Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

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Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by JimNation on Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:00 AM

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My beautiful 48 year old wife just had a bilateral mastectomy. On the oncologist's recomendation she is going to undergo Cytoxan and Taxotere therapy (4 treatments at 3 week intervals). Among other things, she is concerned with hair loss... if she is going to lose it she  wants to act proactively -  cut it off first- donate her hair -  shave her head- have it henna "tattooed" and wear it proudly....   This is clearly about her keeping control of her life, her appearance and her femininity. her first choice, of course, is to keep her hair. She asked me to come on line and find out what she should expect as far as hair loss goes... does anyone know what percentage of women on this therapy regime experience hair loss?

 Bless you all,

a loving husband

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by JS8338 on Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:00 AM

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As with most challanges in life; the end is more important than the journey. If hair loss is inevitable it can be dealt with in many happy ways and #1 sounds like it's already in place.....

1) A loving and supporting husband.

2) The Cancer Society offers a free wig per person; as do many hospitals. I had 3 almost my natural shade and look but slightly different. When finished with them I donated them back with my fingers crossed.

3) I bought a "Bang" hairpiece from a local wig store and pinned it to a head band which slipped onto my bare scalp. Then tied colorful kerchief scarfs over the band and looked "cool"..."young"...."chic". Someone told me I may have to use double-sided tape; however, I never did. Eventually I found another free wig and cut another front bang off to have an extra.

4) Another woman undergoing chemo with me borrowed and purchased wigs in several colors & styles and enjoyed her friends giggles as she showed up for social outings looking like a movie star. Short, red, spiked.....long, straight black.....curly, long and sexy blonde..........

===================================================       I didn't realize I would also loose my eyebrows and most of my eyelashes which were harder to deal with. The American Cancer Society suggested a make-up class that they held at various hospitals and it was very informative...plus we received lots of free makeup.I would be glad to help with any questions you may have. You must all give this time because there will be many of emotional, physical and hormonal changes. Eventually it will all be over and precious life will go on.

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by arcticnurse on Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:00 AM

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I lost my hair from chemo last December. i bought a wig but only wore it as a hat when i went out as Canadian winters are cold.

I did the henna tatoo thing and proudly wore a t- shirt which  said "I'm too sexy for my hair"

It came in a beautiful white an'd I'm not going to dye it

Dianne

 

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by Jodie on Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 10/4/2008 JimNation wrote:

My beautiful 48 year old wife just had a bilateral mastectomy. On the oncologist's recomendation she is going to undergo Cytoxan and Taxotere therapy (4 treatments at 3 week intervals). Among other things, she is concerned with hair loss... if she is going to lose it she  wants to act proactively -  cut it off first- donate her hair -  shave her head- have it henna "tattooed" and wear it proudly....   This is clearly about her keeping control of her life, her appearance and her femininity. her first choice, of course, is to keep her hair. She asked me to come on line and find out what she should expect as far as hair loss goes... does anyone know what percentage of women on this therapy regime experience hair loss?

 Bless you all,

a loving husband


Dear Jim:

Sorry to hear that your wife is another cancer fighter in the midst of her personal journey with this dreaded disease. 

I had taxotere/avastin last year until January.  The taxotere will cause hair loss.  The doctor had initially told me no, that he didnt think I would experience hair loss, but he was wrong and I did!  After my last dose in January it took several months for it to come back, infact in May I still had to wear a wig to a wedding event..but in June, July it really started to come back and now it is full.  The bad news is, I have to start chemo again tomorrow with taxol which is similar to the taxotere and I know now that I will again experience hair loss.  I wore a pink ball cap and sometimes a wig..it just depended on how I felt that day.  Some days I was proud to wear my shining example of my struggles and cancer fight and then other days I was a little more insecure and felt I needed the hair.. but, I am not that concerned about that aspect of fighting the disease anymore..I am only concerned with hopefully being here to tell about it all in two years.  My br.ca. came back in my lung last year..I fought it and thought I would be cancer free for a while..well last month my new petct revealed another tumor in my lung.  So inspite of being on herceptin which was suppose to keep it from coming back, I am again facing another battle to try and destroy this new nodule in my lung.  The bad thing about cancer...it has to many friends in our body and they like to have a party in there without us even knowing. 

