The Shedding

It’s official. My hair is falling out.

I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since I started chemotherapy just over three weeks ago. Even though I’ve been kind of excited about getting a wig, I still freaked out every time I noticed a spare strand. It turned into a paranoia. Whenever I picked a hair off my shirt I would ask “Is this it? Is this the beginning of the end??”

Well, the end is nigh my friends. What started with a spare few strands on Monday, has turned into many more strands when I touch my hair. After waiting three weeks for The Shedding to begin, everything suddenly seems to be happening so quickly. Cool wigs are fun and all, but shedding more than my dad’s cat Cashew? Decidedly not cool.

Enter best friend.

I should add “more stylish best friend who had a Conair intervention with me two years ago.” I knew she could be trusted to help me find my new cancer ‘do.

I’m not entirely sure of my plan of action now that The Shedding has begun. I think I will just leave it until I become uncomfortable enough to want to hide it. Apparently shaving your head can stop the hairs that want to fall out from actually from falling out, so keeping a little bit of length may help the process. I can’t bring myself to wear a bandana or one of those funny homemade caps. I think they scream “Cancer Patient” more than a bald head!

For today though, I still have too much hair to fit a wig over. Which is why the wigs in all these pictures sit high on my head. They’ll fall down closer to my head when there isn’t as much bulk underneath. The doctors say my particular chemo cocktail will almost certainly cause me to lose my hair, and the “wig specialist” at the salon said it may only take days now that it has started!

Erika and I started at the Canadian Cancer Society where wigs are donated. But their styles were suuuuper outdated. Think 1980’s housewife in tapered stirrup jeans.

So we ended up at this place called Martinique in Moncton that specializes in this sort of thing. They were nice enough to let us in without a fitting appointment. They had TONS of styles to choose from that were much more modern looking.

Their wigs are all made out of a fine Japanese synthetic fibre that can be curled, straightened, and parted on any side. I tried on a few shorter ones and thought they looked too awkward sitting perched on my head. I really like the idea of a darker wig, but know it will look funny if I lose my eyebrows.

In the end, Erika and I both agreed on this medium-long dark blonde highlighted one.

I’m going to get the bangs cut straight across to frame my face more. Mostly because my natural hair has always been too wavy to pull off nice bangs. I’m told hair often grows back more red and curly after chemotherapy, so straight and blonde before that happens feels very appropriate!

Cost of the wig is coming directly out of The Great Fundraising Act fund (and may even be tax refundable so I hear), so I want to thank you all who donated for helping me out with my new ‘do!! A nice wig definitely doesn’t come cheap, but I know it will be irreplaceable for keeping my spirits up over the next several months. Totally worth it.

Also worth it, the much cheaper, much more fun pink wig I’m ordering off Etsy. Ohyeah. I’m going there.

Posted on August 10, 2011, in Cancer. Bookmark the permalink. 96 Comments.

  1. It’s gorgeous girl!!! Good choice. That was my favorite too.

  2. Bottom picture looks super pretty and natural. Excellent choice. I’d have to name it, but I’m weird that way!!

    • I never thought of naming it! Clearly, I need to come up with a spy name for it ;)

      • In Holland, there’s a book (non-fiction) written by a young woman who bought nine wigs and gave them all a different name that matched their “personality”. There’s for instance Sue (a bit of a bad girl), Platina (for going out) and Pam (gets a lot of questions from other women about her hairdresser)…

        I immediately thought of that when I read this post. I think you look really pretty and natural with the wig you choose. Now you need an appropriate name;)

  3. Agreed – good choice! That was also my favourite :)

  4. You know your beautiful face and gorgeous spirit are all that really shine here :)

    And I am of course happy you got something that makes you feel good!

  5. Hi Susan! You look so beautiful in all of the wigs! My favorite is the “bob” cut. It looks so sophisticated! Good luck, you can’t go wrong no matter what you chose! :)

  6. greensandjeans

    Yessss for bangs! You’ll have to let me know if blonds have more fun.

  7. They all look adorable! I look forward to your blog updates as they are so full of heart and inspiration. Sending you lots of Aloha and Hugs from Honolulu!

