When Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 50s, one of her biggest fears was losing her hair. She exclusively spoke 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 there’s one thing that I did quite like which was my hair.
“Losing your hair is the most devastating thing anyone can go through.”
And when she found a cancerous lump in her breast and began to receive chemotherapy, her worst nightmare came true.
“I know it sounds ridiculous, but chemo is such a strong thing. You can’t believe something like that can make your hair fall out.”
But when her hair started coming out in clumps, she was devastated.
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After having a lumpectomy, which left her with a “wonky, scarred” breast, losing her hair made her feel “even less feminine”.
“It’s just a dreadful, dreadful thing – out of everything I would say it’s the hardest and worst part.”
It was only when she came across Jennifer Effie’s Hair Solutions in an article that she saw a glimmer of hope.
Differing from a typical wig, the JE Hair system is fixed 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 colour and texture, whilst allowing real hair to grow underneath.
Sarah, who runs a flying school, said: “The main reason why I wanted Jennifer was because it stuck to your head and I work on an airfield which is really, really windy,” admitting that she was “mortified” that someone may see a wig fall off.
The day Sarah received the hair replacement system was totally life-changing.
Having religiously worn hats and avoided mirrors during her chemotherapy, Sarah said that receiving the hair replacement was the “most important day of my life”.
“It felt like someone had lifted something from me, a huge sense of relief.
“And what that does is it makes you feel absolutely amazing because you feel like a human being.”
She continued: “You don’t ever have that daily reminder of having to put hair on.
“You can’t really underestimate how important that is, to know that you don’t have to do anything to make yourself look how you used to look.”
The few close friends and family Sarah told “just couldn’t believe” that it wasn’t her real hair because it looked so natural.
“My niece got married in August, and I had my hair replacement on and not one person knew.”
Free from the fear that people would know that she’d lost her hair, “I never questioned going out because I felt like a normal human being”.
But not only did Sarah feel confident in her physical appearance once again, but the hair replacement also had a profound effect on her mental health.
“Fundamentally, cancer treatment is in the hands of the professionals; they’re good at what they do and they dealing with this all time.
“But the one thing that 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 “massively important”.
“When you’re going through something that is out of out of your control, it’s really important that you can take a little bit back.
“You’ll never back to who you were because it really does change you, but if you can retain some sanity and dignity through all of it then that is amazing.”
While Sarah has not had to receive any counselling due to a confidence knock after hair loss, “an awful lot of people do”, so it’s her aim that the hair replacement system, which costs £2,000, is available on the NHS.