The Girl With Nine Wigs
It is easy to take hair for granted until you start losing it. If you have ever heard of the book “Heute bin ich blond” in Dutch written by Sophie Van Der Strap or seen its adaptation “The Girl With Nine Wigs”, you can see what it means. The movie shows us the life story of a girl named Sophie, who is in her early 20s with an uplifting approach to her hair loss caused by chemotherapy for her cancer treatment. She is just like any other girl, who enjoys parties, has one night stands, plans her study until her life changes with cancer. When it does, what Sophie does will surprise you. She decides to tackle her hair loss problem wearing wigs.
The original title roughly translates to “Today I am a blonde”. Sophie tries on nine different wigs and takes up nine different distinctive characters altogether in the movie. You meet the fake doll Sophie first, then comes the flirty Daisy, then Sue who loves to fight, a party animal Fifi, then it is Lydia, Blondie, Uma, Pam, and finally Bebe the birthday girl. In the movie, she seems to experience life to the fullest from different points of views through her different appearances. She meets up a senior who tells her how he handles his illness, then comes a little boy and then a girl of her age who faces similar challenges in life.
How Does Chemotherapy cause hair loss?
It is important to realize that the precious days in life are the ones remaining. No matter what. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, sometimes, the only hope is chemotherapy treatment. Unfortunately, hair loss is inevitable when you go for chemo. Chemotherapy medicines are powerful chemicals that attack the cancer cells that are growing exponentially. As it kills the rapidly growing cells, it also affects healthy hair follicle cells resulting in hair loss. It is not just the hair on your scalp but also hair in other parts of your body including the eyelashes, eyebrows, armpits etc. According to the dosage and intensity, a person who takes the treatment may experience hair thinning to complete hair loss. Luckily, when the treatment is over, you can expect your hair to grow back within three to six months. It could be an emotionally challenging time when you face complete or partial hair loss due to treatment. It could feel embarrassing to see chunks of your hair fall away. In fact, the emotional trauma one goes through the hair loss phase is definitely painful.
5 ways to prepare yourself to face hair loss
Hair could easily be considered as one’s identity. It is an upsetting phase when you lose your hair due to chemotherapy. Here are 5 tips to cope yourself when you face hair loss.
- Talk out more: The support of the family and friends is very important when you go through hair loss. They will be the first people to notice the difference in your hair. In fact, they can make you feel strong or vulnerable depending on the way they behave. If having a long hair is attached to your cultural belief, it could be more upsetting. Talk to your friends and family about how you feel. It would reduce the pain of going through hair loss alone.
- Join a support group or community: Sometimes, some people may find that talking to unknown people who undergo the similar phase more comforting than talking to friends or family. Be open and do what you like. Join a local support group that meets often to discuss your problems and your feelings.
- Online Support Groups: Most often, social media could be a boon for people who undergo similar painful phases. Join an online community of people who undergo chemotherapy. This would help in staying in touch with others going through similar situations even when they may live far away from you, perhaps, across the world from you.
- Plan for your head covering: The best way to tackle the issue of hair loss is to pre-plan a head covering. Opt for wigs, scarves, or any other head covering beforehand and prepare yourself. It is easier to conceal the loss of hair through this method and it also helps you maintain your confidence levels in public and in front of family and friends. When you meet your doctor, ask for a prescription wig that can be claimed through medical insurance, if you have one.
- Be patient: Most often, the hair loss due to chemotherapy is temporary. When the cancer cells are successfully killed and removed from your system, the treatment is not required anymore. When the treatment stops, there is always hope for hair regrowth. Be patient. It may take time to get back your hair, sometimes, there could be a change of colour or texture of your hair as well. Be prepared mentally when you go for your treatment.
How do you choose a headcover or a wig?
When you are looking for a wig, it is advisable that you choose the one that suits you perfectly. Some people are comfortable with scarves and bandanas. If you think they would not suffice, go for wigs as headcovers. There are two main types of wigs:
* Human Hair Wigs – they are expensive but by far, the most natural looking wigs.
* Synthetic wigs – Although they are not perfect to look at, they are cheaper and easily available to suit any face shape or size.
What should you consider before getting a wig for yourself?
Go with the wig that suits your previous volume and colour of your hair. It is easier to choose and pick one before your hair loss commences so that you get used to one. Go with adjustable sized wigs as they are comfortable. Always buy a hypoallergenic wig as it is common to face skin reaction when you experience sudden hair loss. Some people experience a tender scalp that feels irritated quickly. An adjustable wig would help by making your head feel better as it would match any size. One might need resizing the wig as hair falls out. Go with different sizes and colours and check which ones you like. If you have a personal hairdresser, you can pick your wig with expert advice. Some wig specialists may offer to cut and design a wig that will suit your face type as well.
Here are common face shapes and wigs that suit them:
- Round face – Choose styles that are longer than the chin length. You could also choose ones with layers on the top.
- Oval face – It is easy to fit into any style of wig for people with the oval-shaped face. Be wild and choose anything that you like.
- Heart shaped face – Go for the chin length or longer wigs. Side parted styles, layers swept forward would also suit.
- Square face – The best choice would be short and medium length hairstyles. Styles with a curl or a wave will make your features look good.
- Diamond shaped face – A variety of wigs would suit. The ones with a bang in the nape area would suit best.
- Oblong face – short or medium length will make the face look shorter. Side parted hair wigs would look best.
- Pear-shaped face – Hair should be styled as close as possible to the head. This will reduce the width at the jawline.
When you are planning to shop for a wig, take someone with you who can be brutally honest with you without thinking of hurting your feelings. They often give the best advice, saving you time and effort from going waste. Try checking with a wig fitter, your hairdresser or a friend. Consider this as a chance to try and experience a completely different hairstyle and colour. Have fun and surprise your family and friends with different colours and textures. This approach can help you handle the stress of losing your hair and the reality facing illness. Hair extensions are also excellent to make you keep your looks when you have your chemotherapy done.