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Founded by a daughter who’s been there, Daughters Like Us is an online resource center and community of support for women caring for their loved ones with cancer. Daughters Like Us strives to make cancer manageable through truth, love, connection and support.

Angela's story: Finding a wig

Angela's story: Finding a wig

It hasn't happened yet. 

But it's going to. And there's nothing I can do to stop it.

One of my favorite pictures of mom. Taken the night of her 35th high school reunion. Before cancer.

One of my favorite pictures of mom. Taken the night of her 35th high school reunion. Before cancer.

I pictured mom without hair. 

I furiously shook my head. The image wouldn't disappear.

Damn it, cancer.

Damn it, chemo.

I glanced at mom in the passenger seat as I drove to The Wig Gallery in Rome, NY. 

Mom just finished her first chemo treatment.

We need to be ready.

"You tired?" I asked. The nurses told us to expect fatigue to set in within a few hours. "You sure you want to go tonight?"

"I'm good," she replied. Her glassy eyes stared straight at the road ahead of us.

I looked at her long brown hair.

I clutched the wheel tighter.

Damn it, cancer.

We pulled up to the wig store. 

Damn it, chemo.

“Welcome, I’m Lori,” said the owner, holding the door open for us. Her voice cheerful. Her blonde hair styled in a short, funky bob. Her smile big. Her outfit perfectly matched. 

The door closed. Lori turned the lock.

“This is your time,” she said. “It's important my customers have privacy. This is not an easy part of your journey.”

I returned her smile and glanced around the cozy living room.

Wooden floors. Sofas. Coffee tables. The lights dim. 

No wigs?

“Would you like some coffee or tea? Biscotti?” Lori asked, gesturing toward a neatly-organized table covered with items you'd find on mom's kitchen counter.

Mom took a cup of hot tea.

"Follow me," Lori said in her enthusiastic voice. Her high heels clicked on the wooden floor as she lead us down a set of stairs. 

Shelves of wigs lined the room.

Wigs. Wigs. Wigs. 

Long. Short. Black. Brown. Red. Blonde. 

Damn it, cancer.

Lori sat mom in a chair facing a big mirror. 

Mom’s eyes drooped.

Damn it, chemo.

“Let's find you a wig,” Lori clapped. Her bracelets clinking together.

She bent down and put her hands on mom's face.

"What color would you like?" she asked, examining mom's face shape and skin tone.

"Something to match my current color," mom replied, touching her long brown hair.

"Similar style, too?" Lori asked. "You know, you can also try something funky and new. Maybe go blonde?" 

We laughed.

I walked around the room with Lori searching for brown wigs.

I touched the hair on the mannequins' heads.

I glanced at a price tag. 

My eyes widened. I blinked and looked again.

Damn it, cancer. 

Mom waited in the chair, sipping her tea.

I looked at her reflection in the mirror in front of her.

Damn it, chemo.

Lori pulled mom's thick hair back in a low bun. 

Here we go.

Too long. Too voluminous. Too many layers. Not enough layers. Too dark. Too light. 

Mom's eyes drooped more.

Damn it, chemo.

Lori placed one more wig on mom's head.

Brown with subtle highlights. Lightly layered. Shoulder length.

Mom's eyes widened for the first time in an hour.

That's the one.

Mom wearing her wig from The Wig Gallery in Rome, NY.

Mom wearing her wig from The Wig Gallery in Rome, NY.

Lori gave mom a step-by-step lesson on how to wash the wig. Even offering  to come to mom's house and help her do it if needed.

Mom deserves the special treatment.

"I really like how the wig looked on you, Mom," I said as I handed Lori my credit card.

Mom held the bag with the wig inside. 

We're ready.

I stared at the number on the register. Mom did too.

$495.

I don't care. I want my mom to feel beautiful.

Damn it, cancer.

"I hate this part," Lori said. "I wish I could give the wigs away. It kills me. Call your insurance company. You might get coverage for at least part of this."

Mom's insurance covered $100.

Damn it, cancer.

 

Important to know:

  • Call insurance provider to ask about coverage of wig cost
  • Ask doctor for prescription for an “extra-cranial prosthesis” (a wig)
  • Wigs range in price depending on the type you choose
  • If a wig is not in your budget, free wigs can be found at The American Cancer Society 
Advice for you: Caregiving during the holidays

Advice for you: Caregiving during the holidays

Angela's story: Thank you, cancer

Angela's story: Thank you, cancer