  8. Wow, gorgeous! You could pull any of them off but the last one is gorgeous on you.

  9. I like the one you chose! Super cute! I also liked the short ‘bob’ looking one as well (second wig picture)!!

    Hooray for red hair ;)

    Can’t wait to see you rock the pink wig!!!

  10. Nice choice; the color suits you! Love that you’ll be rocking a pink ‘do, too. That’s just fun! :-)

  11. Good choice! You look amazing!

  12. I LOVE that short bob. I think it looks super cute on you. Maybe when your hair is growing back you could get it cut similar to that look. I am glad that you were able to find some more stylish options, and I can’t wait to see the pink one!
    My dad started to really lose his hair yesterday as well. His plan is to wear a baseball hat, but as much as we thought we were prepared– we were not. When there are chunks of hair falling out into your hands it makes things very real.
    Best of luck!

  13. You picked a winner – It looks great on you!

    I actually thought they all looked good on you; especially the short bob.

    So glad you got something that you like.

  14. LOVE the one you chose! it looks super natural and it’s a great cut on your face. although…..i do have to admit i actually like the short wig in picture #2 haha! it kind of looks like my cut!! glad to see your spirits are still high. you’re an inspiration :)

  15. You look amazing! Your strength and courage are beyond admirable and I want you to know that your positive attitude has had an effect on me and the way I view my life. You have many people in this world sending their prayers and well wishes your way. Keep up the good fight…kick cancers punk ass!

  16. I love the wig you chose! You look like Christina Applegate in the last picture.

  17. I like that one a lot :) the shorter bob looked nice on you too :)

  18. You look so beautiful in your new hair! I know it probably feels super weird at first, that’s how I felt when my hair started falling out. Before you know it, you will forget you are even wearing a wig, as crazy as that sounds now! Eventually I just shaved it all off because it was getting everywhere – even in my food, talk about a nightmare. But when I found my wig, I felt like a million bucks because it was my dream hair – long, blonde, and straight. It’s gotten to the point that even though my hair is growing back now, I am going to miss having this “perfect” looking hair! You are rockin’ that new hair so fabulously :)

  19. Oooh, I loved them all…but especially the one you picked :)

    Ever think about having a backup wig — maybe something hot pink or purple? I think you could rock it.

  20. I’ve been wearing a wig for about 8 years now – not due to cancer but rather ovarian cysts. It was very strange at first, both the feeling of it and knowing I had it on. I always felt people were staring. However, now that I’ve made a few major style mistakes and colour catastrophes, I’ve found one that I love and makes me feel pretty, feminine and confident (similar to the bobbed one you tried on but darker with bright red streaks!). Unfortunately at the time I started I didn’t have a close friend to take with me for advice.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. My father had Hodgkins about 6 years ago and has a remarkable recovery. As you mentioned in one of your previous posts, when he was told the doctor said “you’ve got the good type of cancer”. *shakes head and rolls eyes* All the best in your recovery!

    Loving your blog :)

  21. LOVEEEEE the one you picked – it looks fabulous (and so natural!!)

    PS – I’m actually lovin the side swiped bangs! I think straight across would be cute as well – butt maybe you should keep the sideswiped for a bit!

  22. OOoh almost forgot! Does this salon have a website? Or could you tell me the name brand of the wigs you mentioned (the Japanese ones you can style)? Mine is also synthetic but if I tried to curl it, it would melt to my head….!

  23. Kind of cool that you can do something that wouldn’t work with your “normal” hair. I can’t wait to see the blunt bangs! I love the wig you picked and definitely understand the not wanting to have the “typical” cancer patient look…

  24. beautiful! pretty neat that you can do something with these that wouldn’t work with your regular hair. I would have never thought of that :)

  25. Good choice :)
    I loved them all. I agree it’s a chance for you to go for something you couldn’t pull off natural.
    And you should have fun in the pink one :)

  26. You look great!! Good idea to choose a wig that lets you do something your natural hair won’t let you do. And I LOVE the idea of a pink wig! In Berlin, the hair colors are totally outrageous! I’ve seen folks with green, blue, and red (not auburn, but primary red – like Raggedy Anne) as well as bright yellow (not to be confused with blond). I saw one woman with extremely short hair (e.g., maybe 1/2 inch?) that was colored to look like jaguar fur. This particular one used the naturally-occurring colors you’d expect on a jaguar, but another one used primary red and black. And I’ve heard that shedding hair is a sign that the chemo is working. I don’t want to check that fact out on snopes because I want to believe in it! have fun with your wigs, and remember, when Life gives you lemons, just make lemonade!!

