Does chemo always mean loosing your hair?
Jennifer Foley

Jennifer Foley

Does Chemo Always Mean Losing Your Hair?

“Will I lose my hair?” is the question anyone asks while the first sharp shock of being told they have Cancer sinks in. My routine Breast Check appointment had turned into this all-to-familiar surreal situation. I had been diagnosed with Hormonal Breast Cancer and would need surgery followed by Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. I called my husband to collect me and both of us left the Mater Hospital absolutely traumatised while the news slowly sunk in. Over the next few weeks I had time to adjust to my new reality and after the surgery, a Lumpectomy, I braced myself for my initial Chemotherapy session.  

The realisation really hit home when the Oncologist said my hair loss would begin within 2 or 3 weeks of my first round of chemo and I was able to let Jennifer know this rough timeline so she could provide me with a few wig choices. I went down to her Salon and tried on various wigs but, having known me for a long time, Jennifer had picked a particular wig that was just perfect. It is such a discrete and private service that I relaxed and actually enjoyed the experience. She was going to keep it until I reached the dreaded day when my remaining hair would have to be shaved off.

I left the salon wearing my new acrylic wig which disguised the fact that I was definitely not myself underneath.   

Trish with her own hair and her new wig!

Until it happens to you, it is very hard to explain what hair loss feels like. My hair became really dead and started coming out in clumps. As I had always had really good hair and it was such a part of my identity, it was upsetting and I decided to go into Jennnifer while I still had hair so she could cut it very short before the inevitable day when it would all be gone. I thought about leaving it short for a week or two but then, in a moment of rare courage, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and get it all shaved off that same day. Jennifer made that extremely traumatic experience as bearable as she possibly could and I left the salon wearing my new acrylic wig which disguised the fact that I was definitely not myself underneath.   

I know some courageous people prefer to brave it out without a wig but I discovered I wasn’t one of them.  I refused to think about my shorn state underneath and the wig became a vital part of me. Basically, when I looked in the mirror, I still felt like myself. Vanity springs are eternal! 

I adored wearing the wig and only left it off at night or while showering. I also had several nice caps which would supplement the wig but I mainly wore them at night (you don’t realise how cold your head gets until you have no hair). The 6-months of treatment were so exhausting that I ended up delighted that washing and drying my hair was one less thing I had to worry about. Jennifer had given me special shampoo so I simply soaked and rinsed it every few weeks and it dried perfectly overnight. Another friend who had Breast Cancer felt exactly the same about her own wig. 

When my hair started growing back I wore the wig until it became uncomfortable due to the new hair growth underneath so I eventually had a very short and coloured style until my hair grew to its usual length. To be honest, this was the most difficult part of the whole experience but throughout my treatment, I looked forward to periodically visiting Jennifer Foley Hair Boutique where Melissa would make sure my wig was being maintained correctly.  

I would highly recommend anyone in this situation speak with Jennifer. She made a very sensitive situation bearable and helped me maintain my self-esteem.

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