You knew this was coming. I’m not depressed, I’m actually looking for some fairly clinical answers — they just happen to be personal-life-based and not cheerful.
My Uncle Rich died this weekend — of cancer, natch; that’s how we roll in my family. I knew him better when I was a kid, because his daughters and I were pretty close. All of my uncles were pretty strict and grumpy when we were kids, until they had grandkids and turned into giant marshmallows, so even when I “knew him,” I didn’t really know him.
As I got older, he became more interesting. He joined the fire department as soon as he was old enough (probably before, knowing him) and was sort of a heroic character, and he looked like a Dick Tracy villain to me — and I mean that in a good way.
He always wore his hair in a pompadour, and it was jet black. Herein lies the trouble.
When he was first diagnosed and started chemo, he and his wife went out and bought him a specially-made wig. A jet-black pompadour, for after he lost his hair. But, see, he never lost his hair. And the chemo didn’t work. I’ve never heard of chemo not working on a non-metastasized tumor. And I’ve certainly never heard of full-dosage, systemic chemo not making someone lose their hair.
[Note: My father has carcinoid cancer, and he didn't lose his hair during chemo, but that was a very unusual kind, where they emulsified it and injected it straight into his liver. It wasn't systemic.]
My cousin Linda, who’s only a few years older than me, also has (breast) cancer. Again, it’s our thing. But she’s not losing her hair in chemo so far, either, and her mom — my Aunt Hamako — thinks it means the chemo isn’t working. And she’s starting to make me wonder, really.
With this blog not being crawled, I’m not sure how much answer I’ll get on this. And I know the plural of “anecdote” isn’t “data.” But y’all are a smart bunch. Have you heard of any connection between the efficiency of chemo, and hair loss?