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No Hair Days

Hair Brush by ishawalia

Hair Brush by ishawalia

Before I even started chemo, I ran out and bought a wig, which in proper medical terms is called a cranial prosthesis…really! Whatever the terminology, I couldn’t imagine going about my day without it. Hair is such a big part of your physical appearance. It’s one of the first things people notice about you. Not to mention the fact that it keeps your head warm. Something to keep in mind if you are starting chemotherapy treatments on December 29th, in Ottawa, Canada!

Buying a wig was also a way to help prepare our 6 year old daughter for what was coming…mommy with a bald head. So my sisters and I took her wig shopping. We tried on all kinds of wigs…light, dark, long, short, straight, and curly. Of course, she liked the long blond wig the best. We laughed a lot and had fun.

No Hair Days, wig shopping

In the end, I settled on a dark, shoulder length bob but I only wore it a handful of times. It never seemed to sit right on my head. It felt foreign to me like I was wearing someone else’s hair…and I was! I received many compliments, the few times I wore it, probably because it was easier for people to see me with hair than without. And one time, a well-meaning acquaintance told me she liked what I had done with my hair, of course, not knowing I was going through chemo. I just thanked her, not wanting to get into my sad story and make her feel badly, but at the same time feeling a bit like a fraud.  

So I ended up rockin’ the hats and scarves instead. It was more comfortable and soft to the skin. And oddly enough, it felt empowering as though I was taking ownership of my illness and not hiding behind a cranial prosthesis. It also allowed me to experiment with different looks and feel stylish even though I had no hair. I have never been a hat person and to be honest, I am still not a hat person. But it gave me the opportunity to have a little fun, be creative, at a time when I needed it.

At times I have wished that someone would have told me not to buy a wig, “save your money”, but I know I would not have listened. It felt like something I needed to do at the time. I had to live through the experience to know I would be okay without hair. And the upside, no bad hair days, just no hair days, which require a lot less fuss! 

I now take special note of women with no hair, and women whose hair is just starting to grow back, and I am stunned by how beautiful they are. It’s as though their strength, their courage, their resilience and vulnerability all shine through. There is no hair to distract you from seeing their inner beauty. It makes me think of this beautiful quote.

Old Woman by Unsplash / Pixabay

Hmmm, if only...

Colleen Kanna is a breast cancer champion and creator of coKANna designs, a line of bamboo knit, Canadian-made adaptive clothing for women touched by breast cancer.


  • Marilyn Cook

    I remember this photo well!

  • Colleen

    Thank you, Nancy!

  • Nancy

    What a beautiful and touching story of your strength and resiliance during such a difficult cult time. Thanks for sharing.

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