Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet the Wigs

A few weeks ago I went to the wig bank at the cancer center and picked out a couple of wigs. These are the first wigs I've ever gotten in my whole six years of treatment. Usually I wear scarves.

Meet Aubrey!

Meet Karen!

As you can see they are very different from each other! My natural hair is dark and curly, so they're both quite a change for me, Aubrey in particular. I've also never had a hair cut as cool as either of these - the cool bangs, cool layering, etc. Usually I go pretty basic - long layers, some face framing, and that's it. The last time I had hair that long I was in high school! I prefer Aubrey; she's a little more fun, and looks better on me. Who would ever have guessed I'd look good as a red head?

I decided to get some wigs because I thought they might give me a little more confidence when I'm out in public or meeting new people. I've only worn them a few times since I got them, and the first couple of times I think I was more self conscious than I am just wearing a scarf! I was worried that the wig would shift and look funny on my head, or that it was easy to tell I was wearing a wig, that it looked terrible on me, that the hair was tangling, etc. I hadn't gotten wigs previously because I'd heard that they are itchy and hot, and because I like accessorizing my outfits with scarves. Turns out wigs are indeed itchy and hot! But I do like looking a little more "normal" when I go out in public. I blend in rather than standing out.

The other reason to get wigs is that despite the Rogaine my hair doesn't appear to be growing back. Reasons that my hair isn't growing back yet are: still waiting to grow back from the chemo I got eight months ago (unlikely), the chemo I'm getting now (which shouldn't affect hair growth), and hair gvhd. I know a few girls, all around my age, who have hair gvhd. One is totally bald, one has extremely thin hair (thinner than mine is now) and doesn't wear a wig, and one who has thin hair and wears a wig. Rogaine does say that it takes a few months to work, and I've only been using it for two, so there's still a chance that I'll see some regrowth in the next couple of months. I can also try a higher dosage of Rogaine and see if that helps (buy Rogaine for Men instead of Rogaine for Women. Because obviously my life isn't already embarrassing enough!).

I can't tell if my hair is growing back or not, but I am starting to lose a little bit of hope. I haven't totally given up, but I think it's best if I start trying to get used to the idea of being mostly bald forever because it's going to take a long, long time to get used to. I hate the idea of my hair never growing back. I really don't mind being bald for a few months; I understand that it's a necessary evil when it comes to chemotherapy and getting healthy. I comfort myself with the knowledge that it will grow back. But what if the hair loss is permanent, what do I say to myself then?

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, if I have to sacrifice my hair to stay alive, it's a small price to pay. It's just a really, really sucky price. I miss my hair. I miss washing it, running my fingers through it, the way I look with my hair, I miss it blowing all over my face when I roll the windows down in my car. I always liked my hair. Not to mention, if I thought I'd have a hard time finding a guy who would put up with the cancer thing, it'll be even harder to find someone who will put up with cancer AND permanent baldness. Imagine coming home to someone who looks like a cancer patient every day. I can't blame anyone who doesn't want to sign up for that.

It makes me extremely sad to think that I'll probably be mostly bald for the rest of my life. That every day I'll wake up and put on a wig, and then take it off at night. That I'll never see my natural hair again.

A small prayer to the universe: Can I have my hair back please?

I guess until then, Aubrey and I will be spending some time together. It is kind of fun to play dress up with wigs, but I really hope it isn't something I'll have to do forever.


Anonymous said...

I love them! Especially Aubrey, such a great colour and style. What a neat idea to try something that is different to your natural hair. It must be fun trying them all on too!

Fingers crossed for your hair growth. Bon courage :)

shannon said...

I really like Aubrey! So cute.

And fingers crossed that the Rogaine kicks in.

Zhu said...

Fingers crossed for growing hair! Although I must admit I totally suck when it comes to growing fruits and veggies, so I'm not sure I'm the best person to help you grow your hair back. Mmm....

Have you ever heard of the woman who had cancer and picked 7 wigs, named each of them (like you did!) and gave them a total different personality? There was the sexy one, the daring one etc. I believe she wrote a book.

Monique said...

those are going to look soooo cute on you!!! Take pictured with them on :)

Here's to hoping that your hair grows back fast! And if it doesn't, that you feel FABULOUS with your first wig experience!

getyourselfconnected said...

I am liking the Aubrey!

I hope your hair will come back in ,I really do. In case though, you could go punk and get pink hair and stuff!

au soleil levant said...

Kiwi - thanks! Trying on different wigs is definitely fun. Maybe next I'll go blonde?

Shannon - thanks and thanks!

Zhu - hey, I'll take any growing help I can get! I haven't heard of the woman with the wigs, will have to look up her book

Monique - thanks, but you know, to preserve whatever shreds of anonymity I might still have, the likelihood of pictures of me in wigs is pretty slim :P

GYSC - thank you! I'm thinking maybe a nice bright purple for my punk rock look. Can't go wrong with purple!

Ann said...

After my second transplant, my hair didn't grow in completely. I started using extra-strength Rogaine for men. The dermatologist treating me for GvHD explained that the one designed for women is next to worthless and that the higher dosage would be fine. She suggested using the foam since it would be less drying for the scalp. I started to see a small amount of hair growth after 4 months. By 6 months, I had a full head of hair. I know it sounds stupid, but not being able to grow a decent amount of hair caused me more anxiety than anything else post treatment. It was like the final barrier to being able to pass for normal for me. Stick with the Rogaine, and best wishes to you.

au soleil levant said...

Ann, thank you SO MUCH for your comment. It really calmed my nerves. The only other women I've met with hair regrowth problems have all been accepting it for a while by now so I don't know what it was like for them at first and all of my other cancer girls just give me the typical "it'll grow back" line. Very comforting to hear a successful story! I'm going to go get Rogaine for Men very soon and hopefully see some changes! Being bald is the most physically identifying mark of having cancer. Of course continued baldness keeps us locked in that world and prevents us from moving on.