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Cancer Sucks. Hair Loss.

November 30, 2011

Cancer sucks and here’s why.

I’m totally losing my hair, again. I thought I was shedding more than normal over the last couple of months and I noticed I had some of that new fine hair growth you usually get after having a baby. In fact, I was at Dry Bar in Newport Beach last month and the girl doing my hair asked if I had just had a baby. Thank God it was because of the hair and not my tummy! At least I hope it was!

Anyway, two years and half years ago I started taking a drug called Arimidex. It’s an Aromatase Inhibitor which stops the production of estrogen in post-menopausal women. It blocks the enzyme aromatase, which turns the hormone androgen into small amounts of estrogen in the body. This means that less estrogen is available to stimulate the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer cells. I had a hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer (100% ER+, 50% PR+…if you were wondering).

Well, the Arimidex was causing me so much pain. The biggest side affect was joint pain. It was so bad that I would hobble after getting out of bed in the morning and I was icing my feet almost daily to help ease the pain. And taking a lot of Advil. I could only take so much so my oncologist put me on Femera. Femera is also an Aromatase Inhibitor with a similar chemical structure. I felt better at first but the joint pain is back and almost as bad as when I was taking Arimidex. But not only am I experiencing joint pain I am losing my freaking hair!

I'm not nuts, right?

I have a call into both of my doctors about the hair loss. I want to get their opinions because it actually may not be the drugs that are causing the thinning. It might just be good old menopause causing it. You know you’ve seen those women with super thin hair, thin enough you can see their scalp. Yep, I’m headed that way and I’m digging my heels in the ground because I’ve already been bald once and that was enough.

Right now, I’m using Nioxin products to help stimulate growth. I mean, the baby hairs have to mean that there is some regrowth happening, right? I’m actually hoping my doctor prescribes a heavy duty Minoxidil. Until then, I’m just teasing what hair I have and trying to make it look less thin than it currently is. Worst case scenario, I’m gonna rock a Kim Zolciak wig.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole November 30, 2011 at 8:55 am

If you get a Kim Zolciak wig I’m totally taking you to the Palms for an Adrienne Maloof tinsel extension. xx

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I’m totally and completely holding you to this!

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Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds November 30, 2011 at 9:02 am

Be sure to let us know what you hear from the doctors. I’m really curious about the hair loss, especially as it might relate to menopause rather than cancer.

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Well, my GP said I need to talk to my Oncologist. So, I must wait for her to get back from vacation because my measly hair issues are apparently not considered an urgent call! :-)

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Cheryl @ Mommypants November 30, 2011 at 9:11 am

Huh. Well, that sucks. I hope you get some answers!! I think your hair always looks fab, fwiw.

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

That’s so sweet, thanks Cheryl! On a side note….WOOT! A comment from Mommy Pants!

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Theresa November 30, 2011 at 9:27 am

Wendy you have beautiful hair!!!! No more losing it! If it makes you feel any better I have damn baby hair growing by my temples. My husband calls it my horns. Argh!!!

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Ha! That’s hilarious! Right about now I’d take it though! Thanks for commenting, T!

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erica November 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I sweat I am not lying, but it doesn’t look like your hair is thinning to me?

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I’m pretty sure you mean you “swear” but really it is. It’s see-through. I have see-through hair. I can post some pics if you’d like?

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Ashley November 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

My mom is still on the nioxin and has had periods of hair loss off and on since the cancer. Such a pain in the butt… let me know what they say… Are you under a lot of stress? I found that after her cancer, stress also made her hair loss MUCH more extreme. You still look great tho. Smooch

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I’m really not under a ton of stress so I’m ruling that out. Does your mom like the Nioxin? My hair girl said it takes a few months to start seeing some results so I’m curious if it has been successful for her. Do tell.

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Maegan (@ByndTheBandaids) November 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Dig those heels in girl. Cancer does suck. I will help you pick out your wig, if need be. šŸ˜‰ xoxo

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Seriously, if I have to ever buy a wig again I will go with girlfriends because my husband said everything looked good on me and I know he was just being sweet because they were AWFUL!

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Rebecca November 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I have the worst most horriffic dandruff ever, and I sweat. Cancer SUCKS!!! Menopause sucks canal water. I mean really isn’t cutting the girls off enough??? All this other stuff no one tells you about is RIDICULOUS.
Hugs girl. You and Kim rock those wigs!

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm

No dandruff here. Do you take a fish oil supplement?
But yes, I get hot flashes too but usually only after having wine, caffeine or chocolate. Really? Three of my favorite things!

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Ashley November 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Ugh, cancer sucks. My mom uses the Nioxin too and loves it… I’ve also seen that stress affects her more so now than before the cancer. Her hairs fall out a lot easier. I think you look fabulous though… For what it’s worth :)
Hugs

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm

You love me so much you commented twice? xo!

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Rory, Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care November 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm

i’m totally curious to know that your doctors say, too. sorry this is happening. i’m starting to thin out on top right now, too, and i cannot figure out why. probably because i turned 40 this year, but still…..i didn’t think it was gonna just happen like “that” *snaps fingers*

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Nah…maybe it’s iron or you might also have a thyroid issue. You should definitely talk to your doctor about it at your next visit. It could be a simple fix. Hoping that’s the case for me!

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Rory, Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care November 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm

just had my thyroid tested AGAIN. not that. could be iron, i’ve struggled with anemia all of my life, but my last tests indicated that that was fine, too. should get my levels tested again….*sigh*

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Kathleen November 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Okay…. to chime in. Take this for what it is worth; possibly zilch or an epiphany. When my free rider (large fibroid tumor) started deleting iron from my system, hair loss was the result. Not only hair but also eyebrows and lashes. I am now on iron supplements up the wazoo and my hair loss has subsided. I no longer have the post pregnancy fall out (yes, it was that bad). I began using Latisse to bring my eyelashes back. Iron Supplements + Latisse; my best friends.

Wondering if an iron deficiency from the meds could also be in play.

smooches – kat

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Wendy November 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Hmmm…iron. That has me thinking. I was always iron deficient while on chemo (and when I was pregnant too). I’ll request a test at my next blood draw. Thanks for the tip! PS, I love me some Latisse too! It’s great!

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Lessons in Life and Light November 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Oh, Wendy. I didn’t know this about you. I’m so sorry…if it makes you feel any better, I’m losing my hair too after having my baby. Or is that just an asshole thing to say? I’ve been known to be an asshole, this wouldn’t be the first time šŸ˜‰

Thinking about you.

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amy b November 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm

i feel like my hair is totally falling out too. i better not be going through menopause. i still need to have a kid. šŸ˜‰

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Heather November 30, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Yikes! I don’t have any answers, but I can sympathize. I am 2 years post baby and I am still losing hair. I used to have really thick hair and now… not so much. But really, look on the bright side… you can score a new super sexy set of locks!

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Nora January 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm

i could relate, there is nothing so much uplifting to hear someone who knows what you are going through and your story is my story. I loved my full head of curly hair and when the oncologist said I needed chemo for my breast cancer, I at first said “no, I can’t lose my hair”. I lost most of it on vacation in Hawaii (between treatments) and had this bizarre fringe around the base of my head that I refused to shave off. I just stuck it under the wig. Even though I got lots of compliments on my “new hairstyle” I hated that wig.

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