Chemo Curls

Yes, there is a name for that. Those of you who know me personally know that prior to my cancer diagnosis I had curly hair. I had curly hair because about every four months or so I paid a stylist for a perm. I had been doing that for probably thirty years or so because my hair in it’s natural state was very fine, lacking body and wouldn’t hold any kind of curl or style. I’d spend an hour with a curling iron and walk out the door and that would be all she wrote. Not totally straight but almost.

About two weeks after chemo began the end of March 2016 my hair began falling out. I asked that same stylist to shave my head rather than wait for it to happen naturally… or unnaturally as the case was. If you haven’t read that post you can find it here:

I had been going grey gracefully but in December 2015 I needed a change and dyed my hair. Here is what it looked like then:


Once I was bald I began wearing a series of head scarves and wigs. I wasn’t comfortable going out with my bare head because even around my apartment I found that it was just too cold.



Yes, the photo below is a wig. It’s my free wig from the American Cancer Society. I really, really like the color.


So you can imagine my delight when chemo finished on August 29, 2016 and my hair started growing in curly. Painfully slow but curly. Even by the end of March 2017 in Venice, Italy it was still way too short and impossible to style.


But by mid May it was more what I liked. Now, at the beginning of July 2017 I have hair I love and I have actually been to the stylist twice for a trim.


Checking to make sure I like the look.


I don’t like to smile full on for photos because it makes my eyes crinkle up and look like I’m squinting. I did discover if I put the camera down lower it will cut off the top of my head. And, yes, I got the earrings in Venice.

When I was at the salon my stylist asked if this was going to last and I had no idea. So I Googled “curly hair after chemo” and discovered that it is indeed called Chemo Curls and from the message boards I read most people hate it. I love mine. Sadly, it will not last. It takes about a year or two for the last of the poison of the chemo to work its way out of the body and then your hair roots regenerate and it will grow back as it was before chemo. But for now I will enjoy my curls. My red curls.

And for an update….there is no change in my condition, the neuropathy has not improved and my appointment with the Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist was cancelled (was originally today) because he had to go out of town. They are supposed to call me back and reschedule. So that is my news from here. We are actually having summer with temps between the mid 70’s to 80. I have finally gotten all of the flowers planted for my patio and will have pictures for me next post. Because of the fatigue caused by the Cyberknife radiation I can only do a little bit at a time even when I’m sitting. That part will go away…eventually.

About mvaden1948

I love to travel to Venice (and probably other parts of Italy and beyond) and my camera leads me where she wants without any consideration as to whatever plans I may have. I enjoy photographing nature, my cat and anything that strikes my fancy. I have a "thing" for interesting doors and architectural details.
This entry was posted in Aging gracefully, Beautiful Day, Cancer, Chemo, Chemo Curls, Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy, City of My Dreams, Cyberknife, fotografia, Hair, Photography, Venezia, Venice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Chemo Curls

  1. foguth says:

    What a shame that your curls won’t last – they are very attractive.

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Luckily I have a great stylist who can work her magic with a perm and I can have them back. And also, luckily, it doesn’t have to fall out and grow back first.
      Thanks for the compliment.

      • foguth says:

        My hair is thick and wiry + has a slight curl… I can fight with it all day, but it insists on standing on end…. I sort of like the idea of bald, but it probably would feel too cold.

  2. Love the ‘do and the color is so flattering! Bellissima!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Grazie, Laurel.
      The color is from and is called Genoa Red. It fades fast but most reds do but since my hair is short I can use half the product (use a dish and only mix half of the bottle and tube and cap tightly) and do it every four weeks. It does also look nice if I wait and a little of the silver peeks through.

  3. Susie L says:

    I was just thinking about you, and here is a new post, yay! I love the red hair on you, and how nice to have such lovely chemo curls. You also looked very pretty in your head scarves, not many women can pull that look off with such aplomb, but you did. Brava!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Grazie, Susie. Several people mentioned that I looked sexy in my scarves and turbans but I must say that I did not feel at all sexy. Of course as I often have to remind people, I look and sound much better than I feel most of the time. But this too shall pass.

  4. Shelley says:

    Woweee…. you look so beautiful ! How wonderful that in the midst of the difficulties you’ve been enduring, there has at least been one nice (even if temporary) serendipitous stroke of luck. I’m very happy for you – and you never know, maybe it will stay that way. I’m sure stranger things have happened. 🙂 Big hugs to you and Diavolo.

  5. I am not, of course, a hair or fashion expert, though I have had experience removing hair mats on cats. (I added that phrase “on cats” to avoid confusion.) The curls suit you and you look great!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Many thanks, Greg. I’ve always loved curls and wash and wear hair (something guys don’t have to think about much) so I do love these semi natural curls.
      I have had to deal with hair mats on cats and thorns in the fur of long haired outdoor cats. When I lived in the California desert I had a lovely white cat who would sit in the middle of the living room and pull goat heat thorns from his fur and spit them out on the carpet. Of course if I didn’t pick them up right away I would find them later….with my bare feet.
      But we love them. They are good companions.

  6. You look absolutely wonderful! Befitting a superwoman that you are 🙂

  7. Pecora Nera says:

    You look fab, I on the other hand are growing grey disgracefully

  8. Noodle says:

    We think you look great!
    Have a wonderful Sunday…

    Noodle and crew

  9. Just learned something new. Funny how after all those years of getting permed now it’s curly. Love the red color. Also really like your head scarves, really like the fun, vibrant colors.

  10. mvaden1948 says:

    It was funny that just before I started chemo one of the examining doctors when I asked if I would lose my hair replied yes, but it might grow back curly. I thought he was joking. But obviously it’s a thing that happens.

  11. Dalo 2013 says:

    Wishing you the best Allison, and for a nice gentle breeze to keep the curls happy 🙂

    • mvaden1948 says:

      It’s Misha who has the curls but since you were introduced to us at the same time that’s an easy mistake.
      I love riding in the car with the windows down so the breeze can tossle the curls.

  12. You look fabulous! Hope they will find the right treatment to help you with your condition.

  13. Complimenti! i love your red curls! They may not last, but i’m sure your stylist can replicate them. Ciao, Crstina

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