Mange has struck crisis levels, kids. It’s time for action.
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:
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!
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’.
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.
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!
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:
Not bad, huh!
On the way to finding Connie, I also tried a couple of other, more adventurous looks…
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:
Much to my surprise, these beautiful kids barely batted an eyelid at my new bald head:
And they all wanted to try on my new hair:
The new me, folks: bald but feeling brave.