Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Hair Question

When I was diagnosed with BC, my very first question to the surgeon was 'Will I lose my hair'.  (Not - will I die (no) or is the surgery complicated (yes)).  And then to my oncologist, it was 'Will I lose my hair?'.  And then to the oncology nurse, it was 'Will my hair fall out and if so when?'.  And then the same question to the Internet.  Which gave me 99,500 answers.  And the answers were all the same (an emphatic unequivocal yes, within 2 to 3 weeks of chemo starting). 

I have had 8 weeks now to prepare myself for the hair loss, and I cut about 20 cm off my hair four weeks ago.  But even so, when I endured my first round of chemo, and didn't feel quite as bad as my vivid imagination made out, after two weeks just a little tiny part of me deep down thought: maybe I will be the one rare person whose hair doesn't fall out.  

I have been obsessively studying other people's hair.  Have you noticed how newsreader  hair always looks like a wig?  I have.  In fact anything which is very styled and neat and clean looks a bit wig like.   I know I should say I couldn't care less what other people think of my hair or lack thereof.  But that is just not possible to do all the time.  

But reality bit this week and my hair has been coming out in horrendous handfuls.    So there is nothing for it but to cut\shave it all off.    Which I am doing today.  

 (me with hair and daughter) 

And then there is the question of what to do next.   I feel very strongly that whilst what I want is important, there is a little matter of my family who have to look at me. 

And you can be certain that my family does have opinions.  And quite strong ones. This is what my daughter said about it (verbatim) 'Mummy you have to get a wig otherwise I will COMPLETELY FREAK OUT'.   
And then there are clients at work.  I don't want to shove my condition in their face.  

So off to the wig shop I went to be served by the nicest nicest lady who said things like 'But you are gorgeous, you will look amazing with no hair' (not true but her sincerity was impressive).  She sold wigs to Kyle Minogue and Delta Goodrem when they had cancer.  And I do like mine.  It's not the same as my real hair but I think it will do.  

The other option of course is scarves. 

I was a big wearer of scarves in the 1990s.  Today I have dug them out and ironed them.  Yesterday I went online and bought a Dolce and Gabbana leopard print scarf on sale.  Supposedly authentic but for $60 I have my suspicions.

(Furla scarf bought in Venice 10 years ago)

(Gucci bought 14 years ago)

(two Hermes scarves given to me by my mother years ago.  Not sure these colours are that flattering but anyway). 

(some Vixen scarves) 

And I think I rather like the idea of being a bit gypsy like and giving my scarves a new lease on life.   And I am glad now that I didn't copy Ally's idea of framing my Hermes' scarves.   Time will tell whether I will be able to wear a blue and green scarf with horses on it on my bald head.



Jg. for FatScribe said...

Jane ... you will be in my prayers. my sister-in-law is stage 4 and she is the strongest person i know and has become my hero. she has two young daughters and they are going to be amazing women someday b/c of her influence. when i pray for her, i will pray for you. good vibes are coming to you from the other side of the world (btw, you're on my blogroll which is how i saw this post).

re: the hair conundrum. my brother's wife decided to rock the pixie look when she knew the hair loss was coming. she looked hot. she lost it all eventually, and then she rocked the wig(s) and looked great still. her hair came back, and she never looked better with her (still) short hair.

sending you strength to get through this season of your life. all the best ...

Lee said...

Jane, when my mum had cancer she wore the most fabulous scarves - I thought she looked amazing and very bohemian. With your beautiful collection of scarves I daresay you will look quite glam - hair or no hair. But I also remember that there were times when my mother chose to wear a wig. She managed the whole thing on a day-to-day basis, choosing as she went along. Biggest thing I remember though was how damned expensive that wig was! Lee x

The Swan said...

Just never forget:


Prayers do really help, and the Power of Visualization.

Ann said...

Hell, you've got BC - if ever there was a time in your life to rock a horse-ridden scarf or a groovy Gucci stripe it's now. Carpe diem and all that.

Oh apart from the daughter who may FREAK OUT. But in a few year's time she'll freak out if you stand next to her in public - hairless or not. Now there's something to look forward to...

A Farmer's Wife said...

I say lovely silk scarves on really hot days and the wig on cooler days. That way you can be gorgeous and comfy!

Hang in there. Sending you all the best wishes in the world.

Jane said...

hi Lee - I thought the wig would be $5000 or some such. I must be on another planet because the wig shop people laughed at me. In fact it cost $375 and that is an expensive one. I get a 'wig letter' from the oncologist and can recover most of the cost of it. I think they have some a long way. They still look pretty fake though. xo

brismod said...

