|"When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change."
- Dr. Wayne Dyer
Let me begin with the fact that not all chemotherapy causes hair loss, but if you are one of the millions of women going through this journey, I want to tell you that you are not alone and that there are wonderful resources to help you manage the effects of the process.
Realistic options can help your peace of mind and in sharing this information about how to cope with hair loss and how to find and wear wigs, I hope I can help all of you who may be struggling with this condition, regardless of the medical cause.
New information will be added to this site on a regular basis; this will include:
New stories from women, just like you, dealing
--with hair loss and still living their dreams
Stories about couples who have rekindled the
--love in their relationships because of wigs
The newest health-enhancement products being
--tested and their benefits
The most up-to-date information on cancer
--treatments in research and development from
--reliable physicians and scientists around the world
How to make wigs and alternative hair work for you
How to live a normal life physically, psychologically,
--emotionally and spiritually from those who
--are dealing with hair loss and making their lives
Tips from famous and devoted stylists who
--are committed to assisting me in the process
--of creating peace of mind for all of us who may
--be dealing with this condition, and so much more.
The most frustrating factor in the world of hair loss is the all confusing and conflicting information in the marketplace. My intention is to create more clarity for all of us who may be faced with hair loss or are currently living with some form of this condition.
I am open to any suggestions you may have and will do my best to answer your concerns. I consult one of the many physicians I work with for answers that are beyond my scope of knowledge. Feel free to send me your concise note to: HairIQ@CreatedHair.com
Thank you for having the courage to be proactive - it's the only way we can go from feeling like a victim to being victorious over any condition.
Before You Begin Chemotherapy: How to Find a Wig and Feel Comfortable with The Transition.
Don't Be Afraid to Honor Yourself.
First of all, for those of you who choose not to wear anything on your head, I honor your decision. Each woman must decide for herself how she is most comfortable meeting the world. Although I consult with women all over the country and have shown myself without hair in the media, including People Magazine, I am still on my journey and am not totally comfortable in public without my wig... and my head is always so cold.
If you do choose to wear a wig there are a few things I can recommend that will assist you in moving through this process more easily:
Before you get your wig; cut your hair as short as possible (you might even consider a "buzz cut"). This will make wearing the wig easier and a lot more comfortable. Especially in the warmer summer months. Also seeing your hair on your pillow and in your sink can be emotionally taxing. Cutting your hair as soon as your hair loss begins and having the tools nearby like a good "authentically looking' wig that makes you look and feel like "you" again, will allow for a much easier transition.
Patience with the process; Keep in mind that you are putting something foreign on your head that will take some getting used to. It may feel hot or itchy depending on what the base of the cap is made of. For this reason it's important to buy a wig with a monofilament cap. "Mono Caps" or "Scalp Top Caps", as they're often called, are lighter, have more breathability so they won't cause so much perspiration, and they look like your scalp with an actual part showing that gives a more natural look.
CreatedHair.com Designs and Amy's Presence Coral Collection wigs have been born out of my own significant personal experience and the need for style, comfort and discretion. These designs are the lightest on the market and made with a special cap design that I know works. My wigs include all the qualities I mentioned above. The First Women's Swim Wig and Intimacy System, featuring the revolutionary Cyberhair® allows you to have an active lifestyle more easily while wearing wigs.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to your gut instinct and not to the salesperson in the store. They may mean well, but they don't know you or your inner needs. Only you do. Women are extremely intuitive and we always know what's right for us..if we take the time to listen.
When picking a wig; try not to let your emotions get in the way when deciding on your correct style, color and fit. I know that's a lot to ask, but I know you can do it. It's important in making the right decision for yourself and one that will give you peace of mind later on.
Just make sure you take the time to pick your colors and make whoever is working with you aware that you are going through chemotherapy and that you will need to request a light weight wig base. Also, be sure to request that they not put too much hair into the wig. No more than five to six ounces of hair is needed to make a shoulder-length wig. More hair is obviously needed for longer hair. The most widely used hair is Russian, Italian, European and Indian hair.
Deciding on Color; Make sure you're in good "natural" light (outdoor light being the best), so you can judge the color correctly. Florescent lighting can throw off the hue and not give you a correct color reading. Don't think because our bathroom light or makeup mirror is so bright that this allows for correct reading of color hues because it doesn't.
Fit; Keep your piece on for awhile and really try to tune into how it feels - which is most important since you're going to be wearing this for hours a day. It should be snug but not give you a headache. Many prefer to wear a wig cap or velcro strip to keep the wig on.
Luckily, we are capable of adapting when necessary and for many of you this will be a bit of a challenge in the beginning. However, usually within a couple of weeks you'll feel much more at ease, especially as you realize that you're able to leave the house looking perfect within minutes! This is the part I love most.
Price; Synthetic wigs range in price from $100 to $800 and will be the easiest to take care of as they usually dry faster when washed than human hair wigs and, if they are made well, will have "Memory Stay" and go right back into original shape when dry. I suggest synthetic pieces and Cyberhair to my clients who are going through treatment as it adds a level of simplicity at a time when it is greatly needed so your focus can be placed on healing.
