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Lorraine's Story

After finding a lump in my breast at the end of Dec I was shocked to find out I had Grade 3 Cancer.

Following my surgery x 2 I was told that I would have to have Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy & Hormone Therapy to aid my recovery. Being told this was worse than being told about the cancer & the surgery itself as you are warned of all the possible side affects and for everyone that knows me hair loss is by far the worst thing that could happen to me. My hair is my identity I am a natural red head and I love it, my hair is who I am and I take pride in how my hair looks washing every other day and straightening it everyday it drives everyone mad how much I do my hair.

2 weeks prior to my first chemotherapy I decided it was time to start looking at wigs. I had been looking online previously but you have to pay up front, try on, send back at your own expense which is a very long drawn out, expensive process. Colour's like mine have to be custom made, as it is not readily available, so ordering a wig online was not really an option.

I was given a list of places to visit via the hospital, there seemed to be quite a few so I was quite optimistic that I would definitely be able to find something, how wrong I was. What I found out is that every single place uses the same company's to order from, mainly this is done by looking through catalogues / brochures, choosing which ones you like and they order in for you to try on, some places have quite a few in stock so I had to get a referral from the hospital to visit these.

My sister took me to a place that seemed to have a wide range to try on in the shop, this turned out to be a very traumatic upsetting day for me. I went in with a very open mind and decided I would try on any colour, shape, and length to try and find something suitable. My hair is naturally auburn but I have been dying it for a few years to stay red, I have a center parting and straightened my hair everyday.

Lorraine trying on various cancer wigs from an NHS wig shop

There was absolutely nothing even close to what my hair looks like, most wigs come with fringes, they are extremely thick and look nothing like they do in the brochures and my main problem was they do not come in block colour's so for me a red colour would be usually mixed in with a black which was to harsh. I tried blonde, brown, long, short but because of my fair coloring everything looked awful. They were at a loss what to suggest as there was absolutely nothing left to choose from.

I left the shop and cried at a complete loss as to what I was going to do, I asked the shop how come block colour's were available online, they advised highly against this saying that the caps etc. used could possibly cause your head to blister etc. as your skin becomes sensitive from the chemotherapy.

I went home in total despair and broke down I was terrified that I would have to wear just a hat which would draw attention to the fact I had cancer and people looking at me differently. I decided to try online again and came across a website called True You so I decided to give them a call after reading the amazing description and the testimonials on the website.

Things have been really difficult since starting the chemotherapy. I've been feeling extremely sick, bad heartburn, very tired with no energy to name but a few of the symptoms.

I had my first chemotherapy on the 15th May and I had been told by others that hair loss usually started happening after your 2nd chemo session. On Sunday 26th May when I combed my hair an usual amount of hair was coming out I was really upset and cried thinking this really can't be happening already.

The hair steadily came out the same until Wednesday 29th when I combed I was totally mortified when big clumps were coming out I could feel that the hair wasn't even attached to my head it was so upsetting the next 2 days were exactly the same I lost a considerable amount of hair it was just falling out all through the day my top would just have a load of hair constantly on it and I could feel that that my hair that was still attached had not volume to it.

I took the decision on Saturday 1st June to ask my sister to shave my hair off before I started to get bald patches showing. My sister had got me a few hats to wear and I didn't feel comfortable with going to a salon to get it done.

It was a surreal moment just seeing all my hair on the floor but I tried to hold it together that was ok until I looked in the mirror it was horrifying how different I looked and not in a nice way and when I put the hat on it just screamed cancer patient.

I cried my heart out when I got home as this was the worst possible thing that could of happened to me I had lost my identity and looking in the mirror was like looking at a complete stranger. One of the worse things is that people you know don't recognize you or people ask what is wrong with you can't hide the fact you have cancer.

My despair and being uncomfortable turned to joy when I got the call from True You Hair Gallery to say that my CH Hair System was ready I was so excited and when they sent me pictures I was beyond excited I sent the pictures to all my friends and family and they were all amazed at how nice it was and how the colour was the same as my natural hair which has been one of the most important things to me.

This afternoon becomes my journey into looking as close to me as I can without feeling uncomfortable and people constantly looking at me with pity or not recognizing me - bring on the amazing transformation!!!

Wow what a difference having my system has made. When I first saw it the first thing that struck me was the amazing colour and how close it was to my natural colour, which had been one of my main concerns. I have never been able to grow my hair past a certain length as it always breaks off, the length of my system was great and made me feel very glamorous. Charlene made everything seem so easy and it was attached, styled and ready to go in no time. I was concerned about it coming off but Charlene soon showed me there was no way it was going anywhere. I have had some wonderful comments the best one had to be from my son the last time he saw me was the day after I had to shave my hair off and he went to stay at his dads I picked him up from the station and when we got home I said do you like my hair and he said he hadn't noticed as I looked the same as before completely forgetting I had no hair the last time he saw me. My boss had also been on holiday at the time I had the system fitted and when he got back to work it took a few days for him to realise I had a system because it was like I was never bald. All my close friends and family are totally amazed at how natural it looks and say its like my own hair before.

The company definitely live up to their name as it is true you hair and I can't praise Charlene and the girls at True You Hair enough, totally amazing, caring ladies who make you feel fantastic and comfortable throughout the whole process, nothing is too much trouble no matter how little your concerns seem. I feel like me again without having people looking at me with pity or a stranger looking back at me in the mirror and that has made the whole horrible experience of chemotherapy and hair loss a lot more bearable.

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