  27. Beautiful. I think you made a great choice! You’re such an inspiration. I am so glad I found out about your blog-via a different blog I follow-due to the auction. I am always excited to see your current updates. You are amazing!

  28. Love the ‘do, Susan. I can’t wait to see the pink Etsy one too. Just started selling my jams on that site — there’s so much great stuff on there!

    Oh and by the way, if you find yourself wanting to do some internet shopping/procrastinating, there’s this site my friend got me into called Wanelo that I think might be right up your alley. It’s an aggregator for all things nifty and purchase-able on the web — people can link to products from any store and add them to their profile. The main page ends up looking like Anthropologie meets SkyMall meets Saks Fifth Avenue . . . really cool idea.

  29. I just want to tell you that are a true inspiration. Your strength and courage are obvious from your remarkable ability to maintain such a positive attitude. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  30. I can’t see pictures on my work computer, but I’m sure it looks great! I think you’ll look good as a blonde:) And I can’t wait to see the Etsy one!

  31. I love the wig you ended up choosing! It looks great on you! I’m excited to see what the pink one looks like! :D

  32. Eeee! As soon as I saw the first picture I thought it was perfect. But I realy liked the other ones, too. So glad you can get out, have fun with your friend, model a little and rock it like nobody’s business. You deserve all the confidence, support and fun you can handle!

  33. Hi Susan!
    I’ve been reading your blog since your sister Sara posted it on her FB! I know your sister through EWB. I’ve been following your every move as my mother also survived cancer!

    You’ve got such a great attitude! Keep up the great work!
    I definitely love your choice of wigs. And I totally second the hot pink wig!

  34. You are so awesome!

  35. Since a lot of people like the bob style on you
    (it is cute!) maybe you could try that style as your
    hot pink one or something? Funky cool!

    You look good in them ALL-you must have a nice shaped head Susan :)

    I am so impressed that you are taking the hair thing in stride-
    I know it is only temporary,but we women put such darn importance on our
    hair,so yay for being such a cool cat .I am such a wuss
    that a bad hair cut can bring me down-what a silly silly thing
    in reality! Sheesh!!

  36. my mum mentioned to me once that if you get a doctor to write a prescription for a wig, you might be able to claim the whole thing against taxes? i know getting a wig gave my mum so much confidence back and made her look about 10 years younger. you’re looking great, sus.

  37. Your new hair looks FABULOUS! I have to say, I love all the photos you posted and would have had a hard time choosing between them.
    As always, I have to comment on how gracefully you are handling this. You are beautiful inside and out. I hope we can meet again one day and spend some real time together!

  38. That blog wig looks great, and very real too!

  39. this is fun! You look great in ALL of them. You could totally go undercover here. haha. Glad you feel good in them, cause you look hot!

  40. I love #1 and #4 . Fun that the hair can be curled/straightened- so many options! You look radiant regardless.

  41. Those are all so cute!! I actually really liked the bob :)

  42. They’re all very cute! I think you have a very “versatile” face if that makes any sense– as in you look great in a wide variety of hair lengths and color. Some people just can’t pull off certain looks but seems like you rock them all!

    It sucks to lose your hair but hey, now you know you have a million options for hair styles for when it grows back ;)

  43. It looks cute! Glad TGFA could help.

  44. I love the short bob! Cute!

  45. The last one is the keeper!! You look beautiful and natural with it. I would have said that was your true hair if I had not know…

    Although the bob was neat too!!

  46. I love the style you choose! It looks great on you! :) I think I may be the only one that really liked #3. I get you on the eyebrow thing though. I naturally have really dark hair and ridiculously light sparse eyebrows and it looks weird. I call them my invisi-brows.

    I can’t wait to see the fun wig! :)

  47. Oh, cool! I didn’t realize you had posted this when I tweeted you. You look good in all the ‘dos. It’s because you have a hot face.

  48. You look amazing — love your choice!!!!

  49. The bob works really well on you! I know it’s probably not the look a 25 year-old wants to go for but you should reconsider when you’re older!

