A few months ago now, I received the absolute most amazing gift thus far. It came in the most perfectly designed package, a tiny black bagged case and a mermaid/ unicorn t shirt aside. It was long, and blonde… Have you guessed it yet?!
It was my hair!
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in October, the most heart breaking thing for me was facing the facts… with chemotherapy comes alopecia or hair loss. I searched and searched for a way to not lose my hair. I was even ready to sign away a $5,000.00 check for “polar caps” which in essence freezes your hair follicles at the root for protection from the drugs. However, once my surgeon heard of my plan, he about jumped out the window, then decided to share with me his experience of these “caps” at the Cleveland Clinic where he saw young girls keep their hair… But also have their cancer spread to their scalps! Um, no thank you!!!!
So, with my sisters and hubby by my side, my cousin and mom were on facetime, and my wedding videographer the amazingly talented Paul from Sholfilms was about to document one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life up until this point. I made the decision with my families encouragement to not let cancer take one more thing away from me… I would take away my own hair before I would ever allow my lucious locks to be lost in a bath tub or on my pillow during beauty sleep!
My sister was in contact with this amazing company L’avant Garde Hair. They heard about my story and so graciously decided that they could help! They instructed me to cut my hair off in multiple ponytails (a little less drastic than brittney spears) and send it to them so they could construct a wig made out of my own hair! How absolutely incredible is that?!
Details about my unit aka my gorgeous Goldie locks:
(^^^ Lace Front Wig: My real hair made into a wig!)
– My hair totaled to 1 bundle or about 100 grams of hair (aka I was nearly bald before with my thin stringy mane)
-They had to add in two additional bundles in color 16 in lengths 18/20 with a matching 14 closure (these are hair details that some people were asking about so just hang in there)
– My actual hair are the tracks right under the closure if you look closely you will see my highlighted hair and the difference between the other bundles
**I must do a special separate shout out to explain how incredibly thankful I am for L’avant Garde Hair. They literally gave me back my beauty! They made me feel pretty again and with all of that, my amazing wig was DONATED to me by them! I can’t even thank them enough for this special gift!
Back to the story here:
(^^^ Vs. Synthetic Wig)
My sisters were prepared and purchased me a synthetic wig to wear in the meantime knowing I would be absolutely scarred at first with my new short cut. I must say, seeing myself for the first time with such short hair was shocking! I mean, my entire life I had long blonde hair aside from when I decided to cut my hair short to my shoulders because my cousin Cindy cut her hair short and I wanted to be just like her!
You dont realize what your hair truly means to you until it is gone. When you have cancer, you are already vulnerable, you feel sick, then you look in the mirror being a girl with a bald head is upsetting. I went through every single emotion you can possibly imagine. At first I was shocked that I actually shaved my head, then I was surprisingly okay with it when my sisters and cousin were cheering me on. Later, when I was alone I was curious as to how this could be a new beginning from my highlight damage from so many years, then my short shave began to fall out and my chinchilla like cut turned into a shiny bald head like Mr. Clean! Now, a few months later… I am finally getting more comfortable wearing hats and going out bald, just as long as I draw on some eyebrows then were all good 😉
When you stand up and look into the mirror, It is incredibly difficult to understand the reflection looking back at you with this sort of change. I mean, I still had my awful eyebrows (I started plucking at like age 10 in the day when pencil thin brows were cool, what was I thinking— thank God for Tarte brow kit), my eyes are still their unique grayish green with speckles of brown and a glipse of mystery yet joy for life, my nose could still use a bit of contouring thanks to the ball at the end however it makes me me, my lips are real;) unlike some other family members;) and yes I overdraw them so I dont need injections because me and needles already have a love/hate relationship however when I smile, there is still a happiness. It is so bizarre how by simply removing your hair, you find yourself looking at the “new” you… For now, a “cancer you”… Its a different reflection than the person you knew for so long, but in a way its sort of revitalizing.
