Master Of My Domain

Master Of My Domain

Mange has struck crisis levels, kids. It’s time for action.

mangy kate 2

There isn’t much on this horrid breast cancer journey that I get to take control of, but this is one little thing I can.

Here’s to being ‘Master of my hair(loss) Domain’!

To be honest, at the outset of this journey, I thought losing my hair would be the least of my worries. It is just hair after all – something most of us (myself included) have often spent far too much money on, too much time coiffing, blow-drying, moussing, straightening, worrying about frizz levels, regrowth colour, and the ever increasing state of grey. I know it really shouldn’t warrant all that expense and scrutiny, but the fact is, our hair is a big factor in who we are and how we feel about ourselves, isn’t it?

Plus, who doesn’t feel like doing THIS after walking out of a hair salon with brand new hair:

salon hair

Maybe it’s just me!

Way back in December, I vowed not to focus on my hair too much. There are, after all, so many more important things in this life than a full head of stylish tresses, especially when you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer. But after the cumulative loss of both of my breasts, my health and well-being and my blissful life state, my hair became something I was desperate to keep; the final frontier of wellness.

I had come to accept it would all go, but then the miraculous scalp-cooling cap I wrote about in earlier blog posts here and here gave me new hope that through my chemo treatment I might be able to avoid looking sick; that with hair on my head I could somehow blend into the healthy crowd. Nothing screams CANCER like a bald scone, does it!? However, after two hugely unpleasant five-hour long cold-cap-induced ice-cream headaches in the chemo ward, and the trauma of pulling handfuls of hair from the top of my head anyway, I decided enough was enough. It was time to embrace my inner GI Jane!

gi jane shaving head

Last Monday, on the recommendation of my Breast Care nurse, I attended a session of Look Good, Feel Better, a wonderful programme run by volunteers who help cancer patients combat the physical side-effects of chemotherapy with cosmetics, hair pieces and accessories. It was a fun, informative morning that enabled me to meet other lovely women on a similar journey to me, to have a laugh at the funny side of medically-induced alopecia, and to consider the options out there. I suddenly realised that holding on to my limp, scraggy-looking excuse for hair was holding me back. I might keep some of it along the way, but the toxic chemotherapy drugs mean it would never look like normal, healthy hair.

So yesterday, after a teary start to the day, I steeled myself, took my beautiful sister along for much needed moral support, and made the decision to buzz-cut, buy some new hair and a few other accessories to see me through the months of treatment and beyond.

Back to being ‘Master of My Domain’.

seinfeld

We started off visiting a wig lady I’d met through Look Good, Feel Better. Her shop is tucked away above a jewellery shop on Swanston St. It’s a quiet haven away from the city’s hustle and bustle, from prying eyes and curious shoppers. It is wall-to-wall wigs. A little reminiscent of that spooky scene in Return to Oz that gave me nightmares as a kid, and again a couple of months ago, but I tried to block that from my mind as I browsed the rows of mannequin heads.

wig shop 4 wig shop 3 wig shop 2 wig shop 1

There were even a few rather fine-looking looking male numbers for you too, guys! Male-patterned baldness could be a thing of the past!

wig shop 5

I’d almost settled on the bluey-green number in the first picture above, when Wig lady suggested I take a seat and let her work her magic. I decided to do what I was told. She had just the right mix of empathy and humour to make a rather traumatic situation suddenly become quite bearable. And, Wig Lady sure did know her wigs! (And her fake moustaches too actually, but I decided to leave that for another day)

By the end of about an hour, I had tried on about six wigs and had finally settled on a new head of ‘Harvest Gold’ hair. She’s called ‘Connie’, apparently.

Would you like to meet her? Here she is, folks:

wig connie

Not bad, huh!

On the way to finding Connie, I also tried a couple of other, more adventurous looks…

spiral perm 2 wig ice blue

Perhaps I should really go back and get that Craig McLachlan-esque spiral perm. I’ve ALWAYS wanted curly hair!

So wigging was done…my next stop was purchasing a beautiful Winter hat to keep my hairless dome cosy through the cooler months (thanks Leah – I adore it!), and then heading back to my sister’s for a stiff drink and session with the clippers.

Here’s how that went down:

Elliot sneaking a bit of buzz-cut action:

buzz cut etty

Much to my surprise, these beautiful kids barely batted an eyelid at my new bald head:

bald kate and friends

And they all wanted to try on my new hair:

wig elliotwig jacksonwig jonah

wig leahwig eve

Scarf girls:

scarf girls

The new me, folks: bald but feeling brave.

bald kate

Kate x

40 thoughts on “Master Of My Domain

  1. Dear Kate,You totally rock the Sinead O’Connor look and what a beautiful shaped head :-).I think we could all learn a thing or two from our African american brothers and sisters, they have totally  embraced  the wig and wear them out and about proudly, changing up there styles regulary.Maybe we should hold a dinner party when your up for it and make it compulsery for everyone to wear a wig :-)Lots of lovex x x x rab

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  2. Go You! You look fabulous without the wig, but you’ve also selected a cracker for yourself! Very natural and very cool, it looks great! Kid’s are totally amazing, supportive and unfazed. I remember coming home with a very short cut and my kids just looked at me, smiled and asked for toast. I checked out four hat shops in the city the other day and came away with nothing, so if you see any gems on your travels let me know! xxx

