Wigs, Scarves, Turbans… or Nothing??
I’d decided quite early on that if the hair went, I wasn’t going to wear a wig.
Some people gave me their opinions, and I was grateful for their outlook on it, some said there was always ‘time to change my mind’ even, but I’d made my mind up. I also wasn’t the sort of person who could just look in the mirror and say ‘right, this is me for the next lord knows how long, I’m going to embrace the baldness and go out for all to see!’ I admire anyone who does do this – I just wasn’t confident/brave enough.
Wigs. I knew I’d get VERY hot. I never wore a hat in the summer or winter – I got too hot all the time. The thought of walking around a shop getting roasting hot and wanting to whip a wig off?
No thank you.
I’d also be wondering if it was on straight all the time…
‘Why are people looking at me like that…?!?’
I know wigs are fabulous nowadays and you can’t tell they ARE wigs, and of course you don’t stand out. But it just wasn’t for me.
So scarves it was. I searched the Internet for designs and bought myself a turban style hat together with a couple of scarves to see how I got on.
I LOVED them.
I kept the turban hat for cold weather and for wearing around the house when the head got cold – which it did quite often!
There are so many lovely designs out there. I wanted a style where I could just put it on, no faffing about trying to tie it every time, and I found the perfect style for me: pre-tied, elasticated headband, and so many colours to choose from, I DEFINITELY enjoyed shopping online for these!
Go on…take it off!
I don’t know how many times someone said that to me.
At home, I would walk about the house in front of the family, scarf-less, but as soon as someone came to the door or I was well enough to go out, on it went. Oh how that sounds so calm and matter of fact! It wasn’t calm. Every time someone came to the house I’d frantically grab a scarf lying about, saying through gritted teeth ‘don’t let them in yet I’m not ready!!’. I felt secure underneath the fabric. My security blanket.
The day after my head was shaved, I went in for round 2 of the FEC chemotherapy. I walked into the Dorset Cancer Centre and they sat me in a chair. I could feel myself getting warm the minute I sat in the bay. A voice in my head was saying ‘take the scarf off!’ and I was answering ‘er no not likely!’. Why not??
No one knows me… I’m not sitting in an M&S coffee shop either – I’m surrounded by people having treatment for Cancer. But I was the only one in the Bay at that time without hair. The other patients were having Chemo treatment but a different type, for different cancers.
Excuses excuses. And I sat there with the scarf on, for the WHOLE time. And at the third cycle too. However by the fourth cycle, it was May and there were some warm days. In the hospital, it was hotter of course and I thought – that’s it – I can’t do it! I’m not going to sit here any more with beads of sweat running down my temple. It’s coming off!
As I removed it, the other patients looked, smiled, then carried on with their conversations. The nurses came and went, no one took much notice. Why would they? They’re used to seeing people without hair. It was just my paranoia.
I never went out of the house without a scarf on, and in the summer months, they were a godsend as they were either cotton or silk and cool enough to wear without overheating. I had half a dozen of various colours, which would go with my various clothes, and I went for bright colours too. I had lots of compliments saying the scarves suited me, and how nice they looked. They became the norm and I’d even forget I was wearing one.
Until mid-conversation with a stranger in a shop and you get the look of course.
The main down side of wearing a scarf rather than a wig. It draws attention.
And that took me a long time to get used to. But you do get used to it. I’d be walking around the supermarket oblivious to wearing it, yet my daughter would say “Mummy I don’t like it when we go shopping and people stare at you”.
We also both struggled in the school playground. Before the hair fell out, I hadn’t gone public on social media about Cancer, but my circle of ‘mum-friends’ knew and had been very supportive. But as is quite common at schools where you have to collect your child from the playground, rumours were rife.
On the morning of the second round of Chemo and the first outing in my scarf on the school run, I walked my daughter into the playground.
I could feel the eyes on me, the words between parents, and I got watched as I walked down and back out again. Not from my friends and those in the know, but those who had maybe wondered but never asked.
That was it. Enough wondering. I decided that night to go public on Facebook, and post a photo of me in the scarf, basically saying ‘this is me’.
I was shocked, pleased, and humbled at the response I received from that post.
Next: New Hair Please!!