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Topic: Who do you wear your Wig for?

Forum: Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY —

A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only. There is a separate forum For Family and Caregivers of People with a STAGE IV Diagnosis.

Posted on: Sep 7, 2009 08:42AM

TripleNeg wrote:

Just curious...   Do you wear it for public perception or for your own personal reasons (i.e. so people won't stare or being bald is uncomfortable for you). I'm at a fork in the road and wanted your opinions and viewpoints to help me navigate me through this. Love you for your honesty! God is able, stephanie

"The girl who became emotionally distraught, and wavered at each new set of circumstances is now grown up, a woman who has learned to rely on God's sovereignty" Joni Eareckson Tada
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Sep 7, 2009 12:01PM mason204 wrote:

Hi Stephanie:

Great to see you on the boards.  Hope you're feeling better.

As for the wig, for me it depends on the circumstances.

I wear the wig to church as many of the parishioners are elderly and it would "freak" them to see me without all my hair.  When I go shopping downtown, I'll often wear my wig because I just want to be treated "normally" without the stigma of cancer following me around.  Sometimes I wear the wig for myself as it restores some illusion of normalcy for me when I look in a mirror and not always see a "cancer patient".  I've given up wearing it for my husband and kids.  I did it for this reason years ago - again because I didn't always want them to see me wearing a bandana.   My mom is West Indian and she always used to comb and braid my hair and it was always a source of pride for her and me.  I used to wear it long as well.  I think because of this I still have problems "going bald" in public to this day.  I find wigs very uncomfortable and rarely wear one in the house or when I'm around my friends.  I kinda think of it like putting on your Sunday best.  Hope that helps.  Do take care...

Cheryl - Mets dx Aug/06 (lungs, liver, bones, abdomen) Dx 12/23/2003, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 4/10 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 12:24PM ElaineD wrote:

I've never had a wig. Losing my hair, although unpleasant, is not a huge deal for me, so I'm happy just to be as I am. In the same way, I didn't have reconstruction, but opted to remain flat.

Dx 11/4/2007, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 01:08PM chainsawz wrote:

Like ElaineD - I have never gotten a wig or had reconstruction.  I made the decision that I was going to do what felt comfortable to me.  Afterall, I am the one dealing with cancer and that is enough....no need to add the heat of a wig :> 

I did have another cancer patient (wearing an awful wig) come up to me in a store and tell me in not so many words that I should wear a wig so I could look normal.  I did have a scarf on at the time but I guess it was apparent I was bald.  Well, I am not normal...this is me and I have cancer and I am not going to hide in the shadows so everyone feels okay.   

Best of luck to you Stephanie - this is such a personal choice.  I hope you do what makes you feel good!!  lisa

Lisa -mets to lungs & brain - clear lymph nodes.....the weakest step toward the top of the hill, toward sunrise, toward hope, is stronger than the fiercest storm. Dx 7/21/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 01:42PM heatherpalmerton wrote:

Well Hello Stephanie, I am so excited to see you post.  I have chosen not to wear a wig just for the fact I look insanely rediculously silly. I have even gone out without a hat because I have forgotten to put it on.  That felt a little weird. But not bad.  Yes it is a personal choice. Whatever you decide it will be for you and that will be the right one.

Lisa, I think I would have ask that lady what his her norm? Wearing a wig that resembles a tupay(SP) and trying to hide what she is going through or not where a wig and show the truth about what she's going through. I'm sorry my awrny side is coming out. Sometimes people can be so mean.  It  is a personal choice and whatever decision a person makes should not be critisized over it. Heather

HEATHER PALMERTON Dx 1/18/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2009 01:56PM mthomp2020 wrote:

I bought a wig, but never wore it.  After having it on for less then 5 minutes, I broke into a sweat.  Just way too hot for me.  If it wasn't hot, I'd probably wear one some of the time, but I can't stand getting hot like that and not being able to whip off  my hat and cool off!

Marsha Dx 5/21/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 02:02PM lassie11 wrote:

I wear my wig whenever I go out of the house, or when people come to visit - primarily for me. People who know me, know what is going on and beyond that, I figure my health is a private matter. This way I can, in a sense, control the information.