I would've run to the wig shop too if my kids told me they'd freak out. Did you toy with the idea of getting a wig totally different to your normal hair?

Your Vixen scarves are lovely. I hope you are coping okay and that life will be kind to you in the next little while. You are very much in my thoughts. xx

Kimmie said...

Hugs from Brisbane
Thinking of you!

Unknown said...

I think I believe the lady at the shop Jane, you look so gorgeous, I think you could pull off anything!
This must be a big day for you. I'll be praying for you and your family and friends etc as all these new changes take place. Big hugs, and big hugs to your daughter too :)

Raina Cox said...

I have no clever comment, other than to say if anyone is going to make a wig look good it's you.

Jenny said...

I was going to say think of all the fun you could have with the different wigs but I guess they can be expensive and there would only be the one wig letter I guess? Thinking of you Jane and I hope the chemo does the job. Love your scarves, you will make them look so stylish no doubt! ;-)

BabyMac said...

You WILL rock the bald head/horse scarf combination. Completely. When my friend had BC, she didn't do the wig but hats/scarves and everyone got used to it pretty quickly (even the kids). She now has fabulous, luscious new hair.

Best of luck with it all Jane x

Natasha in Oz said...

Those scarves are so gorgeous-what a great collection! I think you will look fabulous in them and in your new "do". With winter just around the corner I have already seen some divine hats and beanies in the shops that I think will fabulous on you!

Sending you blessings, love and best wishes,

Anna White said...

Jane...ever since I saw Natalie Portman in the movie V for Vendetta..I wanted to shave my head! Seriously!! and I still have the want...but I'm too chicken..thats the only thing stopping me.
Ive always imagined it to feel quite liberating to just let go..and not care as much as we women do about how we look or what other people with think about how we look.
I know it must be such a hard thing to come to grips with..but you have to just see it as just what it and it will come back.
You are beautiful honey..and I think wheither you wig it, scarf it..or bald are going to ROCK IT!!
I think the wig part of it would be reinvent yourself..try a new colour or style..why not?

Sending big hugs to you honey and lots of love and positive light your way. Your positive attitude and good humour is exactly the tools you need to tackle this..Im so so proud of are truly inspirational x

Read this article the other who may be starting a new trend here

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

Jane you are so brave, and I agree with Ann - if ever there was a time to rock the scarves now is it. Then again having a little fun with a wig is a good fall back option.
You're in my thoughts such a lot. Thanks for the update.
Take care. Amanda

The House That A-M Built said...

Jane, you're positively gorgeous and with those scarves, you will rock. Thinking of you. A-M xx

Laura said...

Maybe scarves on the weekends and wig during the week? Likes jeans vs suits? You'll look fabulous both ways but I would imagine the scarves are more comfortable and they do have a certain je n'ais ce quoi...glad to hear that you're holding up under the chemo.

Toni said...

I wonder what it is that makes us so afraid of losing our hair? I'm a redhead and I've hated it all my life but I still wouldn't be happy at losing it.
Personally, I think you'd rock the bald look, but I also think you'll look gorgeous in scarves. Would have to see the wig before forming an opinion.. they can look really good or really not.

Cindy Rescigno said...


You're an absolute beacon of strength and inspiration to everyone.

Makeminemidcentury said...

Last night I was watching videos of Iris Apfel on this blog

I think it's the latest post so you should be able to find her ... there was a whole series of photos of her in scarves over the years. She looked smashing! And so intelligent and full of spunk.

She was saying wonderful things about style and dress ... if you have a moment you should watch her! She's magnificent.

Your children will freak out when they see you for the first time, but after 10 minutes they'll forget what you looked like with hair, and they'll love you just as much.

I think you're gorgoeus, and now'd be the time to purchase some Easton Pearson numbers and a heap of scarves and go a bit 70s-art-gallery-funky!

63shells said...

Your scarf collection is gorgeous so wear them with pride and having a wig is a great option.

Just Martha said...

You can experiment with different ways to tie your scarf. One of the ladies I know sort of brought it down behind one ear with a small bow tied into the scarf. It looked very chic! Jane,I love your attitude and your outlook. Such style and grace...

Lou said...

