How Hair Reborn Helped Me
I am delighted to be writing a blog for Hair Reborn. A charity like no other, that helped me through the process of hair loss and regrowth.
Like many of you who will be reading this, you will be touched by cancer in one form or another, either as a patient, family member or friend. I remember the first few weeks after finding out I had cancer and not knowing what the future held. While waiting on all the results from the biopsies, scans, etc. The fear, sadness and panic drove me to manically research treatments, prognosis, and advice on how to cope. As a mum of 3 children, I was already run ragged; how on earth would I manage the upcoming fight and look after them?
I found out about Hair Reborn through a friend who gets her hair cut at Joe’s salon, Esente Hair. He and his wife Lina started the charity after her brave battle against breast cancer. I had already started chemo when I gave Lina a call and remember feeling so rough and was worried about so many things including my hair. I have always had long really thick hair – it has acted as armour when my confidence was low. The thought of losing it all while at my lowest filled me with dread.
During chemo I did use the cold cap, which definitely slowed down the hair loss – but unfortunately did not save much in the end. On the call, Lina advised that I get my hair cut shorter so as not to have extra weight pulling on my fragile hair follicles and warned me of the sensitivity I would feel around my head and advised me to seek out gentle paraben & sulphate free shampoos. It was wonderful to get advice from someone who had lived through this. I’ve heard that they have recently partnered with wig and scarf suppliers, which is a wonderful addition to their support.
Once my chemo treatment ended and my hair was growing back (rather curly and fluffy!) I started seeing Joe at his salon to start the Hair Reborn programme of Re-Start, Re-Style and Re-Born. After chemotherapy, I felt rather fragile but found the team at Hair Reborn so supportive and caring which gave me confidence to ditch the wig and embrace the very short hair that was proving that my body was recovering.
At the Re-Start appointment by hair was neatened up and I was offered advice on the use of an oil that soothed my scalp. At the Re-Style my hair growth was styled into a close cut so that as it grew it grew into a shape rather than a tennis ball effect!
Finally, at the Re-Born appointment, the ‘chemo curl’ as we called it (the finer new hair that comes through first) had been trimmed off and now my hair was thicker and healthier. I was offered advice at every appointment on which brushes and products to use, including when I could start colour treatment, to help me manage a much shorter style.
Hair Reborn was a wonderful find for me and has given me so much more confidence to face the world after a gruelling period when you come out not looking yourself.
This month marks a year since my 18-month journey of Chemotherapy, Herceptin, surgery, and radiation ended. I feel stronger and more me and can now tuck my hair behind my ears – Yay! Looking back, it was a tough journey, but one made a lot more manageable with the help of my great community of family, friends, work colleagues, the NHS, the Royal Marsden and charities like Hair Reborn.
If you are starting your journey, good luck – You’ve got this x