How I lost my hair but kept my identity

Dealing with cancer is extremely difficult, and when you add hair loss into the mix it’s like adding salt to your wounds. In this guest blog post, Elizabeth shares how she tackled her hair loss head on (pun intended) and regained a newfound love for her internal beauty.

How I lost my hair but kept my identity
By Elizabeth T. Schoch

Many cancer survivors have to deal with hair loss from chemotherapy. To me, this is truly a case of adding insult to injury!

In 2013, I was told that I had advanced endometrial cancer. Just a few weeks after diagnosis, I had major surgery. One month later, I had minor surgery. And then about 2 weeks after that, I had to start chemo. Before the chemotherapy began, my doctor told me that my hair would definitely fall out from the chemo drugs. Good grief. First cancer, then two surgeries, and now I was facing 3-1/2 months of chemo, during which time I’d lose my beautiful hair. Quite frankly, it didn’t seem fair.

At first, I thought that the whole hair-loss issue was pure vanity. I came to understand that it was about how I looked, but it was about so much more than that. Everyone’s hair is part of their identity. You stand out because you’re a redhead or because you’ve got awesome dreadlocks or because you’ve got the cutest pixie cut around. In my case, my hair had always been a source of pride for me. It was thick and wavy, and even when I was a little girl, people remarked on it. Hair stylists love me. Just in the couple of weeks leading up to the start of chemo, complete strangers complimented me on my hair, which at the time was just above my shoulders. I hadn’t had it cut in several months, and it was kind of a wild mess, but it was still great hair. And now, here I was, about to lose all of it.

I knew I had to develop some sort of head-covering strategy, because I had no intention of walking around bald. I considered hats, scarves, wigs, and more. What I finally decided upon was a combination of a little knit turban that I got from the American Cancer website, coupled with a colorful scarf that I tied around it. Luckily, I owned a collection of vintage scarves, and I must say it was fun to have a use for them since they’d been languishing on a closet shelf for years. I purchased turbans in 3 basic colors that would coordinate with my clothes, and I was ready to wrap ‘n roll.

I got my hair cut short before it started falling out so it wouldn’t be so hard to deal with. It was still difficult. My hair was brown with silver streaks, and I began finding dark and light hairs all over my apartment. I felt like a cat that was shedding.

Once a good portion of my hair was gone, I began wearing my turban-and-scarf combo. I got a lot of stares, and I realized that losing my hair marked me as a cancer patient. All I wanted to be was anonymous – but that was impossible now.

Another thing I realized: You really find out how much you love your face when your hair is gone. And as my eye lashes and eye brows began to disappear, this became even truer. One step I took to feel better about myself was to wear bigger, bolder earrings and more make-up. This helped me feel more feminine and – dare I say it – pretty.

I got alot of compliments on my scarves. Were they pity compliments? Perhaps some were, but I think in most cases, my printed scarves caught people’s eyes and made them smile. I had a look of my own. As I said to my friend, it wasn’t a look I had chosen. But it was a look. And it was mine.

I was fortunate because the chemo treatments worked for me, and today I am in remission. My hair has recently grown back, and I had what I call “the big reveal” on Thanksgiving, when I showed up at my cousin’s house with no head-covering. My hair is extremely short, wavy, and is now completely gray. It is sort of odd to go gray more or less overnight, but I am just so thrilled to have hair! It was tough being without hair for 6 months, but I got through it – just like all the other cancer survivors out there who are strong enough to handle cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation, and yes, even the loss of their hair. They find out what I did: Even if you are bald, you are the same person inside. Cancer can’t take that away from you.

Create your own style and face your hair loss head on! Click here for some great products to help you get started.

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Color Play!

It’s a New Year. Now is the time to make a resolution to step out of your comfort zone and into a whole new world of color!

A subtle color change can create a whole new you. You can choose a color that’s slightly lighter than your natural color or – if you are feeling a little bold – you can try a shade that is completely different from your own.

When you are experimenting with your color, our hair integration pieces (which allow you to pull your existing hair through for a perfect color blend) and our gorgeous highlighted captivating colors are a great place to start!

