Wednesday, 5 March 2014

To Wig or Not To Wig?

A couple of weeks ago, my Dad and I made the long 5 hour car journey back up to Aberystwyth where I was at uni (and will be returning to in September for my final year) so that I could spend several days seeing my lovely friends, some of whom I hadn't seen since before I was diagnosed last year in June 2013! Which was mainly down to me not wanting to see anybody when I wasn't well. It wasn't that they weren't my friends and couldn't be bothered to come and see me, it was simply because I didn't feel like seeing or talking to anyone. I shut myself off from my friends for a while. I didn't tell them when I was first diagnosed  in June, only a few people knew as my Mum had passed on a message I wasn't well, the majority of my friends found out a month later in July when I dropped it into conversation. This may sound strange. Why wouldn't I tell my friends straight away? Some of whom I've known for years and years. Honestly? I don't think I accepted the whole situation for a while. I was there in hospital, having blood and platelets being pumped into me quite intensively during the first several weeks and it was almost like I was looking down on myself watching all of this going on around me. It took me a while to actually register what was going on.

So when I went up to Aberystwyth, I took my trusty wig along which I got from Trendco in Hove, (you can read all about my lovely wig *here*) as I was very aware of the fact that when I last saw the majority of my friends, I had had lovely long hair that reached almost half way down my back.

I arrived at my friends house (where I should also have been living this year) in my wig and it was really lovely to see everybody again! I braved it the next couple of days and didn't wear my wig, as we mainly stayed in catching up, or wandered around town for a bit. Nothing major. Then came Friday night. Two of my friends were celebrating their birthday in town (which I did know about, as that was one of the reasons I had gone up to Aberystwyth in the first place.) The theme was to dress as something beginning with either a G or a T, so my friend and I went as two tigers. After I'd done makeup on a couple of my friends, I started getting ready, the panic had already set in, what was I so worried about? Should I wear my wig? Shouldn't I wear my wig? Some people won't be aware of what I've been through, what will they say? Will they shout abuse at me? Will they make a passing comment about the girl with really short hair? Why is it so short, did she do a Miley and shave it off and it's only just growing back? She had such nice hair before, what has she done to herself? The questions and the nasty comments that could potentially be said kept popping up in my head. I was panicking, it was the first time I was going out since June and I couldn't stop this chain of negative thoughts that I thought other people would be thinking too when they saw me.

I had to put on my wig.

I wanted a night of normality, I wanted a night where I could go out with my friends like I used to, like any 21 year old would want to and just have fun. The line 'I feel more comfortable with my wig on' came out of me as I was getting ready and they were fine with that. They didn't ask me any questions, or why, (which I was glad about because honestly, I think I would have started crying.) They simple said if that's what makes you comfortable then that's fine with us. I have the best bunch of friends.

Me, Courtney and Frankie, ready for our night out. 

So I went out and I had a lovely final night in Aber. Going back to Aberystwyth made me realise a few things. It made me realise that when you've been through so much and you've been told you're in remission and in the all clear you want life to snap back to normal, how it used to be. But you know what? It won't and it doesn't. Looking at myself each day in the mirror is a constant reminder, I see my short, boyish hair and remember how it all fell it. I can picture it very clearly. Clumps falling from my head to the floor. Masses of hair getting stuck in my hair brush... even my Dad scooping handfuls worth of hair up off the bathroom floor and telling me it'll grow back. He's right, it does grow back. But that doesn't mean it makes it any easier.

My life won't snap back to normal, physically yes, I'm doing so much better than I was and I am in remission and so far in the all clear. But mentally, it takes its toll. There will always be the memories, the little things you see or do on a daily basis that will trigger flashbacks to lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to machines. I'm sure one day in several years time, it will be back to it's lovely length, but for now I have my trusty wig for those days when I don't want to think about what's happened, or thinking about it becomes all too much. I'm incredibly thankful for the doctors and nurses who have helped me this far and will continue to help me and I am also thankful for my amazing bunch of wonderfully supportive friends.


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8 comments:

  1. I have the same disease as u since I was primary one and I am now primary six and I am not cured yet

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish you well and I do hope that one day you get the news that you are in remission. If you ever want to talk, you can always drop me an email xxx

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  2. Its good that your friends are supporting you in this way x
    www.writteninblackwhite.com

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    1. Thank you, I have amazing friends xxx

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  3. I can't go out without my wig. I'm immensely embarrassed. I don't mind ppl knowing that it's a wig as long as they don't see me bald. I just look do different... :( and I also have the same thoughts you do about what ppl will think of me. I also had really long hair before my lymphoma..

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    1. I know how you feel, the first time I went out without my wig on I got stared at A LOT. But you know what, those people who stare and make it so obvious, they have no idea what you've been through. You are so strong and one day I'm sure you'll feel comfortable about not wearing your wig, but if you prefer to then that's entirely up to you. Do what makes you feel happy and comfortable. Sending you my love and best wishes. xxx

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  4. Hi Emily, I saw a brief clip of you on the news last week and then my colleague, Emma said she’d been following your blog and was really touched by it, so I decided to have a read too. Your journey and what you’ve been through is very inspirational. I have my own wig business that my mum started over 35 years ago, so we see clients’ everyday going through the tough side of losing their hair. Most of our clients say it’s the hardest part of what they’re going through because their hair is their femininity and identity. When they visit our salon, we know it’s the last place they want to be and people also have a preconceived idea of what the wigs are going to be like, but wigs have changed so much over the years and you can get some fabulous ones. Like you, we use Trendco and have for years. I also found your blog informative on what products to use for dry skin etc and over the years we have picked up ideas and tips for various problems, such as hair growth and skin conditions, but we found the information on your blog really helpful. Just yesterday, I had a lady ask if I knew what to use on her sore dry scalp, so I gave her the link to your blog and she called us back this morning to say how very helpful it was and how inspired she was by your story. We will continue to follow you on your journey and pass your link onto many more of our clients. We wish you well for the future and in your venture at becoming a make-up artist, you obviously have an amazing talent for this. Take care, Kim @ Carpenters Wig Consultants, Maidstone, Kent xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much Kim, that's really lovely of you to say. I'm glad that my blog has given you a bit of information and that's really kind of you to pass it on to your clients, thank you so much.
      I'm glad that she was able to find the answers she needed looking through my posts!

      Thank you so much for getting in touch, I'm so glad that other people are finding my blog helpful and thank you again for referring them to it! I hope you're well and having a lovely, lovely week Kim! xxx

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