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.
Last week a wonderful co worker of the SGT’s asked if I could make his two sons some hats. He wanted something hand made to take back to India to give them and to show his wife my skills. I was flattered and agreed. I used the Magic Coffee Baby Hat that was in my library.
Since his children are 4 and 2 years old respectfully, I went up two needle sizes and made the largest size. The ribbing on the orange hat is K1tbl, P1 because I misread the instructions. Since I was using mystery scrap yarn, I ditched the stripes and the I-cord loop on top. It was a fast knit and rather enjoyable. I hope his wife and children love them and I hope they fit.
More information about the hats can be read on my Ravelry page. More FOs can be seen over at Tami’s blog.
Yes! Knitted wigs! It’s a thing! And more than just Knitty’s Hallowig.
Louise Walker is a photography student and as part of her final project she knitted up a bunch of wigs for women with hair loss. During chemo, I tried making my own Hallowig but it didn’t quite work out for me. I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this project first!
You can read about Ms Walker’s project via the Daily Mail here.
I did buy a wig and it was nice to wear once. After that, it was difficult to make it sit “correctly” on my head. Plus the cap you wear underneath it made my scalp feel really itchy. So I would push back the wig to scratch at it which would make the part slip and look so strange. Then I would start to sweat which just made the whole thing look like a mess.
Okay, not a big mess there, but it was one of the few times that I was able to wear it nicely. If you look closely, you can see the outline of my PICC line in my arm. I’m glad that I don’t need it, though it was useful for setting up an IV.
Knock on wood, but my last IVIG treatment was earlier this month. I go in for a quick blood test next month to see if it’s raised my immunoglobulin levels. If it has, then I’ll be fit as a fiddle and no longer immunocompromised. I was proactive this year and got my flu shot back in November. I’ve already gotten sick but it didn’t last as long as when I got the flu last winter, so fingers crossed that it’s a good sign.
Posted in Cancer
Tagged cancer, hats, wigs
My favorite chemo cap and my favorite scarf
I’ve been asked, “Hey Vanessa, I want to knit/crochet my friend a chemo hat. Do you have any tips?” Since I made my own chemo hats, I do have a few purls of wisdom to share.
- Use a very smooth yarn. The very fuzzy yarns with halos both irritated my bald scalp and left me sneezing from the hairs tickling my nose. I avoided using acrylic because I don’t have any wool allergies. Acrylic felt very scratchy against my head.
- Keep it long enough to cover the ears. A lack of hair meant my ears were always very cold.
- My favorite chemo cap happened to have lanolin still in the yarn from the sheep. It gives it a sheepy smell but it inadvertently moisturized my head while I wore it.
- A dense knit or crocheted fabric is perfect in the winter. In the summer, the cute hat with the eyelets is much better.
But most of all, make it with love. (aw!) That’s the only thing that matters (double aw!)
Posted in Cancer
Tagged cancer, chemo, hats
I finished the Triple hat I started last week. This was a breeze to knit and worked up very quickly too. It’s going to be so warm and cozy!
Project: Triple Hat
Pattern: Triple by Odessa Reichel
Yarns: Malabrigo worsted in Purple Mystery and Oasis Yarn Aussie Worsted in white
Needle size: US 7 – 4.5mm
I’m so glad I was able to test knit this. It was so much fun and a great way to practice stranded knitting. Now if only it would get cold enough to wear it.
For more FOs, check out Tami’s blog.
Posted in Knitting
Tagged FOs, hats
I’ve been patiently slogging through my cardigan and the Sgt’s socks I’ve been itching to do something a little faster. The opportunity came along to test Odessa’s Triple hat so I jumped on it!
I’ve got the yarn all wound up and will be casting on later today:
The blue-ish yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Purple Mystery. It’s hard to capture its true color but it’s blue and purple. Ravelry says it’s an Aran weight but it’s more of a worsted. It is so incredibly soft. I wound both balls by hand and it was so smooth and soft. Now I see why people obsess over it.
The white yarn is Oasis Yarn Aussie Worsted. While it’s a great economy wool yarn (I paid about $6 for 200 yards) it just doesn’t compare to the softness of Malabrigo.
I’ll be knitting the body of the hat with Malabrigo and the color work section in Oasis. I think the white against blue will make a nice high contrast. Plus I want to feel most of the Malabrigo (that’s 4 times I’ve written that) against my head. It would have been a good soft and smooth yarn to use for my chemo hats. Next time someone asks for one, I’ll be using it!
For more WIPs, check out Tami’s blog.
Posted in Knitting, Yarn
Tagged hats, WIPs, yarn
I was quite flattered to know that my talented friend Noelle used the Adventure Time hat I knitted for her as part of her costume for last weekend’s New York Comic Con.
She’s so cute! I’m a little sad I missed it but it seems like it was a good time.
Olivia got her hat on time for her birthday! And it was a big hit both with her, her friends (she bragged about it on Facebook) and my family.
Crappy Photobooth picture, ahoy!
It really is nice to know that something I made with love (she’s the closest thing I’ve got to a little sister) is equally loved by the recipient. That’s what being “knit worthy” is about. I’m going to delve more into what “knit worthy” means but for now, it’s about being a gracious recipient and not being demanding. I tend to tune out when people (usually strangers!) say “You should knit me a(n) <insert object here>. ” If there are two words in the world that I hate it’s “you should…” It’s quite bossy and snotty. Particularly if you’re talking about my craft!
I’m so happy that the hat fits and has just enough slouch that she likes. For more wonderful FOs, check out Tami’s blog.
Posted in Knitting
Tagged FOs, hats
It’s done! And it’s awesome.
I love the hemmed brim. I think I’m going to do that for all of my hats from now on, instead of ribbing. It’s nice and slouchy which is what Olivia wanted.
Here are the deets:
Pattern: Wurm by Katharina Nopp (it’s a free download!)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina
Needle size: US 4 for the brim and a US 6 for the body.
Modifications: None. I made the largest size for Oli’s fat head.
Ravelry page for this project is here. I’ve got a few grams left of the yarn so I might make a matching cowl for her later. Though she’s asked for a crocheted Psyduck for Christmas. It’s too cool not to do, but we’ll see if I get around to it.
For more Finished Objects d’arte, check out Tami’s blog.
I’m almost done!!
Her birthday is on the 28th so I’m ahead of schedule. It should be done *fingers crossed* and in the mail this weekend. I’ve got to remember to sew in a “made by” label that I have and print out one of Underground Crafter’s funny “I made this please don’t felt it” care instructions.
For more WIPs, check out the party that’s happening on Tami’s blog.
Posted in Knitting
Tagged family, hats, WIPs