The wig I chose is as much like my regular hair as possible - and does the trick very well. It has an open weave and is no warmer or heavier to wear than the caps I have for around the house. That may not be the case for those of you in warmer climes, but we have had a somewhat chilly summer here in Ontario.

The "reveal" will be when my hair is long enough to go without the wig, and I'll be satisfied with it very short, and then people may comment on my "haircut". I'll be delighted to handle that when it comes - sometime soon I hope as I am two weeks out from the last chemo.

From each according to ability; to each according to need.
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Sep 7, 2009 04:54PM Fitztwins wrote:

I wear it for me, to feel normal. I was a freak about it this time around. I don't know why either. Because I guess I didn't want to be bald again.

Enjoy Every Sandwich. Dx 12/12/2004, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 1/18/2005 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap Chemotherapy 1/31/2005 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 4/30/2005 Breast, Lymph nodes Targeted Therapy 5/31/2005 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 12/31/2005 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2008 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 6/30/2008 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 9/4/2015 Perjeta (pertuzumab)
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Sep 7, 2009 07:52PM - edited Sep 7, 2009 07:58PM by konakat

I'm the same as Fitz -- I want to feel and look "normal". 

I want to avoid making people uncomfortable seeing the bald chick, I don't want to be stared at, I want people to see ME, not me with cancer, part is my own vanity -- I look and feel better with hair.  I think the biggest thing is I want to be me, not me with cancer.

Elizabeth's Mantra: When in doubt, eat cake. When you haven't a clue, add ice cream. Elizabeth's Mets: Liver, bones, brain (yuck), and lungs (more yuck). Dx 5/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 13/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 08:26PM heatherpalmerton wrote:

When you ladies wear these wigs, Where do you get them from?? cuz when we tried on wigs at this store. I really looked rediculous.

HEATHER PALMERTON Dx 1/18/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2009 09:17PM JeninMichigan wrote:

Stephanie

So happy to see you post.  I hope you are feeling better. 

 I bought a really nice wig but I wore it for mostly work only.  Sometimes if we went out someplace nicer to dinner.  At work, I just didn't want alot of questions.  Most of the people there (except my immediate co workers) didn't even know.  When my hair grew back in then I had to deal with ... "why did you get your pretty hair cut?" questions. .. ugggh.  

It is really personal.  I was never comfortable physcially or mentally with my wig.   I didn't think it looked like me.  Whenever I looked in the mirror .. I was like .. "who the heck are you?".   I was more comfortable with a bandana and a baseball cap.. but you can't actually wear that everywhere.  

Jennifer 

Dx 2/22/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2009 09:23PM lassie11 wrote:

I found a wig shop through a pamphlet at the oncology clinic - could have found the same one by looking in the yellow pages. I went well before my hair left me and was able to choose a colour that matched me and then a style from the catalogue. When the time came (and it was really hard to decide when it was time) I made an appointment with the extremely nice wig lady. She took me into her private room, cut what was left of my own hair really short (giving me an extra three days or so with my own hair) and styled the wig to suit. It was not ridiculously expensive and ordering to suit got the best possible match.

From each according to ability; to each according to need.
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Sep 7, 2009 09:42PM smithlme wrote:

Hi Stephanie,

First of all....a BIG hug to you! I am so happy to see your post. As for the wig...I wore mine twice. Once on my wedding day and once to get my new picture taken for DMV. I hated the way it looked, felt and made me feel. I had nothing to hide, hide from, or be embarrassed about. I was fighting for my life and my hair wasn't the biggest issue I was dealing with. I wore scarves mostly with an occasional hat thrown in.

If people chose to stare at me, which they did, I stared right back. I took, and still take, every day as the gift it is and live it for all I've got. Just be you and do what feels right for YOU.

