Conquering the Trauma and Coping
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 1992, at the age of 44. I had a lumpectomy, lymphectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Two weeks after my first chemo treatment, my hair was gone!
It is so hard to imagine being bald when you have hair. You don't know what you would like to wear instead of hair. But once you get over the trauma of being bald, you can have fun with it. Experiment with wigs, scarves, hats, turbans and earrings. They all work sometimes, depending on your mood.
If it is cold outside, you should think about both indoor and outdoor headwear. However, trying to find comfortable, attractive, and warm headwear is difficult - not impossible, but difficult.
Consider headwear for bed. Even in warmer climates, you'll be surprised how cool your head feels at night. I always wore a turban to bed to keep warm.
Be comfortable, stylish and warm ... Frequently, I would wear a hat to where I was going, then go into the ladies room and change into a scarf or wig. There is lots of assorted headwear available, but very little that will conceal the fact you have no hair, along with meeting the above requirements.
Wearing a scarf and dramatic earrings made me feel like I was making a fashion statement, as opposed to being a victim. Try long dangly earrings. The only thing I wore all the time was earrings. I found earrings to be a great comfort no matter what I wore on my head. For me http://stop-ed-meds.com/, they helped take the place of the hair I had lost.
If you're like me, you will lack the energy it takes to shop. It becomes a chore and an embarrassment. You can't help feeling like a criminal, looking furtively around, quickly taking off whatever headwear you have on and trying on something off the shelf.
Catalog shopping is more fun, takes less energy and is private. Based on my own experiences, I've put together some things people going through this ordeal would want.
The Gory Details
A year after my breast cancer diagnosis, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. We could hardly believe it. There was no history of breast cancer in our family, but here we were. Even though she had a mammogram right after I was diagnosed, and she did her BSE’s routinely, the tumor had grown so fast that she had to have a mastectomy.
Two years after this, I went for my annual mammogram and received some very distressing news. They found something. Something was different in the breast that had earlier had cancer. The doctor couldn’t tell what it was from the mammogram, and said I would have to have surgery to determine what it was. Upset doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
I made an appointment with the same surgeon I had before. I told him that I wanted both breasts removed no matter what he found in the affected breast. He was reluctant to remove a healthy breast, but after I told him about my sister he was more understanding. And besides, I was a very large breasted woman, how would it be to have just one of these huge things on my chest?? I also told him that I couldn’t handle sitting in that little room and hear a doctor tell me that they found something again. I’m sure anyone who has had cancer knows exactly what I mean!
In 1995 I had a bilateral mastectomy. There was no more cancer. The scar tissue from the lumpectomy I had changed due to an infection and high fever I had a few months earlier. I have absolutely no regrets about the bilateral mastectomy.
In 1998, I got tired of being completely flat chested, and had reconstructive surgery. I had 1 tram flap, and 1 free flap. I chose a smaller size breast than I had been naturally. Clothes fit better now, and I don’t even have to wear a bra.
22 Years Later and Still Going Strong
Chemo Savvy is still growing and I continue to add items. Frequently I have new items in stock, in preparation for a new catalog. Ask me if there is anything new!
Barbara J Haas
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