Bustle Writes Amazing Article On 4 Black Women Talking About Hair Loss During Breast Cancer Treatment

breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Bustle celebrated by featuring four black women talking about their journey during their treatments for breast cancer. These stories show courage, are transparent, and bring forward and up many things that majority of us have probably have not even thought of. Check out some of the accounts when it came to hair and skin when it comes to breast cancer below.

Monique Bryan, Diagnosed At 36

“I was convinced I would beat the odds and not lose my hair. I remember the first chemo treatment, they tell you you’ll probably lose it [about two weeks] after you’ve started chemo. After the first treatment, I was like ‘Didn’t lose my hair, so this is fine,’ but it hadn’t been 15 days yet.

On day 15, I literally started losing chunks of my hair.

I remember sitting and [my husband and I] were watching Netflix, and I put my hand in my hair and scratched my head — I barely touched it — and it came out with a chunk in my hand. I freaked out as I was looking at it, and I put it on the night table. My husband didn’t notice, and I’m just sitting there crying in silence, and he looks over like ‘Oh my God, what happened?’ And I was like ‘I’m losing my hair!’

It was very traumatizing. It literally feels like it’s tearing out of your head. It’s like this tingling — it’s a horrible, horrible feeling.

I would just randomly cut chunks out, put my bonnet back on and go about my business. And then when my hairdresser came over, I had this feeling of embarrassment, because she’s been taking care of my hair for six years. And we’ve done everything with my hair — dye it, and mohawk it, and went natural, and permed it — we’ve done so much to my hair. My hair was my crown. And I was like, ‘She’s going to come over here and have to shave this off and see me sick. I don’t want anyone to see me sick.’ But she came over and I invited my family to come over and we blasted the music, had some tunes and she shaved my head.

Once it was gone, I remember my brother looking at me and he was like ‘You know what, sis, I was worried, I was worried for you. But you’ve got a nice shaped head.’

I really felt a lot of freedom. As black women we’ve always got to wear a shower cap. You know when you keep your head a little bit away from the water because it’s going to ruin whatever’s happening? I even sometimes forget that I don’t need to do that anymore, cause I never grew my hair back, I just shave it. There was so much freedom in not having to do my hair. No product, no nothing. Just like water. I was free.”

Tiffany Edmondson, Diagnosed At 26

“Obviously, the most important thing to me was my life, and doing whatever I had to do to beat this whole thing [breast cancer]. But I would be remiss in saying I didn’t have any thoughts about or hesitation about losing my hair. For me, it was kind of like acknowledging, in a public sense, that I was sick.

There was no other real outward way that no one could really tell what was going on with me. The port through which I had that I received chemotherapy, I could hide that with my clothes. But losing my hair was like, OK, now everyone’s going to officially know that something’s wrong, that I have cancer, or they’re going to question what’s going on with me — I was nervous about that.

Once my hair started to fall out, it was a kind of one of those things where I could either sit back and watch it happen and feel like I didn’t have any sense of control at all, or I could take control of the situation and do something about it myself. My hair probably started falling out after my second round of chemotherapy and I made a decision that I was going to shave my head myself. It was more traumatic for me to sit and watch my hair fall out. Once I did that I felt liberated, I felt free.

At that moment, I didn’t feel confident enough to leave my house without a wig or a hat or something like that. That took a while, but I felt OK. I didn’t feel like I was on top of the world, but I felt OK. Toward the end of my therapy is when I kind of got a little bit more brave and I got more confident in what was going on and I shared pictures of myself without my hair on social media and I did leave my house a few times without anything on my head.

I grew my hair all the way back out after I had chemo. I had loved myself with short hair when my hair first started growing back. I had never seen myself with the short haircut at all. Loved it, it was beautiful. But then I made the decision just to keep letting my hair grow.

When I had the mastectomy, they put in tissue expanders initially. So those looked kind of strange. They didn’t look like natural breasts at all. They were hard and uncomfortable. But at that point, I already kind of viewed myself differently. Having gone through chemotherapy and cancer, I didn’t view myself the same. I was a different person, I couldn’t compare myself to my old self, prior to my cancer diagnosis at that point, so I was more accepting of who I was at that point.

I had come to this point in my life where it’s like a near death experience and I made it through. There was no way I could ever go back to the way I was.”

See the full list of interviews on Bustle and meet more of these amazing women, by clicking here.