Anyway, just wishing your family the best and wanted to let you know that the taxotere will cause the dreaded hair loss..it is good to prepare for it ahead of time with a wig or hat or however your wife chooses to deal with it. 

best wishes

Jodie

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by Kathy_d_5 on Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:00 AM

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Hi, sorry to hear your wife has joined our reluctant group.  I wish her all the best and as someone has already mentioned, having a caring, sympathetic partner means everything for someone going through this experience. 

Although the doctors will tell you some women don't lose their hair, most do.  The Taxotere or Taxol will do it's thing on her body.  I have always had long hair.  After the third chemo, I noticed hair coming out in clumps.  I managed to keep a normal appearance for another three weeks before having it all come off, except for a few sprigs.  I always tied my hair back when I went to bed.  One day I woke up with my hair, still in the elastic, laying on my pillow next to my head. 

Maybe I was being ridiculous, but up until that point, I somehow felt like I could still pass as a healthy person.  When I lost my hair, I went into full scale depression.  I then officially became "the cancer patient".  It took a couple of weeks of mourning for my hair before I could care less.  I had a wig but often just wore a scarf.  After a while, it was somehow kind of nice, as summer came, along with the heat.  My head was unencumbered by hair and therefore nice and cool! 

Your wife will be going through all sorts of emotions.  Her homones will spike and plummet..   My advise is to always remember, sometimes her illnes is talking through her.  If she gets really frustrated and has trouble coping, she needs you to listen, ignore any outbursts and give lots of hugs!  There were times I went completely off the deep end.  Thank goodness my family did not take it personally!  

But who knows?  Maybe she will be one of the lucky ones.  Some patients hardly experience anything and even work through their treatments..  Let's hope she will sail through this!

All the best!

Kathy

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by Nurse_Karen on Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:00 AM

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I am an oncology nurse and nurse educator who developed primary peritoneal cancer last year.  I went through chemotherapy and it caused all my hair to fall out.  I can tell you that when I was faced with this one year ago, I ordered a very nice synthetic wig from Germany.  It was worth every penny I paid for it ($495) - it had a  lightweight mesh  base, was extremely easy to take care of, and nice style.  As my hair started falling out, I had my head shaved.  It was something that I felt I was in control of and did not have to suffer watching clumps of hair fall out in my pillow and sink. I was very self conscious about it but went on and produced a educational DVD for my nursing students wearing my wig.  

I understand how important hair is to a person's self esteem and pray that I won't lose it again.  My hair came back in 2 shades of gray (it wasn't before) but that can always be changed.  It took 8 months for my hair to grow back to a comfortable length, but I took off my wig 5 months after the chemo ended.  

Good luck with your treatment - just remember that you are a beautiful person.

 

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by Logicat on Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:00 AM

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JimNation,

Your wife will probably experience feelings, moods, depression and possibly exhaustion that you will not be aware of until you have to deal with her going through crying jags, rages against the cancer, not wanting to get out of bed and who knows what all. 

She will think she's ugly without her hair, *any* hair, anywhere!  Eyebrows, eyelashes, the hair in her nose and her ears and all the other places.  She will experience chills when you think the temperature is a little too high and then a hot flash will hit and she'll be begging for relief.  All you can do is just be loving and be there.  What she sees in the mirror will not be how you see her.

I wore hats.  There are hats specifically made for we bald women that are really cute.  Some women prefer scarves and bandanas while some go with wigs.  It's all a matter of what she wants to do and you won't have much say in the matter.  It's about helping her deal with the whole fight she's going through and being loving and supportive no matter what she's doing that may drive you up the wall.

If sex becomes a problem, talk to her doctor.  The tissues are very dry for most chemo patients and can even be painful.  You may have to try a few different hings before you find something that will work for the two of you. 

Make sure she drinks *lots* of water.  I got a pint bottle, and made sure I drank at least four of them through the day in addition to the usual tea, coffee, juice, etc.  Especially the first few days after a chemo treatment.  It helps the body get rid of the chemo after it has done it's work.

Believe me, the advise I'm giving you is from both mine and my husband's point of view and hopefully she will be one of the lucky ones that have none of the above side effects.

