Monday, 13 May 2013

Bold Is Beautiful

When I was told that I had cancer and have to have A LOT of chemotherapy, one of the first things I thought was 'Oh shit i'm going to loose my hair!' 
After being told the side effects of chemotherapy and that I will 100% lose my hair I was reassured by my doctors that it WILL grow back. To be honest my family were more upset about me losing my hair than I was, especially my mum. It didn't fall out straight away but my instant thought was to cut it really short. I had really long, thick, blonde hair. It wasn't my natural colour as I used to have it highlighted.
My hair was so long I thought it wouldn't be as much of a shock if I had it cut really short first and then shave it all off when it started to fall out. I asked my hairdresser (My best friend kate's sister.) If she would cut my hair. As I was in isolation and only allowed my 4 visitors in my room the nurses made an exception and she was allowed in my room to cut my hair. Me, Mum and Kate were in my room and my mum was very emotional but it honestly didn't bother me that much I just kept thinking in my head 'it WILL grow back,it WILL grow back'. First she put my hair in a ponytail and cut it, she then styled it into a short cut. 
I didn't like it as I was so used to having really long hair and never tried a different hairstyle. Family and friends said it didn't look that bad but I thought different. I did want to donate my hair to make real hair wigs but as I had it bleached etc and it wasn't 'virgin' hair I wasn't allowed so don't know what to do with it and still have it at home.
Most teenagers would go crazy about losing their hair but I just tried to stay as positive as I could. I remember after having it cut really short all my friends came to the hospital to see my hair but as I wasn't in a proper isolation room with big windows they could only peer through the little window in the door. They had to keep rotating in turns to look through the small window. It was really funny at the time and put a smile on my face :) 
I was lucky and kept my hair for a few weeks into treatment, usually it comes out within days but my strong locks were not leaving my scalp. 

The thought of being bald was scary as it isn't normal for girls not to have any hair, boys can get away with it a lot more. Because of this case I was adamant on buying a wig, my nurses arranged a lady to come in with wigs for me to try on . A lovely lady from browns wigs came to my room and brought lots of wigs. I tried on a lot of different styles, short, long, light and dark. I was going to try a different hairstyle but fell in love with a long, blonde wig. It was the one that looked the most like my 'old' hair so I think that's why I liked it. My Nan said she would buy the wig for me which was lovely. The NHS gave £100 towards the wig and the wig I wanted was £170 so my Nan paid the rest, she also bought a wig stand and a special shampoo and conditioner spray for the wig bless her :)
 You don't have to wash it everyday like you would normal hair, you wash it every few months. I was really excited and the wig took a few weeks to arrive. 
In the meantime I had a lot of chemotherapy and was feeling pretty sick. It was at this time that my hair started to fall out. 
At first it fell out in little strands here and there, then it became extreme and I would wake up and my bed was covered in hair. I used to brush it and the hair brush would be completely covered, it was a difficult time my hair actually falling out. I then decided to have all my hair shaved off. My mum was going to do it but she was shaking too much and really upset so in the end one of my favourite HCA's Catherine shaved it off. She had done it a lot before so she knew exactly what she was doing. Also I was allowed to have a shower after having it shaved as I had hair everywhere this was quite a treat as I was in an isolation room without a shower.
As well as my wig I bought myself a lot head scarves and bandanna's. I found a really good website that sells pretty head scarves and would definitely recommend - Anna Bandana. I used to wear them on my week home or when I was in hospital. This website is amazing and you can get really pretty accessories for head scarves to make them look really nice at a affordable price. I had thin patterned scarves and even hair clips, I spent lots of time choosing but it kept me busy while in hospital.
To be honest I didn't wear my wig a lot. I wore it to my auntie's wedding and on a few more occasions. It made my head really hot, itch and uncomfortable. It didn't look really fake but I could just tell that it was, every time I looked in the mirror I could just see myself that it was so I didn't wear it often. 

My hair started to grow to a really short length but due to constantly having treatment, every time it grew back, it would fall out again when I had more chemotherapy. It wasn't until after I had my stem cell transplant that it started to grow and 'hopefully' NEVER fall out again. When your hair falls out it can grow back completely different to your previous hair. It can grow back a different colour and style. Mine has grown back really thick and a dark brown colour. It started out growing really straight and now it has started to curl at the back. (6 months after transplant) I can't do much with it at such a short length, I blow dry it and have tried straightening  it with my little sister's mini straighteners but as it's really short it's pretty hard to style. I am going to the hairdressers this week to have it cut and styled as it is starting to look quite messy.
This is my hair now.
Before having cancer and having to loose my hair, I would never have thought a short hair style would suit me but a lot of family and friends say how nice it looks. People saying this has boosted my confidence. As you can imagine my confidence has been hugely knocked since loosing my hair. I am used to it myself and am considering keeping it short. 
Anyone who is worried about losing their hair I hope this blog can help reassure that you can still stay positive and that it WILL grow back. There are also some amazing wigs and head scarves you can wear but remember 
Always smiling x

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