My Cancer Story – by Louise Reid

A cancer diagnosis is a devastating thing to happen to anyone and cancer treatment can be just as daunting –
especially the side effect of losing your hair.

My name is Louise Reid and I decided to share my personal story to help other women worrying about hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

I got married in October 2016 and was diagnosed with cervical cancer in January 2017, followed by a hysterectomy in March 2017. Initially I was told the hysterectomy was the end of my treatment, however two weeks after surgery I was told I needed to have chemotherapy because my cancer had been so aggressive and fast growing. I was so lucky to have my family to support me, my new husband and of course my dad and my mum. After my hysterectomy the first person I asked for was my dad, I’ve always been a proper daddy’s girl and he was there for me throughout my treatment.

One of the things that bothered me most when I was told that I would have to have a course of 8 chemotherapy treatments, was the thought that I would lose my hair. To me it is such a sign of illness and if you look poorly, you feel poorly. Even though my dad thought I looked beautiful without any hair!

Someone I knew recommended Hair Solved, so I made arrangements to have a consultation accompanied by my friend for support. Unfortunately, that day didn’t go to plan – my friend had an emergency at work, and I had to go on my own. I couldn’t remember the exact name and address and ended up at a company that actually specialised in wigs. When they explained that they would shave my head and tape a wig on to my scalp I was so upset, this was exactly what I didn’t want. I was hyperventilating and so distressed my husband was really worried about me. But then we realised I hadn’t gone to the right place and the type of solution I wanted did exist.”

I wasn’t upset or scared at the thought of chemotherapy, but I was upset and scared at the thought of losing my hair.

I had my Hair Solved consultation at the Manchester Salon and I was told that my head wouldn’t be shaved and that I would have my first system before I even started chemotherapy. I remember saying ‘I love you’ to Natalie who did my consultation, and I was so grateful I just felt like I wanted to give her the biggest hug! Knowing that no-one had to see that happen, especially my little boy made me feel so relieved. It really was the perfect solution for me because I wanted to have something that I could sleep in so my little boy wouldn’t be scared if he woke up in the middle of the night.

I made my first appointment to have my Enhancer System fitted before my treatment started. I remember when it was done my husband came to pick me up and he couldn’t believe how amazing it looked and how happy I was. We went straight to a little bar and had champagne as a celebration!

The Enhancer System looks so natural that when I had an appointment with my Oncologist he asked if my hair was coming out, because he couldn’t tell! I hadn’t noticed any hair falling out either. It was only when we lifted my hair up that I could see a patch where I had lost some hair.

The treatment was tough and I had two allergic reactions to the chemo. Within seconds of starting the treatment dose it was burning and so painful, but you have to keep going. I lost all my hair over a period of three months and that was when I had to have the system taped on to hold it in place. I was visiting Hair Solved more frequently, but it really helped my confidence – I just didn’t want to look like I was sick. Having a full head of hair definitely made me feel more able to cope and to give me back some control; it made me feel I could face the cancer treatment.

I was lucky to have my family around me to support me at my diagnosis and during treatment. I’ll never forget my Dad’s words at this time “You’ll fight this, girl, you’ll be alright” and thankfully I am. When I was through the worst of it, he asked me to write the prologue to his book. I was so proud to be able to return his support and I hope that like this blog, people who read it might draw some strength.

 

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