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.
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