JULIE'S STORY

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HeadWrappers Saved My Sanity And Gave Me The Best Dressed Head


I felt like I had been kidnapped from my real life and transported into a horror movie when I was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer. I’d had no symptoms and felt really well so it all felt very surreal and I found it difficult adjusting to my unwanted new role of role of ‘cancer patient’. 


A cancer journey is a terrifying and lonely experience which begins with a relentless round of scans, blood tests and the introduction to some pretty scary sounding treatments. Fortunately I received an incredible amount of practical and emotional support from Maggie’s Manchester.


‘Complete hair loss’ paled into comparison as my cancer diagnosis began to sink in and I began to mentally prepare for what I had been warned would be a gruelling treatment programme; concurrent chemo/radiotherapy which at one point would involve twice daily radiotherapy sessions with a chemo session thrown in for good measure.


I decided that the best way to deal with my hair loss would be to take control of the situation and start by swopping my long pink locks for a short haircut. A couple of weeks later I enlisted the help of a friend to shave off my already shorn hair rather than experience the distress of watching it fall out in clumps.
Shaving my head was much more traumatic than I had anticipated and I became quite weepy and emotional. Who was the strange bald woman staring back at me from the mirror?  My reflection had become the unwelcome ‘cancer victim’. 


Although I had been given an attractive blond wig courtesy of the hospital’s wig fitting service, I did not get along well with the hair piece. It never felt quite ‘me’, although friends said it looked gorgeous and I found it dreadfully uncomfortable.


Maggie’s introduced me to HeadWrappers, a charity which supports women experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment and for me this was life changing. The founders of HeadWrappers are inspirational ladies who have all been touched by cancer and lost their hair but have come out the other side and now boast enviable, luscious locks.


It was a real breath of fresh air, to meet these awesome ladies who gave real hope to myself and the other ladies new to the distressing hair loss experience. It was also a chance to make new friends and provide support to each other.


My Headwrappers journey began with opening the most beautifully packaged goody bag of hair scarves/ accessories. This was followed by a fun online tutorial on creative ways to attractively tie scarves and plenty of giggles at our initial attempts at scarf tying.


I enjoyed the session immensely and felt new found confidence at facing the world minus my hair so I was delighted to learn about the bi-monthly Tea, topknots & turbans sessions. 


This is a fabulous virtual get together for ladies experiencing hair loss. It’s a chance to grab a cup of tea, relax and chat with other follicly challenged ladies. We share stories, swap tips, and above all have a laugh.


The sessions are hosted by the amazing Headwrappers team who manage to secure an amazing guest speaker for each session. The guest speakers who range from wig suppliers and scalp care experts to the developers of beauty products specifically designed to meet the needs of cancer patients are always informative, educational and entertaining.


Tea, topknots and turbans has become a highlight of my social calendar. It’s great to meet up with others who are going through the same experience as well as those that have come out the other side. Unless you have lost your hair, you really cannot imagine how devastating it feels.


Following my cancer treatment I was advised to have a preventative treatment called Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation as my particular type of cancer likes to rear its ugly head in the brain. PCI involved 10 sessions of radiotherapy to the brain or as a friend described it ‘having my brain microwaved.’


I don’t seem any more bonkers following the PCI, but am aware this could lead to hair loss. (Oh my poor hair had barely started to regrow following the chemo!) I’ve also been warned that the hair follicles could be damaged which means there is no guarantee my hair will grow back. So I am currently keeping everything crossed.


To give my scalp and hair the best possible chance, I doused my scalp in olive oil every night after the radiotherapy sessions although this did not prevent my scalp becoming red, sore and itchy about a week after completing radiotherapy. I continue to apply olive oil to my scalp every night and thankfully there are promising signs of hair growth.


Although I love experimenting with  scarves and other head wear, I personally like to display a bit of ‘hair’ as I feel it makes me look less like a ‘cancer victim’ and was therefore delighted to discover that it is possible to buy fake fringes otherwise known as bangs, which can be worn under most head wrappings.


Thank you to the HeadWrappers team and all the amazing ladies I have had the pleasure of meeting through them. HeadWrappers has probably saved my sanity whilst also giving me an exceedingly well dressed head.
I am so grateful for the support I have received and absolutely love being part of this unique and amazing family. To any ladies out there experiencing cancer related hair loss, please do not suffer alone! 


Want a warm welcome, lots of practical advice and plenty of emotional support?


Reach out and join the HeadWrappers Family