Senior in college & hair question

Hi my name is Kelsey Johnson. I'm 21 & I'm a division I soccer player that recently had a brain tumor removed. My brain tumor was benign but I am undergoing radiation & chemo. I plan on playing soccer my senior year & I want to graduate on time (May 2017) and to do that I have to take 17 hours of classes (6 classes) this fall and then I start my intern 2 (PE/Teaching major) + I have soccer practices. Tbh I'm nervous about this fall semester & I will be continuing chemo through out the season/semester. Any advice/comments? Also about 30% of my hair will fall out in the next week or 2 on the top left side of my head where the tumor was. Is there any place I can get my hair cut that will help cover this?


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hi Kelsey,
    I was a junior in college when I found out I had colon cancer and needed a total colectomy and a year later I needed a total thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer. I did not have chemo, but I did have multiple surgeries and radiation. I tried to attend college while going through this and quickly found out I could not. Everyone is different, but I would recommend you take it easy and like elpat29 said, day by day. The semester I attempted radiation and school and surgery at the same time was the worst for me, grade-wise. I had never had such low grades in my life. I ended up taking a year off and this coming fall will be my first time back and now I feel fully ready to finish school. Don't beat yourself up if you find you can't keep up like you have in the past. Don't push your self too hard either. You body is going through a lot and healing is most important right now for your long term health.
  • Mike312Mike312 Community Member
    HI Kelsey, 

    Sorry to hear about your sitation :( I think its a difficult one. I think if you go to a clever hairdresser they might be able to do something for you. But one of my friends in the UK used a shampoo that she said helped her. It's called orgnaic biotin & collagen shampoo.... I've heard also of paxman shampoo which might be worth checking out. You can get these online from Live Better With. Discovered them a few weeks ago. They specialise in products that help people with cancer. Hope that helps! 

  • elpat29elpat29 Community Member
    Hi Kelsey - I'm bummed about your circumstances but hope you are holding up okay! I am also going to be a senior in college but got diagnosed back in June 2011. I was treated with surgery and chemo for an ovarian germ cell tumor. I am an avid runner, and at the time of my diagnosis I was in the middle of a track and field season and was looking forward to a competitive season of cross country in the fall. I don't know what chemo drugs you'll be receiving and of course everyone's bodies handle these things differently, but I'll share a bit about how my treatment affected my body and my athleticism since that seems to be one of your areas of concern. I was unable to do any type of physical activity for 8 weeks after my surgery which caused me to lose a lot of fitness. As soon as I could, I began running again even while I was receiving chemo. There were days when I felt good and days when I felt really bad. I ran when I wanted to and as slow as I needed to, which was pretty slow. Fast forward to the fall when I was about 3 months out from treatment. I was working hard and putting in the miles and time, but struggled a lot and was running slow despite my efforts. My advice going into your soccer season would be to take things day by day, monitoring how your body is feeling. I would work on communicating everything well with your coach, who hopefully will be one of your biggest advocates. Sorry this post is a little long and scrambled - let me know if you want to talk further!
  • Hey Kelsey! Remember that your health should be your number 1 priority. So if you could postpone your internship, or take less classes/ be a part time student temporarily, and it'll help, it may be a great option. I personally think that it's best to be as low stress as possible during treatment. In regards to your hair, will all of your hair fall out during your treatment or only a small amount (30%) throughout the whole thing? If it's 30% you can probably wear your hair in a bun often. If more falls out, you can wear patterned and colorful silk scarves wrapped around your head (which may not be a great option to wear during practice of course). Besides going to the salon to get a cool cut, like an undercut or even shaving the sides with a pattern for a rocker look. Maybe even dye it to get creative with your look. Your body and appearance will go through some changes and it's best to embrace it and maybe even have fun with your hair, when you can.
  • Hi Kelsey. I'm sorry to hear about ur diagnosis. I first off, u r brave, u r strong, u r beautiful! I have breast cancer and am undergoing chemo right now. U will want to maintain a low stress & simple (not jam packed) schedule for yourself. The chemo I received would knock me off my feet for about 10 days. There are side effects that you can ask your doctor about. Some may include diarrhea, which means you will have to be near a bathroom. Extreme fatigue and weakness was what I encountered for the first 8-9 day, sleeping 20 hrs + for the first 6 days after chemo. Your skin is going to be fragile & your blood counts will be low due to chemo, so you will want to avoid any extreme contact sports that will increase your risk for cuts, bruising, injury because you will be prone to infection, bleeding & an increased healing time. You will want to avoid crowds or sick people after your chemo to decrease your risk for infection. Each chemo drug has their own "nadir" in which your blood counts will be lowest. Your MD can tell you about that. i wish you the best during this journey! Remember, you are brave, strong, beautiful! You can do this!!