Bald man

I’m Not Losing My Hair, I’m Bald

We all realize the seriousness of any type of cancer. When my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he had to go to his first consultation.  One doctor suggested he looked at wigs because he was going to lose his hair. I am a very curious person and wanted to see what this was about. We went into the main office and there sat a table with all type of wigs. I looked at him and he looked at me and I said, "Those are for people who lose hair after radiation or chemotherapy." My father who is already bald gave me this chuckle and said, "I won’t need one of those because I’m already bald." I felt even at a time when you’re preparing to get your treatment for radiation, that you could have a sense of humor. We laugh all the way home. So many people have very negative attitudes which I understand, but I also feel that this ultimately affects your treatment. Sometimes we must laugh a little.

Radiation and hair loss

We know radiation can make your hair fall out. Wherever the radiation hits that's primarily where you lose your hair. Radiation's goal is to kill cancerous cells. Hair cells tend to grow at a fast pace and are one of the reasons people lose hair when receiving radiation. Some people that do lose hair during radiation never grow it back, but some people’s hair comes back and looks completely different from when they had it before. Now the interesting thing about my father is that he went into radiation with a bald head and afterward he started growing a little hair. I still don’t understand that at all.

I guess everybody’s body is different and things happen for each person differently. One of the doctors had asked my father during his radiation treatment if he would be interested in a toupee. My father responded; no indeed. My father was bald, so I didn’t understand the reason for that question either. I believe he was asked that question because the temperature was very hot and the doctor figured it would keep his head cooler and safe during treatment. I really don’t know, but my father opted out.

I know several people who have had cancer treatments. The great thing is when you are a patient and lose your hair during radiation and chemotherapy, some insurances will pick up the price for a wig or toupee. This is considered a medical aid and is tax deductible under medical expense. A wig or toupee would be considered a cranial prosthesis. A couple years after my father had radiation, he would always cover his head. If it was cold he would cover his head, if it was hot he’d cover his head. This was something he had not done in the past. He is 84, so I’m not sure if this was a mind thing or not. I never bother to ask. If it didn’t bother him, it was not going to bother me.

Protecting my head

But it did start to bother me. This is what prompted me to write this story. I asked him why he kept his head covered all the time. After radiation treatment, things had changed as far as my father was concerned. He felt the heat more and the cold irritated his head more. This was completely different from before he had radiation treatment. As a caregiver I’m feeling pretty down right now. I was feeling I was protecting him, so when he told me he was having headaches when he didn’t cover his head I wanted to scream. Yes, most of the times, I hit the mark. There are other times my well-intention efforts fall short. This was one of those times.

I immediately called the doctor who told me this was one of the side effects of his treatment. I learned a valuable lesson here from my father, pay attention to what's going on with our bodies.

Also, prostate cancer does not just impact men. It impacts all who love them. It’s our cancer too. Protection is always best.

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