How chemotherapy and hair loss affect my confidence, self-esteem

Identifying the issue is the first step in problem-solving

Caroline Gainer avatar

by Caroline Gainer |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Main banner for Caroline Gainer's column,

Having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes us patients more susceptible to lung infections. These infections can creep up on us quickly and progress to a severe condition in just a few days. This was the case for me two summers ago.

During my hospital stay, I was given six treatments of chemotherapy. The nurse told me I was being given it because I had skin cancer removed. The doctor then clarified that the treatment aimed to reduce the inflammation. The doctor’s explanation was quite a relief as I knew they were investigating a spot on my lung.

After treatment, when I wanted to brush my hair, I wasn’t initially alarmed by the handful of hair that was left in my brush. At the time, I hadn’t brushed my hair for several days. But once I returned home, the hair kept falling out. I didn’t lose all of it, and most of it grew back. I didn’t think much more about it.

Recommended Reading
Main banner for Caroline Gainer's column,

Since COPD makes me vulnerable to lung infections, I get vaccinated

In the grand scheme of things, hair isn’t that important to me. I actually enjoyed the extraordinarily little amount of hair that was left under my arms and on my legs. I dealt well with all of the hair depletion — except my eyebrows. Eyebrows frame a person’s eyes and add a lot of individuality to the face.

I still struggle to fill in the blank spots with an eyebrow pencil. Some days, I think I’ve made them look like my natural eyebrows, while on other days, not so much.

I write about this because our appearance has a lot of influence on our self-esteem. In an article published by the The Peak Counseling Group, I learned that people who struggle with self-esteem are prone to negativity. Further reading supports the idea that self-esteem is related to mental health.

I don’t want to look into the mirror to brush my teeth, wash my face, or comb my hair. A few days ago, I realized this was holding me back from starting the day. Identifying the problem is the first step in the scientific method of problem-solving.

The problem is that I try not to let having so few hairs in my eyebrows bother me, but it does bother me — a lot. Admitting this to a friend and writing about it has helped me feel better about this issue. I will try to become more proficient in filling in the blank spots.

This problem might be a reason to treat myself to a day at the beauty salon to learn from the experts. We need to take care of ourselves to do and be our best.

Note: COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of COPD News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.