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    1. I did it!!! I had thought the cold cap was the answer to all my problems, but actually it wasn’t meant to be. Embracing the bald now. My main concern was how the kids would react, but they were totally unfazed, the beautiful little things! That’s love for you! Went to DJs in the city for a hat, and they had loads. I ended up with a grey felt number thanks to my very kind sister. I can’t wait to wear it when the weather cools. It’s so soft and lovely! How are you going Lisey? When’s surgery? x

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  3. What a huge day that was! I can only imagine how confronting, but hope you managed a few laughs. You remind me of Sigourney Weaver with the buzz cut – looks fierce. And I love the wig on you (though it should be renamed the Etty as it looks so like his hair on him too!). My sister used her wigs as a wonderful excuse for trying new hairstyles and colours – we never knew what she would turn up in next! I can empathise with how difficult this step has been, but love your ’embrace the mange’ attitude. The scarf is also totally rocking on you. Much love xxx

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    1. Hehe Great night shrubby! Thank you x1000 for being persistent, but easy with me on Friday. I couldn’t have taken the brave plunge without you. I’d have been stuck in the depths of despair as Anne Shirley would say. Love you so much x

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  4. Hello dear Kate, I just read this moving amazing piece you wrote……….can I just say how inspiring, brave and incredible you truly are. You have such a beautiful face and soul you will always be beautiful.
    Life takes us on some crazy journeys, that are painful and confusing, but in time they all make sense………….sending you huge love……..wish I lived closer, I’d love to give a huge huge and have a cuppa!

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    1. Oh lovely lady, I wish you just lived down the road too, just like you did a few years ago! Let’s put that cuppa on hold. Hopefully our paths will cross some day soon. Much love, and thank you for your beautiful message xx

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  5. I love the wig, looks similar to the one I went with too. This was my goodbye to my hair: https://jennadays.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/losing-my-hair/

    and something written about it by someone else that I think does it justice (although it made me cry) http://lisabadams.com/2013/01/10/day-10-no-matter-what-it-matters-the-psychological-importance-of-hair/

    It sucks and it’s one of the harder parts in my opinion, but most of the time you won’t even think about it. I had sensitivity/pain when mine was coming out, if that’s happening don’t worry, totally goes away. I’m a week short of being two months out of chemo and my hair is really growing in now. I think by the full two months out (next week) that I’ll look like I decided to shave my head rather than had chemo. I can’t wait until I can get a pixie cut.

    You’ll have good days and bad days with it and just remember that that’s ok. It’s not trivial, you’re allowed to be mad/sad about it when you need to be, just like you’ll have days where you feel badass and beautiful without it too.

    And in case you haven’t heard this one yet, lint rollers work super well for getting the little hairs that are shedding off your head so it’s less of a shower drain clog/getting all over your clothes. It’s a pretty funny experience using it on your head, one of the many weird cancer things.

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  6. Hi Kate,

    Rob’s sister-in-law here, came across your blog through Ro.
    You write so beautifully.
    Just want to wish you a speedy recovery and send all our positive vibes to you and the family.
    You look fabulous !
    xx Michelle

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    1. HI Michelle,
      Thanks so much for your message. I really appreciate your thoughts and well wishes. All the best for the impending birth of your beautiful daughter too! How exciting for you and Ro!
      Kate x

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  7. As the hipsters would say O.M.G!
    You are amazing. This was definately my favourite post too. Good on you for sharing such a confronting time with such grace and humour. Love the pictures of the kids too. Your sister Leah is a gem, what an amazing support. Love your work xx

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    1. Thanks so much Sim. It actually wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. These days I’m rocking the head scarf everywhere – my poor head gets too cold otherwise. I’m yet to bust out the wig…I’m saving it for a few special occasions coming up.
      xx

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  8. Hi Kate
    I agree with every word that has been written about you and I wish you rainbows every day. You are truly inspirational and I love and admire your humour and searing honesty.
    I was surprised when you quoted `Anne Shirley` and assume that you are referring to L M Mongomery’s character ?
    I have a bookmark that a friend gave me and it says `Kindred spirits are not so scare as I used to think`. (Anne of Green Gables) I’m sure you’ve met many kindred spirits over the last couple of months who are also `friends of the heart`.
    Love
    Barb
    x

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    1. Hi Barb,
      Sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your lovely message. Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. It inspires me to keep writing! And yes – it was an Anne Shirley quote! It’s one of my favourite films and my girlfriends and I are re-watching the trilogy at the moment every few weeks.
      And you’re right about the kindred spirits – they’re appearing in places I least expected.
      Kate x

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  9. Having my hairdresser shave my hair off, just as it started to fall out in handfuls when I pulled at it, was liberating. My niece came with me and we laughed our way through the entire adventure!

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  10. PS Wig Lady had me in a blonde wig at the Look Good Feel Better session, I have dark curls, it was straight blonde with regrowth and it looked fabulous. Wig Lady knows her stuff. I decided to go the no hair option though, on my sister’s advice she hated her wig.

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    1. I was a bit anti-wig at first, but I love mine. I mainly don a headscarf, for normal day to day stuff, go bald at home and then bust out the wig whenever it’s a special occasion, or I want to blend in! My cousin’s getting married soon and I have a few parties on where I just don’t want to have to wear a scarf. The wig looks so much like my real old hair!

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