This blog post is dedicated to “J”, a reader of my blog. Thanks for sharing your story “J”.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fireside Chat.”
“J” all of 52 years is a successful hair stylist in Los Angeles. As a stylist with her own salon, she thought she knew everything that is to be known about styling and hair cuts. Afterall having trained in the Hair Design Institute, Manhattan, her expertise could not be doubted. But at the age of 49, “J” was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The diagnosis, surgery and treatment, all came as a shocker and by the end of 6 months, she was worn out and tired. But she confronted one aspect that all women cancer patients go through- losing their hair as a result of aggressive chemotherapy.
“J” initially decided to not sport a wig and maintain the bald look. “After all’, she said “I wasnt ashamed of anything. Losing hair is a bargain for having my life saved.” But being in the profession of styling, when she got back to work, she realised, her looks did matter. “My bald look didn’t really go well with my self-image. I had to maintain a certain confident look, so I decided to sport a wig.”
Buying a wig was the next thing to do, and that’s when she realised how overwhelming it could be. At a time, when you are already going through so much physically and emotionally. “Of course I knew my hair would grow back in time, but in the interim a wig was a much-needed thing. As I had always sported a short hair style, I picked one almost similar. The biggest pain in hiding under a wig, is this constant pricking sensation. Thats why I always recommend people to buy a good quality one. The synthetic material may often cause irritation, especially on a hot day. Another worry was the wig flying off in a windy day. So I then had them neatly pinned down by the side of my ears. But then I also found the brighter side of it. The few months I sported a wig, I tried out different styles. From a curly-haired one to an auburn one, I had a fun time trying them out, My clients at my salon noticed my new look and I did manage to get some compliments for my new look. It pepped me up in the depressing days of chemotherapy.”
The battle with cancer could be quite taxing, both mentally and physically. Sometimes such small thrills, of trying out new wigs, could definitely bring some cheer. Its not about the wig, says “J” , I look at myself as a whole new person. And when I remove my wig, I am reminded of cancer within me. I put it on and I am the stylist in me.
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