Hello there Jane - you are searingly honest in this post and of course the hair loss is on most women's minds when the embark on chemo. Of course it is. I know of other Mums who had chemo and they had a wig really for their kid's sake; to keep some semblance of normality at the school pick up. I completely get that and your daughter's comment is just so apt! Children say it like it is! But whether it's scarves or wig, you will shine through as you have such a fab attitude. Still - whichever way you deal with it, it's a brutal side effect of that horrible treatment. I saw a recovering friend yesterday who wore scarves but who now has hair that is growing back. And you know what? It's just about long enough to style and looks great. As they always say: time heals all. Lou x

Millie said...

Hi Gorgeous Girl - I had a sudden wicked thought. Jane in a black wig, sunnies & a trenchcoat wandering around Melb. looking very 'spyish'! This may be the time to do some moonlighting for ASIO. Now wouldn't those blog posts be interesting. Thinking of you so often.
Millie x

Rebecca said...

Never say never to a horses-on-the-head day. You just never know when the mood will strike!!

Monika said...

Dear Jane, I am sure you will look gorgeous! I am so glad you are sharing these thoughts with us. It really gives others stengths! xoxo, Monika

Mise said...

You look lovely, Jane! I'd only seen your small profile pic and your old wedding shot, so it's good to see you properly. And your daughter is ever so charming. If it were me, I'd go for pretty knitted hats, but there's a lot to be said for wigs and scarves for classiness.

What's this about clients, though? Surely there's no way you should be back at work until you are a lot, lot better?

Sarah B said...

Jane, it's so good to hear from you, but I have to be honest, reading this really got to me. I feel for you, maybe it's your honesty that makes it seems really 'close' or something. As I've said before, I don't have any real experience or advice, but you are so in my thoughts.
I love the idea of rocking those designer scarves - they're fantastic. Thanks so much for letting us know how you are doing.
Best wishes,
Sarah x

Maxabella said...

You will totally rock a scarf, Jane. Post a picky with your new wig on when you feel confident. Did you get a wig similar to your own hair, or did you go all Morticia on us?

And a couple of scarf pics too.

It's all hair, just hair. Hair scmair. x

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

ok, so the only advice/comment i can add to the wig scenario is don't get too close to a bonfire (speaking from experience here darl : )

and man if ever there was a salient reason to acquire an exquisite collection of gorgeous scarves, then you've got it. be brave and bold, in scarves as in everything else.

your in my thoughts xxx

Genuine Lustre said...

Love and healing wishes coming your way, Jane. Scarf or wig will probably depend on your day and mood - it's good to have options. Don't forget the lipstick. You're beautiful.

Samantha said...

Wigs = hot and itchy in summer.

It's going to grow back. It's going to grow back. It's going to grow back.

Get some big earrings.

24 Corners said...

Jane, I had the honor of being asked to shave a very dear friends head for her when she was starting chemo...her family was there, we did it in the garden...and her attitude was great, like yours! Also, her family decided to sport bald caps to offer was wonderful!
Your hair WILL come back...and in the mean time, your impressive collection of scarves and your 'not as bad as I thought it was going to be wig' will be an interesting, daily...temporary (!) diversion (bless that wig lady!).
You and your family are *always* in my thoughts and prayers...stay calm & strong!
xoxo J~

lesley said...

Whether it is a wig, scarf or chemo hats that is not important what is important that you are HERE with a very positive attitude.
Within a short period of time after chemo your hair will grow and that is exciting........
Much love lesley

Paula said...

Jane, my daughter and I were visiting the Flower Fairies website today. Came across the Pear Blossom Fairy print (Flower Fairies of the Trees), thought of your pear tree orchard/house and thought of you.
If you decide to take a break from the wig, your scarfs are as bright and beautiful as your smiley face.
Whatever you choose to wear, remember that your fruit trees attract fairy folk and they will watch over you xxx

Danielle Sigwalt Interiors said...

You are gorgeous and I know will rock the fresh shaved look!!! A good friend of mine had BC and is in recovery and she looked stunning every time I saw her. Now she keeps her hair short and she looks fabulous. She was 36 when she was diagnosed and its been years and she is doing phenomenal! Sending thoughts and prayers your way! xx Danielle


I am remembering the day my sister shaved her head (with all her friends who came with her crying.) Then she moved on and was so beautiful with her wig and darling soft pink hat she always wore on chemo day. She is in remission a couple of years now from stage 4 lymphoma and her hair came back . . . beautiful and stunning.

I am praying for you, still in the bald and chemo stage. Praying for the day your hair returns to come soon.


Bianca said...

Beautiful scarves, and the idea of having a wig gives you options. You are so positive and strong and the best thing is you will come away from this experience even wiser (if it's possible) and enjoying life even more.