Linda

Dx 3/31/08, DCIS, ER+/PR- BRCA2+...I am NOT a survivor...I am a 2X breast cancer A$$ kicker! Dx 3/28/2007, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2009 10:27PM cmharris59 wrote:

Hi all,

I have 14 wigs and I lost my hair twice from chemo. I wore my wigs for me. When I went shopping for them before my chemo started, I took my mom, my niece, and my great nephew. We made it a fun outing to help ease my mom's fears.  I told her that we were going to have fun with the tx no matter what happens. I also said that at least she could now see what is would be like if I changed my haircolor or style. She picked out 2 that were her favorites. I had long ones, short ones, medium ones, every color including a coral orange ( think Fifth Element movie), I wore them with hats, scarves, and clips.  You can style even the cheap ones if you practice. Only one of mine was real human hair.

For me, most everyone I knew already knew about my dx and tx, but I didn't like going out bald. My head hurt. My scalp hurt with just a breeze blowing over it. I lost my hair in the summer and then again in the winter.  I did not find my wigs to be too bad in either weather.  MY biggest problems occurred when I was riding in the convertible with the top down - hair and hat tried to fly off, and in a store with my great nephew trying on hats - my wig came off in one of the hats and I almost left it behind. Thank goodness for the 5 yr old nephew. He let me know that I left my hair behind. 

The first day that I had to go out with a wig, I met the rest of the family at a Books A Million. As I walked through the aisles looking for them, my nephew spotted me. He shouted, "Auntie Keenie, you have NEW hair! You look so pretty!" Made my day!

C

"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue." ~ Dorothy Parker Dx 6/8/2007, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 8, 2009 05:52AM carly77 wrote:

Hi Heather,  I have bought 2 wigs from Paula Young (paulayoung.com)) who has a catalog and has been selling wigs for many years.  They are synthetic hair, and mine have a slight curl in them which stays like that even after washing.  They are exactly what my hair color was, and make me look just like I have my own hair.  My family and others keep remarking that, if they hadn't been told it was a wig, they would never have known the difference.  The wigs have a light webbing lining and are very comfortable.  I absolutely love them!  A wig made of real hair requires more maintenance with regard to washing it and setting it as you would your real hair and, besides, they are more expensive.  Try going on that website and I'm sure you will find something you will like. 

Best regards,

Carolyn

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Sep 8, 2009 10:16AM ead wrote:

 Hi   Stephanie! so happy to hear from you. I wore my wig because most of my hair came out , but not all  of it.. I guess i should have shaved it.I think I wore it because I did not want this cancer to take over me by looking and feeling the way i did. So when I would put it on I looked good.Now, if or when I loose my hair from chemo again I am not sure if I will wear it.

Bless you Stephanie

Liz

Ead Dx 6/3/2006, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/18 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 8, 2009 05:23PM Dragonfly1976 wrote:

Good question.... I wear mine for me I suppose, and for others? Mainly me! I wear it to work, but not at home, it's the first thing to come off when I walk in the door. If I'm at my parents or other family members visiting, I don't wear it unless we leave the house. Sometimes I will wear a scarf, but rarely. Recently we took a trip to the beach for a few days and I wore a hat when we were outside, and nothing the rest of the time. I could never go outside with nothing on my head! I got a free wig at the look good feel better class I think it was when I first started this process. The one I wear now though I got from a site: http://www.voguewigs.com/ the one I bought is: www.voguewigs.com/boost-raquel...
Dx 3/20/2009, 4cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 8, 2009 09:58PM LiniWD wrote:

I had 2 wigs that I got the last time I lost my hair and I wear them for me. I have a wig store near me owned by a lady with alopecia and her wigs and fitters are awesome.  I got one wig that I bought before I lost my hair and it is great to wear to work.  The second wig I got is my "nights & weekends" wig and is blonde with brown roots and a "kicky" style - it's shorter than the work wig and gives me some pizzazz.

The first time I lost my hair I had about 4 wigs all bought on line - I had no chance to get used to the hair loss because I was in the hospital for about 6 weeks.   I liked those, but they were not as comfortable as the ones I have now.  I did use one of those old ones as a "swim wig" when we had friends come down from up north and I wanted to look normal in the pool.

Now I have decent length hair that is thin - hormonals, Navelbine and Avastin have allowed my hair to grow back, but thin.  But, when I went to a wedding and really wanted some thickness, I went to the wig store and they sold me a fall that gave me bangs and depth and got me lots of hair compliments from people who didn't know me - awesome!