Best of all, if you still have questions, you can simply call our wig experts at 1-800-364-9060 and they’ll be happy to help you select the color that best suits your needs.

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Specialty Commerce Corp. Makes a Generous Donation to Susan G. Komen Massachusetts

During the month of October, Specialty Commerce Corp., one of the nation’s leading multi-channel direct marketers, ran the Like for Locks campaign to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

West Bridgewater, MA (PRWEB) December 13, 2013

During the month of October, Specialty Commerce Corp., one of the nation’s leading multi-channel direct marketers, ran the Like for Locks campaign to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Specialty Commerce Corp. set a goal of donating ONE wig to Susan G. Komen Massachusetts for every LIKE they received on their Paula Young Facebook page – up to 500 wigs.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of our friends at Specialty Commerce and look forward to continuing our collaboration with them.

Mike Ippolito, CEO of Specialty Commerce Corp. presents a check to Susan G. Komen Massachusetts.

The great news is they achieved their goal of 500 wigs donated and MORE! The entire company also chipped in and made monetary contributions throughout the month.

“We offer complimentary coffee to our employees but, during the month of October, our employees reached into their pockets and paid anywhere from twenty five cents to five dollars for every cup they drank so that we could raise money to donate to Susan G. Komen Massachusetts. They even paid a few dollars to wear jeans every day instead of the normal business casual attire. Susan G. Komen does so much to help better the lives of those facing breast cancer. As a company, we truly value what they do and we are thrilled to begin our partnership with them,” said Mike Ippolito, CEO.

On November 26, 2013, Specialty Commerce Corp. welcomed representatives from Susan G. Komen Massachusetts and the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts to their headquarters in West Bridgewater for a luncheon in their honor where they were presented with a check for $500 along with 500 wigs.

Representatives from Specialty Commerce Corp., Susan G. Komen Massachusetts and YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts celebrate a wonderful partnership.

“Congratulations and heartfelt thanks for this great promotion and wonderful gift,” said Ronni Cohen-Boyar, Executive Director at Komen MA. “Working with the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts and other community partners across the state, we’ve helped to expand breast health education and linkages to screening, treatments, and patient navigation services. This gift gives us an exciting new way to work with our partners to assist women in need here in Massachusetts. We greatly appreciate the generosity of our friends at Specialty Commerce and look forward to continuing our collaboration with them.”

Over the past 10 years, Specialty Commerce Corp. has donated more than 68,000 wigs. And for more than 30 years, Paula Young has made it their mission to help women with medical hair loss regain their sense of self-confidence. The continued partnership with Susan G. Komen Massachusetts will help more cancer patients than ever before.

About Specialty Commerce Corp. 
Specialty Commerce Corp. is one of the nation’s leading multi-channel direct marketers. With a modern, efficient and finely tuned infrastructure we serve the women’s hair fashion, medical hair loss and apparel markets, as well as providing continuing education for professionals. From operations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, our catalogs, websites and retail stores serve a multi-national cross section of customers around the world.

About Paula Young 
Paula Young is the world’s leading retailer of wigs, hair pieces and fashion add-ons, with more than two million active customers. For more than 30 years, Paula Young’s mission has been to offer women of all ages beautiful, affordable hair solutions that help them develop the confidence to believe in themselves and their beauty.

About Susan G. Komen Massachusetts® 
Susan G. Komen Massachusetts® is an organization that works with, and on behalf of, breast cancer patients and survivors and those who support them in our local communities. With seventy-five (75) percent of proceeds generated by the Affiliate staying in Massachusetts, the Affiliate is able to fund educational programs, offer grant money to organizations that support its mission, and help better the lives of those facing breast cancer locally. Komen MA is able to successfully continue its mission through annual events such as the Komen Massachusetts Race for the Cure® and Komen Massachusetts Chefs for the Cure. For more information, call 617-737-5111 or visit http://www.komenmass.org.

About YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts 
The YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is one of 230 member associations of the YWCA USA. The national organization was chartered in 1858 and is one of the largest women-owned and ran groups in the country continuing a 150 year heritage of leadership in issues that affect the daily lives of women and girls. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts was founded in 1911 and serves over 5,000 participants annually in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Key program areas include health education, outreach and breast cancer support group services, after-school programs for youth, residential housing for women, racial justice, economic empowerment, leadership development for young women, and widowed persons program.