Thinking of you and your family often.

Bianca xx

Lucy said...

You are such a beautiful woman (and I never say things like that so it's true) that you just won't look bad either way, which I know will be of no consolation.

I know being better and having your own hair back is the bottom line. But I do think wigs and scarves, and nothing, will not make you look bad. In fact I know of two instances where people have said to others, not knowing that they had changed to a wig because of chemo - 'wow, what have you done to your hair, it's never looked better?'. My mum asked someone that, to her embarassment. Someone who is now looking fabulous still and back in her own hair.

I haven't commented on your blog much but I do like it a lot, and am thinking of you often. I think you are so brave, and such an example of how life, and humour, goes on. You are setting your daughter an awesome example, one she will always remember. My mum has always told me I should look back on the things she has coped with and know that if she did it, I can too. She's still waiting for me to prove that, but the theory's there!

Sending lots of love to you from England, and wishes for wellness approaching as fast as it can.

Helen said...

Greetings beautiful lady from Bend Oregon. I am following your journey ... sending you energy and positive thoughts. Stay strong.

annie said...

My kids freak out every time I deviate from the norm. Isn't that normal? My friend wore her wig to be Godmother at a Christening (formal wear) and relaxed back at the hot weather celebration with one of those very cheap Canteen bandanas. She is a very yummy mummy and makes all looks work with her dazzling smile and groovy clothes. Stay versatile and call it as you see it a day at a time.

Tara said...

Seriously I think you'll look fab any way you choose to go..This is one time in your life when you can say, "I don't give a dam, this is all about me"..xx

Mya said...

I am wondering if these two months since you made your announcement have gone fast or slow for you.
Announcement...ok, since you posted that you have cancer. That is even a difficult word to write.
No advice from me, except - do what You need to do. You have many loved ones around you to offer their advice and support, and yet there are some aspects of this, I would imagine, that you will go through by yourself and you might feel alone. That must be normal.
To cry, to laugh, to dance, to love, to push people away then turn and seek their company is also normal. You will get to know yourself better than you have before and you will make friends with the new you.

Jane said...

Ah, Jane. You have such class and panache that you will pull it off, whether wig or scarf, with style. And really, as long as you feel okay, surely that's all that matters. Stuff what anyone else thinks. As long as you're comfortable and still feeling *you*.

You might need to experiment a bit with colours and patterns before you settle on the ones which make you feel the best. You're such a legend in my books. J x

Anonymous said...

Dear Jane, first of all, that is a beautiful photo of you and your girl. I laughed out loud at your children's reactions. You will make the wig and scarf work, Jane because you are so stylish and beautiful. My father lost his hair with the chemotherapy and Mum collected it all in little lockets for us. That's a nice thing to do for your children.

Sending you love and healing thoughts. xx

Emma Burgess said...

Hi Jane,
I shaved my hair when my uncle had leukemia. I felt exposed and bought hats and scarves. My husband said I was beautiful and I believed him. You are beautiful too. Hugs. Emma xx

Elsa May said...

How are you finding the wig/scarves? I am sure you will look beautiful whatever you choose! How nice that you were "fitted" by Delta and Kylie's err..."wigger" Those gals were my heros in a "if they can do it so can I" way. A word of warning about wigs and high winds - if one finds one has to mix the two one should be careful - believe me things can go horribly wrong very quickly :)
Sending you a big hug, Annie.
ps: My boys were also horrified at the prospect of my going wigless :)

LPC said...

You have to love a strong-willed daughter. I saw your comment on Bloomsbury, and just had to come and give you my best wishes. I don't know why. Something compelled me. I imagine you must be a wonderful person.

Thea said...

You are in my thoughts too. Perhaps now is the time to have several looks - with different wigs and gorgeous scarves. I'm sure you will look beautiful no matter what. And yes, you have to love the honesty of children. xx

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Dear Jane
Sorry for my absence and sorry i missed these posts.. been off the blog and away and not much internet...

I loved Jg's comment.. and I think there is a lot of goodwill and prayers coming your way... I say go the scarves.. and you'll be reminded of your travels!!!

You still make us laugh.. the bit about the newsreaders.. how funny.. was just telling my sister-in-law the same thing the other day.. Remember Tracy Spicer? her hair always looked like a wig on the newscasts .. yet I once saw a more informal shot of her at home and it looked fine!! What's with their hairdressers???

Take care and I'll be thinking of you!!! ciao xxxx Julie

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