Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hair Harvesting & What You Can Do...

Yesterday I visited the hairdresser to get my hair cut. I wanted to have six inches cut off, so my hair would be shoulder length. The hairdresser was hesitant about cutting so much off, but I cannot manage my hair at its current length. One of the other customers in the shop mentioned I should sell my hair. She had read an article in a paper about people who grow their hair to sell it. Western hair is like gold dust in the wig making industry, so why not make a few pounds. Realistically the amount that was cut off you could do nothing with. But then I went into override thinking well could I save my hair if I wanted a wig made for my head. After all it is my hair and god forbid if the wrath of breast cancer darkened my door again, could my hair be harvested?

On returning home I started browsing the various websites that talk about selling your hair and I was surprised at how much I could earn. This could be from forty to two hundred pounds plus deepening on length, condition and hair type. The fact I have not dyed my hair at forty one or smoked makes all the difference if I wanted to sell my hair.

I find a UK site called Bloomsbury and I email them to get more information on this subject.
I am a breast cancer patient and currently my treatment does not require
 chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but if I was to try salvage my hair, which
 is long. Would I be able to have it made into a wig for personal use? And
how much would this cost me to do?

Sarah M

Within ten minutes I get a reply....
Dear Sarah,
Yes it would be possible to have a wig made for you. The pricing for it
varies from client to client. However, for example, if you were to buy a
whole system from us (not using your own hair) the average price is £1100
(for the base and 6-in of hair). From there it can fluctuate depending on
the type of hair used, the style, density, etc.
If you would like to book an appointment with us, or have any other
enquiries, don't hesitate to call us at 0207 404 6040.
Hope that helps and best wishes,
Bloomsbury of London

It still does not tell me how much if they were to use my hair rather than some strangers for a wig.
Out of curiosity I decide to phone them up to find out what my options are. Bloomsbury answered all my questions and even gave me bits of advice that even I had not thought of. The young woman on the phone explained that during treatment normally doctors advise you to use a synthetic wig because your hair should grow back as normal. But they never mention about your hair becoming thinner etc, so some women save their hair just in case. I mean they talk about egg or sperm storage, but not hair. By saving your natural hair it is giving you options and it is not all about wigs. They advised me that a free consultation has to take place first to check my hair and from there a decision could be made. Personally I feel the options Bloomsbury spoke of are very good and are not spoke about enough.

On keying in certain words into the browser I realise I am not the only one who is asking questions on hair harvesting. There are many other breast cancer women wanting wigs made from their own hair. And they feel the options given like the push to use a synthetic wig is not good enough, after all their hair is perfectly fine...
It works out cheaper in the long run, but could you use your hair if long enough to fund a readymade synthetic wig? The answer is yes you can.

After all you would only bin your hair, so why not make something positive from a negative situation. And get a decent wig rather than a cheap alternative on the NHS.
I found it quite frustrating at first, but understandable because this subject is very sensitive and how could someone approach it without causing upset. Yet I know of plenty women who are not happy with the wigs they are given. Why not be given the option or it be integrated into a leaflet with all the other options with our treatment? Well yes it could be...

I personally would not wear a wig myself because I already have enough issues maintaining the hair on my head now. I know I would lose my temper and most probably sling the wig. Making my own headscarves’ etc to ease the transition would be more suited to me. I don’t mind the Sinead O’Conner look to be honest, less shampoo. As for my hair I would sell it giving half the monies to a BC charity and the remaining I would put aside for a day out.
Cancer treatment brings up all sorts of questions, some we would sooner not discuss because the reality hurts too much, but at some point we have to say you know what yeah... why bloody not...

If you decide you would like to save your hair and it is ten inches long or more then it is easy to do.

