Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, I put myself completely in the hands of the excellent UK NHS care. I was treated with kindness and support and was completely reassured about all aspects of my treatment. I only have praise and gratitude for the specialist nurses, the surgeons, the oncologists and the many others involved in my treatment and care.
Five years on I am well and reconstructed and getting on with life.
If only I had hair I could put the cancer behind me and get back to being me.
In the first year post FEC-T chemo I waited patiently, I took photos every week to convince myself it was growing. In the second year I invested in supplements, lotions and some potions – nothing more grew. In the third year I tried to get the medical profession to recognise that chemo had caused this only to be told it was genetic (as my grandfather had gone bald at 75!). Four years on I found I still felt the need to tell people I was wearing a wig – in the vain hope that I soon wouldn’t be.
It’s five years since I had hair now and I’m resigned to a life of wigs, insecurity and guilt. Guilt, as I know it shouldn’t matter. I’m alive. I’m fit, I’m well. But it so does matter.
Family and friends love me in the wig and without the wig. But I still cry when I have to explain it to a stranger. I put my wig on to open the door to the postman, I wrench it angrily from my head once I’m in the car heading home from work.
Without the wig I’m still a cancer victim, with the wig I’m not me.
It would have been so much better to have known that this was a possibility. I’d probably have still accepted the recommended treatment but at least I’d have been spared the years of not knowing and searching for an explanation and cure.
by Emma (England)