Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Author: Gillian Date Posted: 8 July 2020
To wear a wig or not during chemotherapy.
A cancer diagnosis changes us in so many complex ways, not just to our bodies, but our minds, emotions, hormones and our hair. We can on the most part hide what's going on, if we choose to do so but nothing smacks more than " I have cancer" than losing your hair.
For me, my decision to wear a wig was:
To look as different as possible to my usual hair
I didn't feel like me, so it helped that I didn't look like me whilst I figured out what was going on, how I was going to cope and what were these strange emotions coursing through my body causing turbulence, highs and lows?
Cutting my hair before it fell out!
To keep my head warm during a Canberra winter
The choice of headwear 12 years ago was scant to say the least and wearing a beanie whilst inside in a public place, just didn't float my boat - I never wore beanies unless in the snow as my thick hair keeps my head nice and warm
To be able to look at myself in the mirror and not see cancer reflected back
I loved my bald head! It saved lots of time and money on shampoing and hair treatments. On a good day I could look in the mirror and say "You rock bald" but on those bad days, that's the last thing I thought!!!! Wearing my wig I was another person, one with reddish, curly hair so unlike my straight blonde hair and it helped me cope when the going got tough.
To give me the choice of whether I wanted to talk to others about my diagnosis or not
My wig looked so amazing that even my friends forgot I had no hair and this normalised our conversations. I had asked them not to keep asking and if i wanted to talk about what was going on with my treatment, I would. There were days when I'm sure that's all I talked about but on others where I just craved a break, it felt so good to look and feel normal. It also meant that when I was out shopping or having lunch I wasn't asked how I was feeling as I was quite capable of bursting into tears and I didn't want the other person to have to deal with my mixed up emotions. I had a great support group of people who had climbed the same mountain as I was now climbing and I quite often fell apart. Their arms were always ready to catch me or they would climb alongside me or go in front and haul me up. It's so important having your own gherkas who know the mountain so well.
For a bit of fun
I had to have fun to get me through chemo and trying on different wigs with a friend we laughed and laughed as we decided who I looked like - Cher, Lindy Chamberlain, Princess Diana, a meringue (seriously it really did look like a big fluffy one!) I even took to wearing a pink one for special occasions (I had never liked pink, strange what chemo does to you) like my last chemo where not only I wore pink but also my friends who held my hand and celebrated with me. There's always something to celebrate.