That really is the biggest question most cancer patients have. After “am I going to die?” of course. It’s also the most personal decision I had to make. I’m not a doctor so I couldn’t personalize my chemotherapy regime to suit me. I knew I was going to lose my hair and there was no getting around that. So much of cancer treatment is about losing control but this? This was one thing that I had control over.
I did purchase a wig. In fact, my insurance did cover high quality human hair wigs. I never got around to buying a real one. Mine was a $20 synthetic Beatle-esque bob. I thought that maybe I could deal with life if I felt a bit more normal. I had shaved my head the week before when huge snarls of hair were trapped in my pillow case. I still had my eye brows, they had thinned out but still looked normal.
So I bought the wig. Looking at the few photos I have of me in that thing, it looked terrible. And it felt even worse. It was hot and uncomfortable and itchy. I couldn’t get it to line up nicely on my head.
But you know what? For the one day that I wore it, I felt normal. The next day, I realized that I was normal. I just had cancer. And if anyone wanted to say something about being bald, they had that right. I also had the right to ignore them.
On the other hand, a friend’s mother also lost her hair to chemo. She wore her wig every day of treatment because it made her feel empowered. Other people only wear a headscarf. I sometimes wore a scarf around the house, but mostly I stuck to either going au natural or wearing a hat if I was very cold.
There really is no right or wrong answer. Perhaps you will chose to wear a wig when going out or deciding, “Fuck it. Bald is beautiful.” And if you don’t feel that way, that’s okay too. You reserve the right to tell off anyone who says anything different.