A year later, the only evidence that cancer was here are the scars left on my chest and my short yet thick and wild hair. Out of all the moonlighting capabilities I had during chemotherapy and survivorship with the help of wigs, makeup, hair extensions, etc. I would say that my biggest struggle was my hair and here’s why:
Emotionally, I never thought I’d be so attached to my hair. Losing it became way more of a big deal when my mom walked in on me pulling my hair out in spades in the hospital. The nightmare kept creeping back up on me every time I didn’t wear a wig even after getting the “cancer-free” confirmation.
I remember looking for solutions to my growing list of weird post-chemotherapy hairstyles, the pixie, the overgrown pixie, the mullet pixie. . . and coming across extensions in metropolitan Minneapolis specifically designed for women recovering from cancer. The price tag was insane.. but I made the compromise for chasing the idea that these extensions would help me transition back to the person I was comfortable looking at in the mirror would be worth the astronomical price tag.
The first couple months were okay, however I always had headaches. Install took 8 hours. Over 600 individual pieces at 22 inches were installed in my head. After a couple months, it became so unmanageable while consistently observing them falling out becoming a trigger every single time I found an extension laying around somewhere in my bathroom or other places in my house. I tried to get away from wigs by using extensions due to my head being too large for conventional synthetic wigs that never last very long no matter how well you take care of them and getting flack at drill for having natural hair “out of regulation.” I had to start a migraine medication to keep up. I got an MRI on my head to try to figure out what was going on to be revealed that I had a cyst in my brain, but that wasn’t the answer. I often slept because I couldn’t deal with the pain of being awake having so much weight on my head. Sleeping made it worse because I slept on wet extensions or my hair was too oily that they kept falling out exponentially. It was really heartbreaking. The “helmet head” of extensions become more of my normal hair than the actual install itself.
One day, I was scrolling mindlessly through my newsfeed on Facebook. I discovered a post by a young lady named Kay Lewis, saying she does hair extensions for women suffering from alopecia and post-cancer treatment. I humored myself and sent her a message, expecting an asinine quote and to be taken advantage of because of my already vulnerable state with screwed up extensions.
My old hair extensions
Could it be??? Not paying a ridiculous amount of money for better looking extensions? While not killing my head and neck at the same time? She responded back immediately with a high quality portfolio and a fantastic quote. I was so excited.
She happened to live in San Antonio, Texas also. I was to move here with my husband almost two weeks after we got married in August. I made sure I made an appointment with her as soon as possible, paying for my hair and service in full first.
It took her a really long time to get the old hair out of my head and gosh it was painful too. By the time she was done, there were about 450 pieces on the floor of my old extensions. My hair had grown a ton since my last install and I have natural bangs now. At a year of post-chemotherapy hair growth, my thick, crazy hair almost reaches the end of my jawline. It’s coming in slowly but surely.
It took about 2 hours to install the full head of hair she had ordered. It matched my natural hair really well and the ratio of my old extensions to my new ones were about 4 to 1 per square section, meaning it was so very much lighter than it used to be.
It looked the same, if not better.
Kay Lewis is an absolutely wonderful, sweet, kind lady that helped me feel much better about my coconut head shaped mullet. She is a master hair extension specialist and she’s been doing this for eleventy million years. Okay . . . maybe not THAT long, but still. She will snatch your head right up for a fraction of what salons charge because she’s an independent stylist.
Cancer survivors, if you ever planned on trying to find where to get good hair extensions at an even better price.. I recommend Hair Extensions by Kay, and you can find her on Facebook here.
Here’s a picture of me with my fusion extensions after about a week. They’re easy to manage and curl on their own, leaving me to only do small touch ups here and there once it air dries or even blow dries. I can use whatever products I want on it, no restrictions.
Full disclosure, I wholeheartedly commend the survivors that choose to bear their natural hair growth with no extensions or wigs. I someday wish that I could have enough self confidence as you.
Again y’all, please check out Hair Extensions by Kay Lewis.
Peace, love, and tater tot hotdish from a Vikings fan stuck in Texas,
The Terminally Illest