STORIES Breast Cancer Awareness Hair today, gone tomorrow Something that has been playing on my mind incessantly over the last few days has been my hair. I can’t get away from how painful the cold cap was. It’s the thing I’m dreading most about the next session of chemo. I keep going back and forth between whether it’s worth the pain or not. Chemo is shit anyway, surely it may as well be completely shit. But then it could be over quicker if I didn’t have the cold cap. And it wasn’t just the time with it on, I had headaches for days. I’m not supposed to wash my hair so it looks crap most of the time anyway. And we are not even sure it worked. Ive started getting tingling in my head, a recognised precursor to it falling out. Part of me hopes my hair all falls out before the next session so the decision is made for me. I don’t want to walk into that room and have to choose the cold cap chair or not. But if it does fall out what am I going to do?? Go around like Matt Lucas for 6 months? I cannot emphasise enough how much thought has gone into this. I go back and forth, back and forth. Cold cap, hair loss, Cold cap, hair loss. I decide I need to buy a wig just in case. Not in an empowered, take this by the balls way. In a pathetic I can’t cope without my hair, this is shit, morose way. I feel like a woman beaten. Whenever I pictured going wig shopping I pictured going in a group, going to lots of shops, trying on lots of different styles, having a right old laugh. Thats how the old me would have done it. Thats not how it was. I took my friend Julie and I skulked into the wig shop in Guildford. It was a chore just to raise a polite slight smile. I’m still in my fog and getting out of the house was an achievement in itself. Having to use all my energy to come and do this was just rubbing salt in the wound. I feel about 2 inches tall sat in a giant chair. She brings over the first synthetic wig and I wanted to burst into tears. I look like a drag queen. Or worse. I look like a cancer patient wearing a wig. We go through a number of styles and each one just pushes me closer and closer to the edge. They all look awful on me. I can’t go around like this for 6 months. But I also can’t bear to do another 5 rounds of cold cap. Then she suggests trying real hair wigs. When she put it on I instantly perked up (only to about 35% of normal perkiness, by no means perky!) this looked more natural, the hairs weren’t all perfect, it looked like I had a little bit of roots. I could style it, curl it, straighten it. It looked like me. I went to the front of the shop to look at it in natural light and a lady said “oh it looks lovely” but I could see a hint of pity in her eyes. Did it really look lovely? Or did it look lovely for a 36 year old cancer patient? I didn’t even really care. It was the best one there. I didn’t want to go around for 6 months looking like pat butcher in a Russian winter hat. Box it up. I know it’s crude to talk about money but I’m gonna… £800. All the money saved so far for my recovery-moon trip somewhere hot. Blown in an afternoon for something I don’t want. Something that will just make me feel vaguely human in a challenging 6 months. I would usually justify such a large purchase with things like “you’re more likely to wear a decent one”, “You’ll need it for a long time you need to get a good one”, “You won’t be spending that money on hair products or cuts for 6 months”. My sister can confirm I am the queen of justifying extortionate purchases. Whatever it is I can find very valid justifications for it. But do you know what? I have cancer and that’s all the justification I need. So with the wig ordered we slope on back to the car and I resume my foggy head position on the sofa. Hair, please don’t go.