Breast Cancer – Losing your Hair [video]

Video author: Streaming Well
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Video Transcript

Streaming Well

Well, I started the chemotherapy on a Monday with the view that probably within a few weeks I'd probably start to lose my hair. It started on Monday, and by the Thursday, I was completely bald. Well, I wasn't completely bald, there was big bald patches, and it was my choice. I said to my husband, "Just shave it off. Just shave it off." Because to me, mentally, and I can only speak for myself personally as well, I was able to cope with it, completely bald, and then this is me. I've just go to deal with it.

I've experienced over the years that the loss of body hair is a really big one, and usually much more significant than loss of a breast, actually. Not always. For some people, the loss of a breast is the really big thing for them. It seems like kind of a last straw when the eyebrows and the eyelashes go. And of course the pubic hair may go, too. So, to be kind of stripped naked in these kind of circumstances is such a difficult thing for women to experience and not looking like themselves, not feeling like themselves. That's a difficult time for people to adjust to, and it takes time, actually. As much as anything, these things take time, and people find a way.

Humor is a good way that people also find to help themselves, I think. I had this wig on, and I'd forgotten I had the wig on, and it was so itchy, and I'd lift it up and I started scratching, and my 10-year-old son at the time was just so embarrassed, but we then started to make light of it. You know, if was like, "Mum. Mum, please don't do that."

Helping people towards finding the right kind of wigs for them, if they're going to use wigs or if they're going to scarves or hats or the ways that they want to go about it can be an important thing to do. And to find help with makeup so that they can still do themselves up and actually look as if they've got eyebrows can make a great difference to people. I do encourage people to dress in their best clothes as well as far as they're able to make themselves feel as good as they can.

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