger ScienceGirl said...

My mom was also most bothered by hair loss, and is pretty obsessed about doing her hair since it has grown back. I think the hair loss actually kept her distracted from thinking too much about other stuff, which was a surprising side effect.

It sounds like you are in good care, and I am glad that you are able to take enough time to take care of yourself while still have things to do to keep your mind busy. Hang in there, and keep up the positive attitude!


At 7:05 PM , Anonymous oli said...

Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I admire you for being able to stay positive and continue with paper/grant writing- that's incredible. This has been one of the most motivating stories I had read in a long time. I wish every scientist would read your blog - we would never hear another complain about having to work on a proposal or publish a paper...

Stay strong. As always, looking forward to hearing more from you.

At 10:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my mom had cancer she went to a wig store before her hair fell out and they picked out the perfect wig for her. It looked just like her real hair, maybe even better, and she got a bunch of compliments on her new haircut (no one could tell it was a wig). It wasn't even real hair - the wig store recommended synthetic as being cheaper and easier to deal with. Just so you know that making a wig out of your own hair may not be as necessary as you thought. Surprisingly, the hair loss was not as big a deal as she was worried about - she only wore the wig to go out in public and otherwise wore a scarf.

Hang in there and best of luck.

At 7:04 AM , Anonymous coursework custom writing service said...

I think cancer cells become more resistant to chemotherapy treatments.

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