Although my outside has began to wither away, my inside is ready to sparkle and shine. I try my best on the daily to be strong. Its been extremely tough, but I realize that I am so so lucky because for me, this is temporary… There are some girls that the wig life is a permanent situation!
I have to be truthful, i’ve had those evil thoughts when I see girls with long locks taking gorgeous selfies… In my head of course I have said why me and why not them… Why do I have to be ugly and shop for wigs when they can simply spend money on clothes or makeup?! This is natural though… right?;)
Everything that I thought I was, now I am not… Or is the “real me” still there just in disguise! What i’ve realized out of all of this, is the way society does indeed “label” a person on their looks. My little sister asked me when we went out to eat the one day as I chose to not wear a wig because of my extreme hot flashes… “does it bother you that people are starring at you?” To be honest, since ive lost my hair I feel like thats all people do is stare. But hell, keep starring… I sort of like being the center of attention! 😉
Before I knew I had my cancer, I never realized how materialistic or how much work I did indeed put into my looks. I mean, I always got offended if someone were to refer to me as high maintenance because I am not afraid to get down and dirty. However, I was that girl wearing hair extensions and bringing a whole bag of makeup and compact mirror to every service trip I’ve ever been on (including Guyana South America… pictures above). In a way, this adventure has taught me many lessons that I hope to share with my family, friends, and the world around me.
The truth is, our society is wayyyy too caught up in the outward appearances from selfies to snapchats to tinder or match.com. How do we make a shift where appearance isnt ones first impression? The truth is… It will never happen, and one can only dream. However, what we can do is teach kindness. I wont name names, but I have some family members in the dating world. It literally tears me up inside when they discuss their “criteria” for someone of the opposite sex because every single thing they list are things that can be taken away in a blink of an eye. Dont be so vain, TALk and find out who people really are on the inside! If I would have met John after my diagnosis and all he cared about was physical appearance, would we have missed out on our amazing love story?
We can teach our children from a young age that different is okay, that a girl is a girl no matter if she has long or short locks. Its easy for me to sit here and say you should get to know someone before you judge them. I understand that appearance in a first impression, just please be open minded GOSH!
There are still those times if I havent seen someone in a while and they initially see me bald, I wonder how they will react, I get nervous… Its a Franz girl thing, were always worried someone will forget us (which we all know is pretty hard for our Franz Family) The funny thing is, I always get most nervous around kids or my hubbys cousins who are young and I dont expect them to understand why im bald now. Turns out, theyve all just accepted it and still see me as the old me! Truthfully its been since October and I havent actually had someone say anything negative about my looks except for an internet troll but who really takes them seriously anyways?👊🏻
Through this journey i’ve gone through so many ups and downs regarding how I look. My hubby takes the brunt of this one as i’m mostly crying to him about my hair or how I look. He is the most amazing guy, I mean at 25, do you really picture yourself marrying someone with cancer? One day you have the little blondey with the cute bubble butt, the next minute you are practically married to a bald earth worm 😉 Aside from the kazillion times he’s said to me that “your hair will come back”, or my favorite “it doesn’t look that bad”, or “you’re still beautiful”, one day he said something to me that finally stuck! He looked at me as we laid on the couch together and said (give or take a few words of course), “you know I dont even see your baldness because your still the Meghan I met with hair”. So, if he can still see that me, why is it so hard for me to see that me!
All in all I want to share advice. Never take anything for granted, but most importantly in this case, do NOT take your looks for granted. In a blink of an eye, a one time “beauty” can be swiped away causing a lot of insecurities and heart break. Girls, please dont take this as me saying dont go to the hair salon or wear makeup, because that is soooo far from what im saying… Heck, I am a Barbie girl at heart❤️. However, What you look like on the outside is NOT all you are as a person. Be a good person. Be kind, loving, confident because you are YOU, there is only one YOU, and no one can ever take that away! If you have that sparkle and shine on the inside, it will always magically make its way to the outside, just smile and love the YOU in the mirror and everyone will love that YOU too;)