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Gladys and Fifi

I shall call them Gladys and Fifi.

One of the casualties of treating cancer is losing your hair.  You’re told it’s a given as part of the side effects of treatment.  It’s an odd feeling really, having no hair.  You learn to create a new normal.  You define beauty in new terms.  You adjust.

I find myself still doing things like I still have hair.  When taking a shower, my hands automatically go right to my head to get my hair wet.  I wrap a towel on my head like I used to do and then realize I don’t need it as I have no hair to dry.  I’ve finally stopped reaching for my curling iron and hairbrush when I begin getting ready to go out.  I find myself reaching up several times a day to put my hair behind my ears.  Small habits that bring me daily reminders.  Though, there are times I actually forget – then I walk by a mirror and whoa – who is that bald headed woman looking back at me?!?   I will admit when I was in that “forget mode”, I actually left my house, got into my car and began driving down the street when I realized I forgot to put my wig on.  Yikes!!!   Turned that car around in no time flat!

I won’t start to grow back my hair until I complete my chemo treatments.  That’s the beginning of December, so I will have no hair for the next few months.  Yes, it sucks not having hair.  When I say no hair – I mean no hair anywhere (and no I’m not going there!).  I’m even losing the hairs in my nose!  I mean come on! Seriously!   But there are some positives in this.  I no longer have to shave my legs and under my arms.  I don’t have to pluck my eyebrows (barely hanging on to them!) and chin hairs.  Yes, I said chin hairs!  Thank you menopause!   I never have a bad hair day.  It takes me half the time to get ready.  Whoop Whoop!  See there is a silver lining!

When I was diagnosed, I started buying hats and scarves to prepare for the inevitable.  Here’s a revelation – I looked much better in hats and scarves when I had actual hair.  Without hair, not so much.  I don’t have cute little wispies to pop out on the sides.  I look like a bald headed woman with a hat.

With that revelation, I decided that wearing a wig would work best for me.  I’ve put a lot of pressure on my wigs.  I had some prerequisites.  It had to look like real hair.  It had to look like my own hair (color, style).  It had to fit perfect.  My wigs were going to be with me for a while.  They were my first line of defense in battling the Big “C”.  I had cancer but didn’t want to look like I had cancer.  I wanted people to say – “That’s a wig?”

I ended up with two wigs.  One that looks like my own style and a short and sassy one.  Damn if they don’t look better than my own hair!  I’ve had people who don’t know I have cancer tell me they love my new haircut.  Yep that says a lot about my original hair – lol!

I’ve got a tight bond with my wigs, after all they’re with me every day.  They are my steadfast companions in my journey with the Big “C”.  They make me look and feel like I don’t have cancer.  They are doing their job extremely well.  I’ve named them – Gladys and Fifi.  I had originally thought they would be named something more sophisticated and glamorous.  Monique, Coco, Elisabetta, the list was endless.  But alas, they named themselves.  Neither would take no for an answer.  Gladys popped into my head and just wouldn’t leave.  So Gladys it is.  She’s the wig I wear 99% of the time.  She looks the most like my original style only better.  I finally looked up the meaning of Gladys and besides being a derivative of a flower, it also means Royalty or princess.  That pretty much sums up my Gladys.  She has the traits of a royal.  She is loyal, steadfast and regal.  She has given me back some of my power and I am forever grateful.  I love dear Gladys.

Fifi on the other hand has a totally different vibe.  I originally named her Coco but Fifi seemed to push her way in.  She’s short, sassy and a little on the poofy side.  I wear her when I’m taking a walk on the wild side – lol! When I want to be someone a little different.  Both ladies are serving me well on my journey.

When cancer tries to strip you down and steal your dignity there are little things that bring you up.

My wigs do that for me.  My bald head is a beacon that shouts – Look she has cancer!  Gladys and Fifi help me look like the old “me” – pre cancer.  They give me a chance to forget about my bald head for a while and just be Carey.  They give me confidence on days when I’m feeling insecure.  A wig may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of cancer treatment but being able to feel somewhat normal is priceless.  So to Gladys and Fifi – you have my immense gratitude for helping me navigate this journey.  I am forever grateful.


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