Scarves work well when it gets hot - with long earrings, you can look like a gypsy!!

Good luck choosing what works for you!

Lynn from Tampa 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams....live the life you have imagined. Dx 10/26/2004, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, 3/6 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 8, 2009 10:40PM RobinWendy wrote:

My hair has grown back from my last chemo.  I have to say, I have a fantastic wig... it's just the truth. But no matter how great it looked, I hated every solitary moment that I wore it.  It itched so badly all the time that I thought I would go insane.  I wore it to work and out in public but the second I got home, I ripped it off and put on my comfy bandana.  In the winter when it's cold enough to wear hats, I took the wig off when I would get to my car going home from work.  

Losing my hair was a huge big deal for me... not really sure why. I wanted to look normal for the outside world.  My hair was soooo short when I decided to ditch the wig, but I just didn't care anymore.  It was such sweet relief when I stopped wearing it.

It's such a personal decision.  I'm sure you will figure out what you need to do.  Take care, Stephanie.

Robin 

 

dx Stage II primary BC in Jan. 2001;dx with DCIS on other breast in Jan. 2003; dx with mets to lungs in Jan. 2004 and in May 2007, mets spread to liver. Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 8, 2009 11:19PM mthomp2020 wrote:

Lynn, I'm currently on Navelbine with Herceptin, and my hair is thin and the Herceptin makes my hair grow slowly.  It's a little too thin to look good by itself, and I've been thinking of looking into a fall/wiglet.  It would cover the top where it's the thinnest.  Are the hair pieces comfortable, and do they stay in place well?  I'm getting pretty tired of hats! 

Marsha Dx 5/21/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 9, 2009 12:22AM happytabby wrote:

Hi there.

As far as the wig goes, I have one that looks decent and is on the shorter side so it doesn't make me too hot in the summer.  I only wear it when I'm in public.  I do it more for me than anyone else.  I don't want people to look at me like "poor thing" she's got cancer.  When I'm at home with friends and family, it comes right off.  It's a matter of your personal comfort zone, I think. 

Dx 4/30/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 9, 2009 12:12PM Scoobydoo wrote:

I will be getting a lace front wig.  They actually glue it to your head.  I had it matched to my hair so that when it falls out it will look like my real hair.  The lace front wigs look surprisingly real.  A lot of celebrities wear lace front wigs (Tyra Banks).  You can part it and everything and your scalp shows through.  You can wash it while it is on your head and swim with it.  I will have to go back every few weeks to get it reapplied.

Why am I going to do it.  Well I love having hair.  So I guess I am doing it for me. 

Started Chemo 9/17/09 Finished 1/4/10 TX 4 DD AC and 4 DD Taxol Started Chlodronate 1/28/10 , start rads 2/16/10 Dx 6/4/2009, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 9, 2009 12:23PM dfleaman wrote:

I have 2 wigs but I never wear them.  I wore one at my son wedding for pictures.  My work gave me a hat and scarf party.  I do not wear hats much because my head is two small but, I wear bandanas and scarfs everywhere.  I go to church with my scarfs and bandanas.  I feel just fine.  I do not worry about what people think.  I put on my makeup and earings and go about my life.

Remember it is only hair and you are just trying to survive.

Donna Fleaman Dx 2/2/2008, LCIS, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 3/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 9, 2009 12:29PM bettelou68 wrote:

I wore my wig to work to look "normal" and to church at first. Once I went on disability, I stopped wearing it, and dressed up with scarves and hats. The very last time I wore my wig was for my wedding, because I wanted to wear a veil with a comb, and my own hair was too short and sparse. This summer I have felt marvelously free with my own very short hair and a sun hat when appropriate. 

My wig was a very good match for my pre-chemo hair, so that most people did not know I was wearing it. I am about to lose my hair again from chemo, and am pretty certain I will do the scarf/hat thing with dangly earrings. Everyone in my life knows that I have cancer and am stage IV. I do not need to pretend anymore.