My best to both you and your wife and please keep in touch.  As a husband going through his wife's chemo, you can be a valuable resource for other husbands with the same situation.  There is very little out there in the way of help and advise for husbands or maybe you already know that by now...  Any questions?  Just ask.

Logicat aka Laura

 

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by Ruth601 on Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:00 AM

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My advice, based on my own mistake, is to be proactive and at least cut it short before starting chemo.  My hair was halfway down my back and I failed to cut it short before starting chemo.  Sure enough, about 2 weeks after the first dose (I had 4 rounds of Adriamycin/Cytoxin) - it started to fall out.  And short little clumps would have been easier to deal with than long strands.  So for starters, go get that hair cut.

 I opted for a short wig - easier to deal with.  Any many people just thought I'd gotten a short haircut.  When my hair grew out enough that I was ready to let go of the wig, people just thought I went shorter. 

 Continue to tell your wife she's beautiful.  Our hair really is a huge part of our appearance and it's hard to feel the same about yourself without it.  If she doesn't feel comfortable in a wig, try hats, scarves, whatever.  I only wore the wig in public - hats and bandanas at home.  It does grow back - and in the grand scheme of things, it's still a small price to pay for beating cancer.

Time for regrowth is different for everyone.  I finished chemo in mid-September and stopped wearing my wig just before Christmas - shorter than the onc. warned me.  My hair was REALLY short, but I was ready to move on.

Best to you and your wife.

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by dubtrouble on Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 10/4/2008 JimNation wrote:

My beautiful 48 year old wife just had a bilateral mastectomy. On the oncologist's recomendation she is going to undergo Cytoxan and Taxotere therapy (4 treatments at 3 week intervals). Among other things, she is concerned with hair loss... if she is going to lose it she  wants to act proactively -  cut it off first- donate her hair -  shave her head- have it henna "tattooed" and wear it proudly....   This is clearly about her keeping control of her life, her appearance and her femininity. her first choice, of course, is to keep her hair. She asked me to come on line and find out what she should expect as far as hair loss goes... does anyone know what percentage of women on this therapy regime experience hair loss?

 Bless you all,

a loving husband


I am on the exact same regimen.  My hair fell out two weeks to the day after my first treatment.  I have now completed 4  of the 6 cycles and I find that my eyebrows and eyelashes are getting very thin. All my body hair has fallen out... underarm, leg, etc.  I did find a site on ebay that has some quality wigs at very reasonable prices so I can at least have a little fun with the hair.  I bought long and layered, spiked and highlighted and curly and straight.  Try ebay seller jasmine wigs.  Hope this helps.  I hate being bald!!

RE: Hair Loss with Cytoxan and Taxotere Therapy

by carolyn97222 on Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:00 AM

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On 10/4/2008 JimNation wrote:

My beautiful 48 year old wife just had a bilateral mastectomy. On the oncologist's recomendation she is going to undergo Cytoxan and Taxotere therapy (4 treatments at 3 week intervals). Among other things, she is concerned with hair loss... if she is going to lose it she  wants to act proactively -  cut it off first- donate her hair -  shave her head- have it henna "tattooed" and wear it proudly....   This is clearly about her keeping control of her life, her appearance and her femininity. her first choice, of course, is to keep her hair. She asked me to come on line and find out what she should expect as far as hair loss goes... does anyone know what percentage of women on this therapy regime experience hair loss?

 Bless you all,

a loving husband


I just completed 6 treatments of chemo (Adiamyacin, Cytoxin, and Taxatere).  The worse side effects for me was after the 1st treatment.  I kept a daily log of the side effects (fatigue, pain, nausea, sleep, appetite, mood, and bowels) which helped me keep tract of them for the visit with the dr.  I also rated them from 1-10.  

I pampered my hair knowing that I would start losing it the 2-3 weeks of chemo.  I wore a hair net to bed at night because it kept the hair in one place and on my head longer.  I finally lost 50-60% of hair and it was looking bad, so I had my adult son shave my head.  With it looking so badly even though I had dreaded the whole idea of losing my hair, I was definitely ready to go bald.

I got a free wig that I loved from the American Cancer Society.  The ACS online has a catalog of wigs that are good quality and low priced $40+.  I looked and felt better when I went out to wear the wig.  I never went bald, and only 3 people have seen me bald. 

 

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