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Hair Styling Industry Brings Hope to Cancer Patients

Sheryl Crow long layered hair style with loose curls

Hairdressers Touch Cancer Patients in Unique Way

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the hair styling industry plays an important role with those suffering from this breast cancer. Hair stylists touch the lives of breast cancer patients in a very special way. We literally touch people daily with the services we perform. I just read a story from a breast cancer survivor, that reminds me again how the little things we do make a big difference in the lives of those afflicted with this terrible disease.

Below is an excerpt from this woman’s most heart-felt story which she credits her wig and stylist for not only being able to accept her fate, but “even be able to laugh at it.”

“I looked into the bag with complete and utter disbelief. It was difficult to reconcile being beautifully maned one day and shiny bald the next. There was no segue, no gradual change. Nothing in my life could have prepared me for that moment. I lost my grip. I kept thinking how vain, how shallow I must be for agonizing more over baldness than cancer. But it was true; cancer I could handle, baldness I couldn’t.

After two days in bed I realized I couldn’t spend the next six months in bed waiting for my hair to grow back. I bought a wig a month earlier. I put it on. It looked awful. I cried. I called Raymond, from whom I’d purchased this wig, and he told me to come into the hair salon.

I didn’t know that in Raymond’s tiny, crowded room where he styled wigs, I would learn to face and accept the harsh realities of breast cancer. I only had one breast, no hair, no eyebrows and possibly no future.  It sounds grim but somehow in that room I learned not only to accept my lot but even laugh about it. And Raymond was largely responsible.

We joked and laughed. He told me about other cancer clients and their wig woes. I relaxed, grew more comfortable. Looking in the mirror and seeing myself bald became less difficult. I learned how to feel vulnerable and safe at the same time. It was a long process and Raymond was a great facilitator. I’ll bet her never knew how important he was to me.

Sounds odd doesn’t it? Visits to a hair stylist, a wig stylist, being the bright spots in a cancer scenario. But the intimacy of the stylist-client relationship is legendary; quadruple its intensity when the client is newly bald and the hairdresser is one of the few privy to the knowledge.”

As a hairdresser, I know the blessings you receive in being an intimate part, in touching lives in such a healing way. It’s an AWESOME job!!

You can donate used wigs to the American Cancer Society.

Barb Quinn on Google+  

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Got a question, war story or comment about this topic? Click on the "Leave Your Comments" link at the very bottom of this article. Some of my best ideas for future articles come from reading reader comments. I'd love to hear from you!





2 Comments »

  1. I did a quick google search on ‘hair cancer Asheville NC’ and got a couple of leads in your area;

    http://www.secretsofaduchess.com/

    http://www.girlonthego.biz/wigs-north-carolina.php (may only work on wigs?)

    http://local.healthvideo.com/Cancer_Asheville_NC-t2365_Asheville+NC.html

    A friend and fellow stylist of mine went through total hair loss after breast cancer treatment and had the same results as you with her naturally straight hair growing back curly. The initial curl was kind of fuzzy and she learned that this wasn’t uncommon. After just a couple haircuts the curl was completely cut out and her natural straight, full hair came back.

    She had a wig from a salon like the 1st one above, and the stylist there was really able to help her through all her questions. That wig was expensive maybe around $400.00 but the cost also paid for all her haircuts and needs during her transition. Even if you don’t want a wig, these stylists will be worth your search.

    Not sure if you have a “Merle Norman” store near you but they also have synthetic wigs that are very nice for much less money, maybe $75 and up. Sometimes wig donations can be found from the American Cancer Society.

    A stylist can easily trim your brows too and show you how to do it, my guess is they will tame down with time also.

    I think it is really worth your while finding the salons or stylists in your area who specialize in this area. Try the American Cancer Society for recommendations, I imagine they would be a great resource for you.

    Comment by Hairstyle Blog — October 15, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

  2. I keep reading about hair loss from cancer treatments but what about after?
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer and due to chemo I lost all hair, everywhere. Since the end of chemo my hair is returning but it is curly, I had strait hair before.
    Also my eyebrows are soooo thick now. I have never had to wax or pluck. Now they are like giant caterpillars.
    Are there salons in my area (Asheville, NC) that can help me out. I need a price break and want to learn how to style curls and how to take care of my eyebrows and very small eyelashes? Dealing with the loss of my hair, the chemo, and radiation are overwhelming and I need help to deal with this small dilemma!

    Comment by Penny Gamblin — October 13, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

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