Before you read my post about the hat you see below in the picture of me, I wanted to introduce myself as one of the new Mom writers here at Mothers With Cancer. I have a history of breast cancer in my family, including my own mother who was a thirteen year survivor of the disease, so I wasn’t all that surprised when I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in September of this year. I’ve had two surgeries and have a stage 2 breast cancer with 1 lymph node involved. I will be beginning chemo (AC/T) after Thanksgiving. I’ve been blogging for years, most recently writing book reviews at my blog Stephanie’s Written Word. I have two daughter’s (a biological 6 year old and a 2 year old adopted from China). Thanks for having me! – Stephanie
OK, I’m not what you would call a “hat” person. Unlike those svelte models sporting cute winter hats on the pages of an L.L. Bean catalog, hats tend to make me look strange. I just can’t seem to pull off the look. And yet, I spent the bulk of my weekend knitting up myself a couple of hats.
When I first found out that I had breast cancer, I told my husband that if I lost my hair I would NOT be wearing a wig. It kind of flew out of my mouth without much thought behind it. Over the last few weeks I’ve had the time, mostly while knitting, to think about why I felt so adamant about not wearing a wig. When faced with a disease that can change the way we physically look, I understand why many people opt to wear a wig. My Mom, when she was diagnosed thirteen years ago with breast cancer, purchased a wig even before losing her hair. I remember that she wore her wig most of the time and I think it gave her a sense of normalcy that she needed. But there was another reason she wore that wig. My Mom was very secretive about her disease and didn’t let many people know about her cancer. I suppose breast cancer wasn’t as prevalent in the news as it is in 2008 and maybe she was afraid of the social stigma of having cancer. This always makes me a little sad, since I really didn’t understand at the time why it was such a big secret.
Even though I don’t usually like to be the center of attention, I am also not embarrased by the fact that I have breast cancer. I don’t want it to be a secret. I want other women to know that a routine mammogram has saved my life. I am not afraid of my disease and even though I probably won’t really like the way I look when I put on my home-made knitted hat in the morning, at least I’ll be being true to myself. This is why I won’t be wearing a wig if I have chemothereapy. If you’ve been through this before, what made you decide whether or not to wear a wig?