I’m sure the BC community or cancer patients would not turn their back on this service if the options out there were discussed more freely.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Sunflower, Laughter and a Butterfly

The other day I sat in a room with seventeen other women all affected by BC. I looked around thinking so this is it. This is where the rainbow lands and theses ladies are the crock of gold. Some are in deep thought searching for reassurance whilst others have beaming defiant smiles. There are no answers because no-one has asked any questions. The silence is broken by laughter and that’s the one thing that breaks the tension in the room. Laughter is the release button, Laughter is a safety button because if we lost the laughter then it be a room full of tears.
Breast cancer drags you from the comfort zone of complaining about menial issues into a new reality of frailty and vulnerability. As I look in the mirror at my imposter I still cannot believe my story is actually my reality. When I talk it is like I’m not that person, but the story teller. I’m the jester not the queen in the pack forever laughing at my health issues. Sometimes I lay in bed wondering what next. I listen to the echo of footsteps and people arguing after a skin full of booze, and I think what a waste. I envy the fact they have a body full of healthy cells that may never explode. Then I think, but I’m glad it is me because the argument they are having is really pathetic.

Dear Dr S

Re: Ms Sarah Mendoza – DOB: 29/07/19** NHS: *** *** ****

18 **** **** Road, Northolt, Middx, *** ***

1.    Left breast cancer
2.    Left latissumus dorsi and implant reconstruction, November 2009
3.    Capsulotomy and implant adjustment February 2011
4.    NAC reconstruction, June 2011 and tattooing November 2011

I reviewed this lady in Mr W clinic today as she was incorrectly booked under this Consultant. She is generally very happy with the result of her reconstruction and not keen for and re-tattooing of the NAC. She has achieved a reasonable cosmetic result although the implant is slightly high and lateral but she has excellent in bra symmetry. She is not keen to have further intervention and therefore i have arranged for her to be reviewed in Mr H clinic in one year’s time.

Your sincerely
Dr M
SpR in Plastic & Reconstruction Surgery

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A Man With BC & Is My Cancer Different?

It is very rare that you find a man with breast cancer and rare that he is willing to blog his experience. I recently befriended such a man on my FB page thanks to a fellow BC survivor putting his blog thread on my FB page. Doug E Harper is very witty with buckets full of sarcasm and at the beginning of his treatment/surgery, so he is fresh to BC land and its crazy journey of appointments, prods and pokes. He also has diabetes like myself and is facing the complication diabetes can create during treatment for BC. I would tell anyone to read and follow this man without a doubt because he has plenty to say about being on the opposite of the spectrum i.e. being a man with BC.  

Also 'Is My Cancer Different' emailed me a few months back asking if I would like to place their badge on my blog page. At first I was not 100% certain about this request, but after having a nosey myself I thought it was a excellent site for those that are recently diagnosed with cancer. The site has various videos which to me is better than pages of reading material, and helps you to understand the basic question; Is my cancer different?

We are always lead to believe on the beginning of our journey that cancer is cancer and our treatment is the same no matter where you go or what type. But once you make friends with people that have had a similar cancer to yourself such as breast cancer. You soon realise treatments for cancer vary because we are all individuals. This site does not offer solutions to cancer, but helps with the basic understanding and some of the technical jargon on diagnosis and treatment. And personally I would say check it out after all being pro-active helps.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Arty farty and The Baftas

My new gadget has kept me busy with designing various pictures. I like to paint and I love design it is an extension of my personality where I can express me in my full glory, so when I bought my Bamboo. I was in my element because it meant I can now design pieces and then paint them on canvas. It gives me free range to explore the images and how I want it to be, before I was struggling with a mouse which was fun but took ten times longer. And you did not have the flexibility that the Bamboo offers to play with an image without bits of rubber all over the place.

I also went to the Bafta Awards which was fun, but very cold. And I took Sophia to meet Dan Aykroyd.
Amy Winehouse

Whitney Houston

Friday, 10 February 2012

Circle of Hope

Circle of Hope

No matter where I turn the harsh reality of Breast cancer is everywhere. Survivors are in it for the long haul and those that are fighting hard have only hope to see them through. The big C and the frustration/ anger it generates can slowly chip away at your whole being. And it just does not stop at those surviving/fighting BC, but families and friends too. No matter how much positivity/money people generate to finding a cure it never seems to be enough, especially when people lose their personal fight with this disease.