It was only a few weeks ago that I mused that the great thing about having cancer is you don’t have to make any choices – you just have to let the doctors do their thing and get yourself as much rest as possible. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Since then, I have had to make some of the biggest decisions in my life, from which hospitals to choose for fertility assessments to whether to risk my own life to freeze some eggs and preserve my future baby-making abilities.
The latest choice regards what to do with my hair, or upcoming lack thereof. This question branches off into several others, which include but are not limited to:
1) Whether to undergo the terrifying sounding ‘Cold cap therapy,’ which essentially involves sitting in an icy cold cap for several hours during chemotherapy, enduring brain-freeze to freeze my hair follicles in the hope that I may not lose my hair during chemo. (I decided against this the moment I heard that you still stand a chance of losing 70% of your hair anyway).
2) Whether to shave off all my hair before starting chemotherapy. (This is a tricky one, as the hair doesn’t fall out straight away, and there is the smallest chance that I might not lose it at all, though that is terribly unlikely).
3) What wig to go for. (More of this now).
For question 2, I had planned to have my good friend Lindsey shave off my hair this Sunday, after our pal Michelle’s wedding on Saturday, for which I am a bridesmaid and need my own long hair to wear in an up-do. However, I still haven’t managed to get a proper wig and I know my hair won’t fall out immediately, so the question is whether I should just wait a while, or have it cut shorter on Monday and do it in stages. The problem with this is that a) my hairdresser doesn’t work on Mondays and chemo starts on Tuesday and I won’t want to have it cut after chemo starts when I’m already ill and b) I don’t want my hair to start falling out in clumps – I’d rather shave it off sooner.
As far as wig-shopping is concerned, this is nowhere near as easy as it looks! I received an incredibly generous voucher to buy a wig from Selfridges from my lovely friend Valdimir, so I headed to Selfridges on Sunday with a few girlfriends. I tried on pretty much every wig in the store in two different salons, and unfortunately the only two I liked were £500 and £700 (the expensive ones go beyond £1,500!), which I don’t mind paying if I’m really going to be wearing them every day for the next year, but I am planning on buying several and I wasn’t sure enough about them to go for the purchase. I have a second consultation there today with a proper wig fitter, so we’ll see how it goes. See below for my thoughts on some of the Selfridges wigs.
** PLEASE NOTE: These photographs are in their original, undoctored, un-Instagrammed form, for maximum effect! **
After the horrifyingly expensive Selfridges experience, I then spent Monday afternoon shopping for wigs in Peckham’s finest hair emporiums. I never knew such places existed but it turns out there are superstores chock-full of wigs, hair extensions, weaves, all manner of liquids and apparatus involved in creating the perfect fake hair experience, and much, much more! Peckham’s wigs are more affordable, with the most costly at about £27.99, so one can afford to purchase about 30 of these wigs for the price of a Selfridges one, though whether the quality matches up is anyone’s guess.
The truth is, I don’t really like any of them, I feel terribly uncomfortable in them and it’s impossible to find one that fits, looks good, looks natural and doesn’t cost a bomb. I have never been 100% happy with my own hair, but I am dreading losing it. I don’t look good in hats so I’m pretty sure I won’t be rocking the Gail Porter/GI Jane look as well as they do, so I feel like I would pay someone a lot of money right now to come to my home and fit me with a perfect, well-made and beautiful wig that won’t irritate my poor head!
Finally, I’d just like to say how brilliant Peckham is. Who would have known that this little part of South London would be home to such gorgeous-looking houses, fun bars and perfect little cafes and shops? (Not to mention the wig emporiums). Here is a pic of the tremendous quiche lorraine I enjoyed with Sophie at Petitou yesterday: