I’m posting all the helpful info that’s come in about this issue, as many people knew even less than I did. I suppose the fact that I couldn’t find much online about it was also pretty clear evidence that the topic could use some discussion. Anyhoo…
To go over the basis of the question, there are two reasons why dying one’s hair after chemo is an issue. The first – and I consider to be most important by far – was surprisingly little mentioned by anyone offering advice. That is, it is recommended that the body be allowed a “detox” time. This is the only reason I knew about, and I was all to happy to stay away from chemicals for a good while! But I wasn’t sure how long was considered wise.
The second reason – which I hadn’t thought about but am really glad to know – is that such “virgin” hair is likely to take differently to chemical processes than normal. I hear it is quite likely that my hair color will turn out a little “off” and that you want someone who really knows what they are doing so that, at worst, it can be quickly fixed if the first atempt goes wonky.
What did I find out? That the standard line doctors will give you is “wait at least six months” if they don’t have a personal opinion on the issue. Of the fine women who lent their own experience to the question, most dyed their hair within 3-6 months after, some waited up to 10 months. (Believe it or not I found stories of women who dyed their hair during chemo! Now that seems like an (unhealthy) exercise in futility.) None of the women had any problems other than with color.
I’m scheduled for tomorrow morning. I completely trust Helena. However, I hear that she has been spooked off the idea, but that’s because she’s now worried that it’s too soon for me to be exposed to the chemicals (having spoken to some “extended family”, both of them not knowing the recommended wait either). But I’ve waited twice the basic medical recommendation, so I think I’m fine. I will be having a little talk with Helena, and if I do not succeed I’ll go into the big bad city of Birmingham. (I’m feeling quite determined to put my foot down and take possession of my hair!)
I promise a report and photos!