The evening of June 5th, 2014 was the night that changed my life. That night I found a lump in my right breast. It was as hard as a rock and felt like it was the size of a Kiwi. I was scared to death. How had I missed this? And I knew what it was before I was told. I’ve always been somewhat pessimistic; however in this case my pessimism unfortunately proved correct. Breast Cancer. Not sure any word in our vocabulary takes your breath away like the word 'Cancer'. After the myriad of tests and scans and surgery it was confirmed. Unfortunately a small mass was also found in one on my nodes, so I was immediately put on the chemotherapy regimen.
My first heavy dose-dense treatment was scheduled for 8/11/14, and was to be followed every 2 weeks by another treatment until four had been completed. There was more chemotherapy after the initial four, however I focused on the initial protocol. I was informed that I would most likely be losing all my hair (which of course happened). In a final 'take control’ moment I made the decision to shave my head as I really wasn’t prepared to watch clumps of my hair fall out.
I have naturally red hair and when I found out I had breast cancer I was initially more concerned with dying than the amount of hair I had. But since I realized I was going to shave my head anyway, I started to quickly ‘brainstorm’ because I only had a couple of weeks before it would all be gone and who knows where my brain would be after the regimen. And that’s how “Shebangz” got started. From my first chemo treatment and in the following 14 days I figured out how to keep my hair.
We aren’t all rich, and when we find out we’re about to have chemo, making a wig of our own hair isn’t exactly something we put any effort into. After perusing everything on the market, the expensive, the cheap, the shabby, I was convinced that there was no product out there that would make me look like ‘me’. I felt that in the light of the imminent hair loss, there was no way that someone could look at me and not realize I had cancer. That forced me to become ardent in my search for an inexpensive solution for myself, and in turn, might work for others as well. At least that’s my hope.
My intention is that when you’re diagnosed, and you know you’re going to have chemo, that you’ll have a window to be able to “keep your own” hair – perhaps not as originally planned of course, but long enough to help you make a gentle way into the extraordinary journey that cancer can take you. It’s already a grueling challenge and if having the ability to keep some of your hair is something that could bring you a little more comfort, then so be it.