    Can’t wait to see the pink wig! You’re going to look oh so sassy! ;)

    And btw, can I say how much you’ve changed my view of what someone undergoing cancer treatment looks like? You’re doing awesome amiga!!!

  50. You look fandamntastic! Excellent choice on the wig.
    Still keeping you in my daily thoughts and prayers. *Hugs*

  51. Love the last wig in your post. It’s the perfect color for your tone and great style! Enjoy being a blonde!

  52. Your attitude amazes me as always & you look great – whatever makes you feel good!

  53. It’s gorgeous and suits your face so well! I love your attitude through all of this, and I can’t wait to see a picture of you in the pink wig when it arrives!

  54. You look like my SIL in the 3rd picture with the longer dark hair and your smile. That’s a good thing, she’s pretty :-) Looks like you had fun! I like the one you picked, makes your blue eyes POP!!!

  55. The wig is gorgeous, I love the color of it!

  56. I love those wigs- I actually think they all suit you really well! It’s good to know that there are nice places like that to make sure you get something updated and quality- worth every cent, if you ask me! :)

  57. TRY A REDHEAD!! i think you would look gorgeous. I mean a color like Brie in desperate housewives

    but you look great in all those you posted here – in polish we have this saying: “ladnemu we wszystkim ladnie”
    it means a beautiful person looks beautiful in anything!

    take care XOXO

  58. I love your wig! I think you chose a great one, and it’s fun to be able to have a different style for a little while. Can’t wait to see what it looks like after you’ve cut it the way you want!

  59. Nice choice. You look beautiful as a blonde :)

    Etsy BTW is my bank accounts worse enemy, love love love shopping there!

  60. Great choice! You look gorgeous in all of them actually. I think I have said before, you have such great skin and smile! ;-)

  61. ooh i like the short one! :) but the one you finally picked out is cute too! i absolutely admire you for your positivity through these tough times. sending warm and fuzzy thoughts from this coast.

  62. I just came across your blog. I just want you to know that I was 25, started a new job and I too was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins. I just turned 39. I had a tumor under my arm and in my chest as well. I just wanted to say you can do this. The chemo was tough, the radiation not as bad. But it WILL work. I’m so sorry this happened to you at this age. But the good news is it is very curable. Feel free to email me if you have questions or anything.

  63. Oh my gosh, they all look so great!! You absolutly have to get one of those yellow Comfy Grip, it makes wearing it sooo much better! Here is a link…

  64. Those wigs definitely look better than any of the ones I found at American Cancer Society!

  65. You made a fantastic choice, the wig looks wonderful! A friend of mine is undergoing chemo right now, and bought not only a wig similar to yours, but a BRIGHT blue bob one for fun. When she wears it (and no, she doesn’t go out in public in it :) ) we say its her alter ego “Skye”! When you get your pink one, I think an alter ego may have to come to the surface too!!! All the best Susan, pulling for you and in awe of your wonderful attitude!!!!

  66. Yes, I agree with everyone!! Great choice. You look beautiful! Another thought for when you’re feeling creative: Pulp Fiction Uma Thurman wig? To be worn with dark glasses and a trench coat… The possibilities are endless. All the best and sending you well wishes!

  67. Wow…it really brings out your eyes though I can’t wait to see the pink one (;

  68. You have a beautiful face and with or without hair, you are gorgeous!

  69. I’m new to your blog, but have to admit that I started reading at Cancer Post #1 and have continued to read (with a brief 10-hour hiatus for work) every post until today’s. You’re a wonderful writer and you’ve made me realize this can really happen to anyone. You’ve been super strong through the whole thing and I love that you can add in humor and see beauty in things around you — probably more than I see to be honest!

    Anyway, your wig of choice looks adorable! I look forward to reading all your posts from here on out.


  70. Oh, wig shopping…not as fun as you would think, right? We did it with my Mom the first time she had cancer. The second time, I don’t think she even bothered with it. Don’t be afraid to rock the bald look! We found out (the hard way) that both of my parents have very nicely shaped heads. Keep on fighting! You have a whole world of people rooting for you!

  71. I always wondered whether I would wear a wig or go bold if I had cancer and lost my hair – which the likely hood of me getting cancer is very high.
    I think I would do a little both.

