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Amie's Breast Cancer Journey #16 August 12, 2015

In preparation for round 2 of chemotherapy there were a few jobs on my list.  The first one being blood work.  While undergoing chemotherapy treatment you are required to have your blood drawn the day before every chemotherapy round.  The Oncologist carefully examines the blood work report  to make sure you are able to proceed safely with the next round of chemotherapy.  Off to Life Labs!  The challenge was to decide which arm to draw blood.  I have a PICC line in place but only a Registered Nurse can access my PICC line. It is qualified technicians that work at the lab who draw blood, not Registered Nurses.  It is not recommended to take the blood from a vein in my left side because I had eight lymph nodes removed on that side. Using the left side to draw blood could bring on a condition called lymphedema.   After some consideration the technician decided to access a vein around my PICC line.  Success! My blood was drawn.

The next job on the list was going to be a hard one.  Mom and I were on our way back to Transitions Hair Studio in St. Catharines to see Carlos. Carlos is well known for his ability to create the perfect wig for clients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.  A few weeks ago I met Carlos for an hour long appointment. Carlos made one of the hardest things about having chemotherapy very comfortable and easy for me.  I was blessed to have him come into my life. Carlos walks clients through the whole process of hair loss and does not leave you without hair.  Carlos had a few weeks to create my wig.  Including a colour match and style.  I chose a synthetic wig simply because it is low maintenance when I am not feeling well.  A wig that is made out of human hair has to be washed and styled daily.  A synthetic wig is wash and wear.  Wigs can range in price from  $350.00 up to $1000.00.  When I left my hair was cut to match the style of my wig, new bangs were cut.  Bangs help to cover the hairline area when you are wearing a wig. Private insurance companies sometimes cover the cost of a wig. Carlos had recommended that I complete my first round of chemotherapy and return to pick up my new wig on or around day 17. With my chemotherapy schedule day 17 falls on a Sunday and I may not be feeling up to a wig appointment.  I decided to visit Carlos today early and make the transition on my terms.

Carlos fitted my new wig to my head and made the necessary adjustments.  I learned how to style, wash and care for my wig.  I practiced about three times taking my wig on and off to achieve the perfect fit.  My scalp has been very sore and sensitive.  With everything I have been going through it is not something that I can’t handle or worth complaining about.  Chemotherapy kills the fast dividing good and  fast dividing  bad cancer cells in your body. Chemotherapy can’t decipher between which fast dividing cells are good or bad just that they are fast dividing cells.  The cells that grow the hair on your body are fast dividing cells.   The result of this includes hair loss and a  very tender scalp.

My new wig

It was time to say good bye to my hair.  Carlos recommended a close haircut but not a full shave.  It is preferred that the remaining hair falls out on its own to not damage the follicle and prevent infection. Paul and I now have the same haircut! My mom and I were surprised at how much I looked like my brother.  I quickly texted Adam to share the news of our similar features  and his response was “good looks run in the family”.

Being brave saying goodbye to my hair

I was feeling brave and attached a picture of the bulk of my hair being removed by Carlos.  Here is a photo of my new wig.  The new temporary me!

– Amie Banting

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