BY: ERICA CECIL
On 6/10/2021 I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. At 32 years old I never thought this would happen to me. Life started to spin out of control as I spent every minute wondering what led me to this diagnosis. My planner quickly went from weddings dates and vacations to procedures, appointment, and surgeries. There was so much information I needed to process, but only one thought that could occupy my mind…losing my hair.
The phrases "It’s just hair" or "It will grow back" started to sound like nails on a chalkboard. It's "just hair" until it’s YOUR hair. Sometimes comments about hair loss would come up in conversations that weren’t even about my hair. I’m not sure if those around me could just sense my heartbreak or if they knew how upset they would be if they were in my position.
Oddly enough, I had the most hesitancies around getting a wig. I felt getting a wig was the final step in accepting what was going to happen- The long blonde hair that I had spent so much time and money on was going to be no more. It was devastating.
On 7/18 my mom and grandmother finally convinced me to go to the wig store. I reluctantly walked in and looked around while my eyes began to tear up. I took deep breaths and counted in my head to avoid crying. When it was finally my turn I sat down in the chair and timidly told “the wig lady” (Heidi) what I was looking for. The minutes seemed like hours until my mom said "I see something that will make you feel better." Then out came "Myrtle" the chocolate lab rescue dog! She put her head on my leg and looked up at me to let me know everything was going to be okay. She sat quiet and still as I began to relax more and more with the process. Heidi told me that Myrtle had been severely abused before she found her forever happy home. After a few tries I finally found my wig and realized it wasn’t so bad. I felt better and promised myself at that moment that I was going to be strong and positive.
I made the decision to cut my hair on 7/25. Other survivors had said it was much less traumatizing to lose your hair when it is already cut. I got through this okay and it was fun to style, but it didn’t feel like me. I knew this was the last step before the total loss...so I waited.
I will never forget when I lost the first strand.
I was doing laundry and reached up to scratch my head and out came a handful of my blonde hair. I rushed to the bathroom and continued to run my fingers through as more and more came out. At this time I knew what I needed to do. Let it go.
I texted my hair stylist ( Beth ) and told her I was ready to shave it. The next day I went in and buzzed it all off. Oddly enough, it was a RELIEF. I no longer had to worry or anticipate what was inevitably going to happen. I know everyone is different, and no one’s battle is the same, but from a girl who LOVED her hair, I found it best just to let it go and be thankful that there is a treatment that will save my life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am SOOO ready for it to grow back, but a few months without hair is worth my health and future.
I feel stronger and more of a Woman than I ever have, and I hope my story helps you to do the same ♥️