Human Hair wigs range in price from $1500 to $10,000 depending on the type of hair and materials used and where it's being manufactured. If made well, the wig maker/ designer can match your hair perfectly and these wigs can be a wonderful alternative for those of you looking for complete discretion. Here at CreatedHair.com we can do just that for you. If you find that you would like something different than the color ring we offer then feel free to send in your human hair sample and we'll match it.
Convenience; There are wonderful alternatives for women who don't want to wear a wig all the time. Hats with Hair which is made with a base that is hairless on top with hair attached from the temples down that you wear with a hat or scarf. Head Bands with Hair has hair attached to a headband.
Scalp Hygiene; Toxins from chemotherapy and medication are released though urine and perspiration. It's important while wearing alternative hair that you keep your scalp clean twice a day to avoid any possible pimples, cysts or infection.
Witch Hazel is an astringent that works well on the scalp. Any skin toner will suffice. I prefer Yonka products as they work great and do not dry out the scalp. Good old soap and water will also keep the scalp clean. You may want to use SkinQD 40-50 Kit as it is a wonderful alternative. Just place a small amount on a piece of cotton and gently wipe your scalp. You'll be amazed at the amount of dirt that will appear. For those of you experiencing the effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation on your skin or scalp, our Lindi Skin Care Line is a proven solution for cleaning and cooling the face and scalp.
Maintaining Your Wigs Properly. It's Not as Difficult as You May Imagine.
If you want your wig to continue to look fresh and last longer, then as with anything else, you need to take care of it. I suggest that you purchase a good wig shampoo and conditioner. Regular shampoo may contain too much alcohol, which if used continuously, can slowly break down the wig and dry out the hair. You only need to wash your wig when you feel the need to. When it starts to look a bit too disheveled, greasy or dirty, that's the right time.
I know that when you are dealing with treatment, the thought of maintaining a wig may be the last thing you want to do however, I believe that for many women maintaining the routine and glamour of their outward appearance can make all the difference in the world in avoiding depression. Anything you can do to help in the healing process will be a positive step during this crucial time and for some of us that means paying attention to these beauty rituals and this area of our life that allows us to step out of the house feeling 'put together'.
Try to remember when you feel anxious to stay in the moment, in the present. Focus on what you can do 'right now' to take care of yourself. Keep your attention on the here and now only. Breathe deeply.
Getting Insurance Coverage for Your Wig. Patience is a virtue. Get What You Deserve.
Be aware that not all insurance companies cover wigs; however, many do. It's best to look into the details of your coverage before you go shopping for a wig so that you are well-informed about the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you will be responsible for.
When you call for your policy information be sure to use the term "Medical Prosthesis" instead of "wig".
To assure that you get reimbursed from your insurance company, you must get a prescription from your physician for a "Medical Prosthesis", which you will mail to your insurance company along with the receipt from the wigmaker, hair replacement center or wig store. Most stores know this process and will be happy to assist you.
Since insurance companies are currently overloaded with claims, expect a delay. I suggest staying on top of them weekly so they get used to your name and claim. Dealing with insurance claims can be frustrating; take a deep breath and have some patience and you will attain your goals with them. If you let their process overwhelm you, you will only put yourself through more stress. A few points to remember are:
When speaking with the insurance company, always write down the employee's name, the day and time of the call and any additional notes, instructions or advice that were given.
When sending any paperwork always send it via certified mail so there is proof of your letter being sent and received, as many times paperwork gets lost or misplaced. I can't stress to you enough that the more organized proof you have for your claim the better your chances in getting your claim through more easily. Having a specific place for all your information will be helpful (a file folder or a specific drawer in the kitchen) as cancer treatment (chemotherapy/radiation) can sometimes make you feel disoriented.
Some insurance companies may pay up to 50 percent and others, like Blue Cross which has recently changed its rules, may pay up to only $400. Many times, it really will depend on your policy.
If your insurance coverage is denied, you can appeal it:
a. ask for review by a medical review board,
--include the original claim
b. ask for a written reply as to why the claim
c. send a letter tot he claims department supervisor.
These steps are for reference. Remember to follow the procedures outlined by your insurance company to receive the fullest benefits possible. Most companies cover between 80 to 100%. Individual insurance companies as well as the state insurance board (each state varies) may have other or additional steps to complete.
If you don't have insurance contact your state or county agencies. The county department of social services offers medical assistance in most states for individuals who meet certain income guidelines.
Keeping Your Perspective. What We Think, We Create.
Throughout this journey with hair loss, do your best to keep in mind that this is a temporary process. In times when my hair loss has affected me most, I have done two things:
1. I have forced myself to get out of the vicious emotional cycle by first stopping and taking a deep, conscious breath and then, second, releasing the passing thoughts of fear.
2. I have immediately reminded myself of the things I am most grateful for: whether they are the sometimes overlooked gifts of sight, hearing, walking or breathing-or for the loved ones in my life. Somehow that has always gotten me through the challenging moment and allowed me to be released from it and move beyond it. Keep in mind that transformation can happen in an instant. When we change our perception we change our reality.
I trust this information will support you, as I believe you now have the tools needed to attain peace of mind while on this part of your journey.
I wish each of you, every success.