My Hair Loss Journey
Georgie Swallow
Getting diagnosed with Cancer is something you never really think twice about, or at least I didn't as a 26-year-old healthy and outgoing young woman. However in August 2018 I got the news I had Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My journey started rather swiftly as I got the call on a Thursday and was receiving my first chemotherapy treatment on the Friday! Sitting down with my Prof the morning of my first chemo and being given a list (about 3 pages long) of all the side effects that chemotherapy can cause just looked like a blur, but one side effect stood out like a sore loss! At that moment in time, the self-conscious & vanity concerned Georgie went into a panic. I can't be bald, I am too young to be bald, I am a girl, I can't be bald! It was at that moment I said to myself and anyone who would listen, 'no one will see me with no hair, I will never take my wig off!' Oh how that all changed.

I wanted to make sure I had a wig ready before my hair started to fall out – a comfort blanket essentially. So shortly after my 1st chemo, my mum & I went to a local wig specialist for our first experience in wig shopping. I was terrified but the minute we walked in we were greeted with huge smiles and a wealth of knowledge. They explained, with patience, the difference between real hair and synthetic, lengths, maintenance, lace fronts… it was a new world to me, but they made me feel so comfortable. I tried on a selection of wigs similar to my hair colour and must have been in the shop 3 hours before I made my decision! I left with a lace front real hair wig and a shorter synthetic one with a fringe. The lace front wig is fabulous, the way it is made gives you a realistic hairline and you wouldn't even be able to tell it was a wig! The synthetic wig is also amazing, I was advised to get one with a fringe to avoid people seeing the hairline as it isn't as realistic without a lace front.

I first noticed my hair falling out on the day of my 2nd chemotherapy. First it fell out in small amounts but over the coming week or 2 I really started to notice a difference. My hair thinned a great deal, my hairline receded and I could start seeing parts of my scalp. I used social media a lot to see what others were doing to cope or at what stage they 'braved the shave' which really helped as you can reach out and get advice. Personally, I tried to hang on to my hair, I cut it shorter and wore lots of hats to disguise my hair loss! I really struggled mentally with the notion of losing my hair until one morning I woke up, realised I wasn't fooling anyone and got my other half to get the clippers out!
It was the most positive turning point in my journey, the minute the hair was gone I felt like a new, positive and empowered individual. I felt like I took back the control and a weight was lifted from my shoulders…. I only wish I had shaved it sooner! I am an avid fan of wigs, I love the ability to wear one and feel somewhat like my 'old, pre-cancer self' but I also am not ashamed or embarrassed to step outside my house, rocking a bald head, as why should I hide the toughest battle of my life? I have connected with so many women going through a similar journey and there isn't one right answer to how you should feel about losing your hair, or wearing a wig or not. You have got to do whatever makes you feel comfortable and strong and to get you through.


  • If you have long hair, cut it shorter before it starts falling out. It will be much easier to manage.

  • Keep your hair brushed! Use a wide tooth comb and gently brush your hair in the morning and afternoon. It is difficult as it may feel you are causing more hair to fall out but if you don't keep it brushed all your hair will matte together.

  • Sleep in a turban, in fact live in a turban at home. The turban will collect your hair as it falls out and you will avoid waking up in something that resembles a nest! Also, be prepared for when you are cooking to find your hair in every meal.

  • Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Whether it is taking control and braving the shave before its starts falling out or trying different styles and hats to make your hair last as long as do you!

  • Wear wigs or don't wear wigs – you are incredibly strong and beautiful!

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