When Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 50s, one of her biggest fears was losing her hair. She spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the hair replacement system she used to feel “human” again.
Sarah exclusively told Express.co.uk: “Most women don’t really like themselves, but one thing I did like was my hair.
“Losing your hair is the most devastating thing anyone can go through.”
And when she discovered a cancerous lump in her breast and started receiving chemotherapy, her worst nightmare came true.
“I know it sounds ridiculous, but chemo is such a strong thing. You can’t believe something like this can make your hair fall out.”
But when her hair started coming out in clumps, she was devastated.
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After undergoing a lumpectomy, which left her with a “wobbly, scarred” breast, the loss of her hair made her feel “even less feminine”.
“It’s just a dreadful, dreadful thing – of everything, I’d say that’s the hardest and worst part.”
It wasn’t until she came across Jennifer Effie’s hair solutions in an article that she saw a glimmer of hope.
Different from a typical wig, the JE Hair system is attached to the patient’s scalp, meaning it can be worn 24 hours a day, and can be washed and styled like a patient’s own hair.
It is also matched to the patient’s natural hair color and texture, while allowing real hair to grow underneath.
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Sarah, who runs a flight school, said: ‘The main reason I wanted Jennifer was because it stuck in your head and I work at an airfield which is really, really windy’, admitting she was “mortified” that someone could see a wig fall off.
The day Sarah received the hair replacement system completely changed her life.
Having religiously worn hats and avoided mirrors during her chemotherapy, Sarah said receiving the hair replacement was the “most important day of my life”.
“It was like someone took something away from me, a huge sense of relief.
“And what that does is you feel absolutely amazing because you feel like a human being.”
She continued: “You never have that daily reminder of having to do your hair.
“You can’t really underestimate how important it is, knowing that you don’t have to do anything to make yourself look like you used to.”
The few close friends and family Sarah said “just couldn’t believe” it wasn’t her real hair because it looked so natural.
“My niece got married in August, and I had my hair replacement and nobody knew about it.”
Free from the fear of people knowing she had lost her hair, “I never questioned going out because I felt like a normal human being.”
But not only did Sarah feel confident about her physical appearance again, but the hair replacement had a profound effect on her mental health as well.
“Basically, cancer treatment is in the hands of the professionals; they are good at what they do and they deal with it all the time.
“But the one thing they can’t help you with is how you feel about yourself.”
Being able to control something so important to her during a time of helplessness was “extremely important”.
“When you’re going through something that’s out of your control, it’s really important that you can take a step back.
“You’ll never go back to who you were because it really changes you, but if you can maintain some sanity and dignity through it all, then that’s amazing.”
Although Sarah didn’t have to receive counseling due to a stroke of confidence after hair loss, “lots of people do,” so it’s her focus that the hair replacement system, which costs 2 £000, be available on the NHS.