Bette 

www.caringbridge.org/visit/bettedietrick "Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."Romans 8:37 Dx 8/20/2008, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 9, 2009 12:57PM LittleRed wrote:

Stephanie:

I wear my wig all the time.  It's natural hair, looks like my own, I get compliments on it all the time.  It's beautiful.  I hate it because it's not really me.  But, it prevents me from looking "sick" to others.  I need it for work and to go around without garnering attention - that's what I need.  My family and friends know where I'm at, but only 1 friend, my wig lady, and the radiation techs and doc have seen me without hair.  It's one of the few things that makes me 'normal'.  People 'forget' I have cancer, and that helps me not be tied to it all the time.  Whatever you decide, go with what will make you most comfortable.  If I had chosen a different option, I'm sure everyone would have gotten used to it - those that count anyway.  Best of luck.  Losing your hair is hard stuff.

1st dx; L-mx 4/29/09; Recon start 4/29/09 L-exp, R-imp, LAT & imp pending March 24, 2010; 4*AC + 4*T finished 9/2/09; Rad 33 9/28/09-11/6/09; Tamox start 10/1/09 Dx 3/6/2009, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 5/15 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Sep 9, 2009 01:18PM lovinmomma wrote:

Hey there Stephanie!!!

I did not wear my wigs. I wore hats or scarves all the time that I was out. At home, if the kids were around, I wore a hat, but other than that, nothing!

How are you doing?

Kimberly 45 yo fighter Dx 10/1/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 26/26 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 10/2/2008 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 5/7/2009 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 5/12/2009 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 7/10/2011 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Chemotherapy 9/24/2012 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 1/28/2013 Halaven (eribulin) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Sep 9, 2009 01:25PM apple wrote:

i actually have 2 wigs.  I've been hairless for about 18 months and only wore 1 each, 1 time.  Both times were weddings that I played at.  I just hated them.. I felt as i were in drag.. just not me.  I wore baseball caps and scarve.  I felt the bride should be the center of attention and not some cancer patient pianist.

and I cut both the wigs, trying to make them look like me.  I just looked odd.  People loved them tho.  They were so happy to see me with hair, even if it wasn't my own.  They never complained about my bald head tho either.   I am always 'comfort first'.

peace and love, apple - ..... Mary Magdalen Dx 4/10/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2+
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Sep 9, 2009 01:28PM LRM216 wrote:

I have two very nice short wigs, each looks a lot like my own hair and style.  However, I detest wearing them, I hate the feel of them on my head, I hate always having to pull it down in the back or over the ears from putting glasses on and taking off, yet when I remove the wig (which I do immediately upon arriving home from work each night) I see illness - the ugly beast that cancer created in and to my life..  I hate that feeling more than the weight of the wig on my head - hence the reason I wear it is - for me.  It's bad enough it is in me, I can't face looking at it eye to eye.

Linda

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end, it's about learning to dance in the rain ... Age 62 at diagnose Dx 2/23/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/7/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/25/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/21/2009 Breast
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Sep 9, 2009 01:46PM huntersmom wrote:

I was wearing it to work thinking I looked more "normal"  My Husband followed me out to the garage one day with a ball cap saying everyone knows I have cancer and I am not fooling a sole - the wig was HOT and the hat was much more confortable.  I never wore it again!

Hunter's Mom Dx 6/6/2008, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 6/10 nodes, HER2-
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Sep 9, 2009 01:48PM mke wrote:

I wore a wig twice, once when first meeting a client and the other time when I was having my photo taken for a driver's license.  Both times I clearly was wearing it for others, or at least for what others would think of me.

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Sep 9, 2009 06:17PM EGAL wrote:

I wore my wig everytime I went out.  I didn't want people looking at me and feeling sad.  I just wanted to be "normal".  I took extra care to apply eyeliner and paint on eyebrows.  It did take me  forever to get them to semi-match Yell.  I always wore blush to give me some color and not look ghostly white.  I did make me feel better about myself.

Ellen

EGAL 10/06 dx'd with IDC Stage 3, 10/08 brain mets Dx 10/19/2006, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 15/17 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+

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