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Beauty Resolutions for 2014

2014 is right around the corner and now is the time to make your beauty resolutions. This year, my personal beauty resolution is to invest more time (and money) into my skin care regimen. As the years go by and the lines get a little bit deeper and those brown spots get a little bit more noticeable, I realize that the pharmacy bought products simply aren’t cutting the mustard. So, in 2014, I say “out with the cheap scrubs and cleansers and on to professional facials and dermatologist-recommended products!”

Recently, I met three of my best girlfriends for a pre-holiday lunch. While we chatted over our chicken Caesar salads and a delicious bottle of pinot grigio, I mentioned my beauty resolution to them. I was pleasantly surprised to see how eager everyone was to share their personal resolutions with the group.

My friend Trish told us she was determined to finally stop biting her fingernails. She had even bought some nail polish that is supposed to taste wickedly bitter if you put your nails in your mouth. (Now, as much as I like to remain positive, I’ve known this girl since we were five and I’ve never EVER seen a glimpse of white nail at the tips of those fingers).

Jamie, as she dramatically poured another long glass of pinot – a wide Cheshire grin on her face, swore she was going to start drinking only water to keep her body healthy and hydrated. And Beth, who is a recent cancer survivor, exclaimed she was going to purchase a few new wigs to help her put some ‘pep’ back in her step.

Now these may not seem to be the most glamorous of beauty resolutions, but at least they’re a start. Maybe you’ll have one that inspires me and my friends. So share away… What’s YOUR beauty resolution for 2014?

Wishing you a safe, happy and beautiful 2014!

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The Paula Young 2013 Holiday Hair Guide

The holidays are quickly approaching so NOW is the time to start thinking about how you’ll wow them at the next holiday party. Wigs, hairpieces, headbands and more – try one (or more) of these pretty holiday hairstyles!

Casual Updo: Mollie Hairpiece by Jaclyn Smith
Classy Chignon: Awestruck Stretch-A-Comb Hairpiece by Paula Young
Classic Bun:
Retro Bun by Paula Young
Dramatic Upsweep:
Braid Headband w/Curly Hair by Paula Young

Or simply choose one of our best-selling wig styles – may we suggest the Abby WhisperLite Wig by Paula Young?

Wishing you a beautiful holiday season!

The Paula Young Family

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Don’t Get Burned This Holiday!

This Thanksgiving, make sure you roast the bird… NOT your tresses! A sudden burst of heat from the oven or steam from a boiling pot of water can cause irreparable damage to your wig.

Remember the ever-important wig rule of thumb: NEVER open the oven while wearing a wig! It is certain to ruin your wig… and your day. Your wig simply cannot take the heat, so keep it out of the kitchen.

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Exclusive Sneak Peek!

Did you know that you don’t have to wait for the newest wig styles to be unveiled? The Paula Young Sneak Peek Department features brand-new wigs that have not yet been seen anywhere else! It’s our way of showing our customers just how much we value you.

Meet our current exclusive sneak peeks…

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Fashion Trends – Pixie Cut!

And the trend continues! Kristin Chenoweth has jumped on the pixie cut bandwagon this week, and is now revealing what famous faces were truly behind the inspiration for the drastic cut. Though the Broadway vet admits she did it for a new role, she’s always wanted to try the new look anyway.

Shop our Short Styles for a similar look!

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It’s Election Day!

Vote for your favorite Paula Young Wig today! Here’s our top five best-sellers… did
your candidate make the cut?

Shop our Best-Selling Styles!

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Autumn-Winter Hair Trend: Warmer Colors

With fall winding to a close and winter painting the world in a magical wonderland, you experience the beauty of Mother Nature’s transformations first hand. Why not take this time to warm up your winter and make a transformation yourself? All you need is a new hair color!

Warm, rich hues like honey blonde, medium auburn, etc. are perfect for cold, slushy days. Saturated colors create a luster that warms your style and heart.

Shop PaulaYoung.com and check out new wigs in warm colors today!

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