Thursday, August 4, 2011

'Wen' will my hair look healthy again?

I've written about my hair on here before. Mostly about losing it, and eventually being able to donate it. I haven't really discussed how my hair has changed. Some cancer survivors report that their hair grew back a different color, or they had a major texture change; straight hair that came back super curly, or curly hair that came back bone straight. My experience has been a bit different, probably because I wasn't treated with traditional chemotherapy agents. The drugs I was exposed to interacted with my central nervous system, essentially making it go haywire for twelve months...and beyond. My hair never completely fell out, but it became so thin that I cut it very, very short. Losing your hair is physically painful, and as a girl, it's emotionally excruciating.

It's been four years since I finished treatment, and I'm still waiting for my long, thick, beautiful hair to come back. When my hair grew initially, it was thin and coarse. This might be chemo-related, but I think an aggravating factor was a late-effect of my treatment- a thyroid malfunction that went undiagnosed for a few years. Since I began treatment for the thyroid issues, my hair has progressively gotten thicker. As recently as a few months ago, I began sprouting new hair on the top of my head. When it was an inch or two long, it stood up straight and I had to tame it with an arsenal of products every morning so I didn't look like Alfalfa a la The Little Rascals. It was not cute.

But more frustrating than the thinness is how broken and brittle my hair has been since treatment. My stylist tells me it's 'old' hair. I basically have the hair of someone twice my age. I've switched shampoos and conditioners more times than I can count and I've continually been looking for something to fix my hair.

I think I FINALLY found it. The conversation when I go to the salon usually goes something like this:
Stylist: How much should I take off?
Me: how much is damaged?
Stylist: Um, all of it.
Me: Take the split ends.
Stylist: Sure (Nods, frowns, and pretends this is possible. Takes off a few inches).

But the last time I was in, I heard the usual about how my hair, while gaining thickness, is still like that of a sixty-year-old woman. But then something new...Apparently another client with hair like mine had come in and looked very different. She claimed to have started using something called Wen.

That's right. Wen. Maybe you've seen the infomercials at 3:00 AM. It's endorsed by Chaz Dean, a celebrity stylist. I have a strict rule against buying anything that can be bought in my living room without a computer, but I went home and did my research. The stuff comes with a money-back guarantee, although the reviews of post-purchase support were mediocre at best. The other catch is that to get the stuff at a somewhat reasonable price ($30.00 for a 30-day supply, which I'm confident I can stretch for one-and-a-half to two months) you have to enroll in an automatic monthly delivery and billing schedule. However, I called the customer service line and after a truly short wait, I spoke to a rep who assured me I can put my account on hold and not receive shipments or be billed until I call and authorize it. I think a lot of the people who complained about 'unauthorized billing and shipping' didn't read the fine print.

So the verdict is in. My hair is looking better. I wouldn't say I'm Goldilocks or anything, but for the first time in more than four years, my hair was not a frizzy mess when I left it down and let it dry au naturale. I used the product again today and blew my hair out, and again: significantly less frizz. My hair feels much softer, and while it's not perfect, I feel hopeful that if I keep using it, maybe I can have 'normal' twenty-something hair again.

I don't know Wen, but soon, I hope!

Hope, Love, Run!
Marathon Girl

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