About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hair update

It has been over 3 months since my last round of chemotherapy.

My hair is growing back. It still is too short to wear on its own. But it definitely is there.  It looks like a dark/grey fuzzy cap on my head. I can't tell if it is going to curl or not. Many cancer survivors experience their hair coming back with a different texture than it was before.  A "chemo curl" is what they call it. My hair before was straight and fine. When I was younger, it was pretty thick.  Starting after I gave birth to Isabelle, my hair started to thin out. At that time, it was breaking. After Jean-Marc, it started coming out from the root.  The amount of hair loss was freaky. I should have known something was up. I chalked it up to post-pregnancy hormones. As it turned out, it WAS hormones, and not good ones. Estrogen is not my friend. It makes my cancer grow.

Jennifer Griffin
Anyway, I do look forward to the time when I can just wear it as it is and not feel weird about it. Just spike it all up like Jennifer Griffen or Carly Fiorina during the California senatorial primary season. Actually, this photo of Jennifer isn't too far off of what mine looks like right now. It is a bit longer than mine.   I find myself constantly rubbing my head, a lot like I did during the falling out process. Its not something I think about, I just find myself doing it a lot.

There is definitely a lot of gray in there. I'm not sure if I'm going to do anything about that down the line. Before cancer, I colored my hair.  Now that I'm trying to detoxify my environment, I don't know how to cover the gray that doesn't expose me to chemicals and junk I'm trying to avoid.  We'll see how it looks longer. My midwife had gray hair and it did not make her look old at all. Maybe it will be similar for me?

I'm not wearing head scarves as much anymore. I'm finding hats are a good middle ground. I have a shadow of hair along my temple and in the back. When I was bald, it was strange to wear a hat because there was no hairline.  I still wear my wig a few times a week. I surprised a few fourth graders last week when I chaperoned their field trip with a full head of hair!  Their initial reactions reminded me of my five year old nephew's observation a couple weeks before.  I had worn a headscarf on Saturday and my wig on Sunday. On Sunday, he asked me incredulously, "How did your hair grow so fast?"

As for hair in other places, it is also coming back. I didn't actually lose all of my body hair. It thinned out on my arms and my eyebrows, but I didn't completely lose it.  It makes me wonder if I hadn't taken an electric razor to my head, if I would have completely lost it.  I had enough left on my eyebrows to give me some guidance on filling them in with brow liner.  I had purchased some templates before chemo, and never ended up using them.  I still fill them in, but need to give them a good wax underneath.  My eyelashes actually got thinner after chemo ended. I tried putting on some mascara and it is just ridiculous. Especially on the bottom-there are just a few millimeters of lash there. As for my legs, now THAT was a silver lining to the whole cancer thing. To have smooth legs for several months and not having to shave was great! I'm fortunate in that the hair on my legs is blond and fine, so even hairy, they don't look that bad. But that is coming back now too. I even got out the old razor and gave them a swipe a week or so ago.

You know, it wasn't so bad shaving my legs after all this time!


  1. Tonya, It sounds like you and I are at about the same point in the hair regrowth arena. Mine is coming back slowly and it is way more grey than before. Oh well. Maybe I need to do a hair update post soon! Oh, I keep rubbing my head too!! What's up with that?

  2. I am just starting to lose my hair this weekend... it's such a weird feeling. I too, am looking for the silver lining in this whole thing and not having to shave my legs all summer long. Oooh, and smooth armpits too :)