A few weeks back I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a Look Good Feel Better Workshop. This free community program helps people undergoing cancer treatment manage the craptastic chemo appearance-related side-effects. Originating in the United States in 1989, for women, men and teens, it is now available in over 175 locations in Australia alone and helped over 10,000 Australian cancer patients in 2012. Demonstrations include skincare, makeup application and the use of wigs, hats, turbans and scarves. You can register on the website or through your oncology treatment centre. Except don’t let your chemo nurse fill out the form and say things like… you normally wear blue eyeshadow and grey eyeliner, and your complexion is the same as Marilyn Manson’s, cause thats what you will get in your loot bag! Oh did I mention all the free loot that you get to take home?
I was excited to attend this, given my ongoing bemusement at the loss of my eyebrows, eyelashes, head hair and blotchy bloated skin. It would have been very easy not to attend given my chemo induced stupor at the moment. But my motto throughout this expose with the Spanish Dancer has been to accept the support that is given to me and participate in all of the community programs on offer. So off I shimmied.
This workshop was hi-larious! It was so beneficial for lifting the spirits and meeting women undergoing treatment for various cancers. I actually went straight to my fourth chemo treatment after the workshop with a spring in my step.
Before the program I was terrified of wigs. They have always reminded me of fury animals that can move around the house when you are sleeping. Leave the wig hanging on the back of a dining chair and in the morning it might have climbed into your bed and hogged the doona.
I also think too much about who might have owned the hair if the wig is real human hair rather than synthetic. Has it come from the daughter of a struggling farmer in small village in China? Has it been cut from a Russian teenager while she was sleeping? Is it horse hair? I kid, I kid!
Thankfully, the workshop ironed out any of these wig preconceptions I had and if I wasn’t stingy I might actually purchase a few. But normally when I purchase accessories I damage or lose them. I have been known to lose spectacles and I once lost a very expensive dental prosthetic in rural Victoria somewhere. Somehow it fell out of my car when it wasn’t in my mouth (don’t ask) and I was so frantic at the loss that the next day I drove the exact same 300km route with my eldest child who thankfully wasn’t old enough to see how neurotic his mother was about losing things and wasting money, all while Mr Cool was at work. We stopped everywhere we had stopped the day before.. roadsides, public toilets, cafes, parks, gutters. The round trip took five hours, but alas, I did not find it.
So imagine what I could do to a wig? Melt it sitting too close to a gas heater outside a cafe? Yes, I would do that. Have my whippet claim it as a small fury toy? Yep, that could very likely happen. Put it on crooked? Yep highly likely. I still sometimes wear my clothes inside out or back to front and notice at 4pm after I’ve been out all day. I also can’t imagine wearing a wig in spring and summer in Australia. So at the moment I am quite happy to be utilising scarfs and hats through this cold bald winter in Southern Australia. But I guess in refusing to jump into the purchasing of a wig, I could possibly be in denial about how long this whole hairless process might take. I’m hoping to have my very own fashionable pixie type haircut by Christmas day. The regrowth could be grey, ginger or black curls. Chemo does some funny things to hair when it finally grows back. It will be interesting to see what eventuates.
Here are the wigalicious hairdos I tried on and yes, I did manage to take shameless narcissistic selfies on my iPhone in front of everyone. This was an occasion for it…my once in a lifetime chance to participate in a wig extravaganza! What hast becometh of me?
In Australia and New Zealand, some great wigs can be purchased from a company called Celebrity Brandz. Many large towns also have wig libraries offered through the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and the Cancer Council of Australia also offers a free wig service in each state.
Now let’s have a look at the Celebrity Brandz Wig Catalogue. For your enjoyment I have selected some pearlers. I would really have liked to try these on but the wigs on the day were (thankfully) a bit more youthful. Introducing to you, Charlie, Casey, Concerto, Flora, Lauren, Megan and Celina. Seven of the absolute best!