    I love the wigs on you, but remember that you can rock that bald look too!

    P.S. From the experiences I have heard and seen in my family it seems that if you shave your head you hair will grow back quicker and better.

  72. I quite like the bob on you! But your final choice looks so pretty on you too. :)

    I’ve been casually looking at wigs lately since my hair is falling out like crazy for no damned apparent reason and is getting really thin. At least you know WHY yours is coming out. I want to curl up and ball my eyes out when I get a particularly large amount coming out when I shower some days. But anyway, wigs are so darn expensive! I don’t know what I’ll do if my hair loss gets worse.

    Can’t wait to see you in that pink wig!

  73. I like your choice! I don’t know what I would do if I was losing my hair. I would probably shave it off.

    I still think you need to get a couple of cool hats as well :D

    • Yes! Cool hats are also a must! I’ve been slowly collecting some of those too for days when I don’t feel like putting a mass of fake hair on my head.

  74. Susan you are darling in ALL of those wigs!! I can’t believe how very natural they look – I especially like the shorter bob one on you :)

    You are such an inspiration, I am enjoying traveling your journey with you – please let me (us) know what more we can do – sending daily prayers your way!.

    Much love.
    momma b

  75. You look great !!! I have to tell you that my friend of mine did all three … the wig, the bald look and the scarfs …

    Rooting for you!


  76. I love the one you picked! I liked the bob on you too though :) I agree with the people who said don’t be afraid to just go bare-headed too, although I could definitely understand being uncomfortable doing it – I’m not sure I could. I hope we get to see the pink wig too when you get it! thanks for being brave enough to let us all see what cancer is really like and how it’s affecting your life, I’ve been trying to “re-train” my brain to become more positive-thinking and I found your blog at just the right time to help me with that :)

  77. I love that blonde wig on you, you’re going to be one hot wig wearing chick! ;) but then again, I think you’ll also be pretty hot without the wig!

  78. Love the wig you picked out. Very fun, flirty, and natural looking. You’ll have to let us know how it feels!

  79. I love love LOOOOOOOVE the wig you chose! Adorable.

  80. I love the one you picked, very flattering! That looks like that could be your natural color. I do like the swoopy bangs, however I know they might be annoying to constantly have to brush them aside. I can’t wait to see your pink one. My mom would wear her wig out and about but would go bare-headed at home, too let her skin breath.

  81. That wig looks completely amazing on you!!! Definitely also my favorite.

  82. Hi Susan, I was thinking of you lately and wondering how your treatments are going. I read that you are getting through them pretty good. I too wasn’t bothered very much with any side effects until I took taxol which can give you sore muscles. I had been able to do my 5 km morning walk but my first time getting taxol my feet were extremely sore and had to take 3 days off and rest my feet. Last time taking the taxol my legs were just a little restless, so it seems to get better. I only have 2 treatments left YEAH for me, then I can ring the gong at the clinic. I too picked up a wig and its lighter than my regular color. Everyone tells me that once my hair grows back in I should try to keep that color. So we shall see. On a brighter note about losing your hair, just think that you won’t have to shave your legs for awhile. Nice change for over the summer…..HaHa Take care, and keep up the positive thoughts. Beth

    • I love the cancer clinic gong! Thankfully, taxol won’t be part of my regimen, but I do get a few days of bad bone pain in my from the neupogen shots which makes moving around a lot more difficult. Apart from my “normal” wig, I also bought a blonde one with pink streaks and a reddish-purple one. If I’m going to be bald, I can at least have some fun with it ;) Hope you are making out okay!! xo

  83. With so many looks, you should start a portfolio. Acting may be in your future!

  84. You have the best eyebrows! I think the wig you chose is perfect.

  85. YOU RAWK! all of the wigs. You look so good in all of them I don’t know how you could pick (well blondes do have …) so I guess I know why you picked the one you did!

    Thank you for all of your posts, and making something so scary a bit less frightening. Take care, and I have to say I am so glad you had moved back to family, it’s amazing how that worked out.

  86. I love the wig you chose. And LOVE That you found a pink wig on etsy. You might as well have fun with it, right? I have always wanted blue hair.

  1. Pingback: The One About The Hair « The Great Balancing Act

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