by Noelle Hechanova

Losing one’s hair is probably one of the most devastating things any cancer survivor would ever have to face. A bald head, hairless eyebrows and pallid skin would be salient reminders of the big C…and would most likely drive us to stay away from the mirror until we are ready to face that sick looking person!

We remember how painful it was for us to see the first chunks of hair fall two weeks after our first chemotherapy cycle. And although a lot of people would console us and say our hair would grow back, it was difficult to live through the next few months without our crowning glory. We remember too well how our bald heads would remind us how sick we were and how paranoid we could be thinking people would be staring at our do’s. It would make us self-conscious.

Why continue crying over spilled milk, right? So we learned to accessorize with our bargain wigs, funky hats and cool bandanas.

By the way, Trisha got her natural hair coif in Quiapo for around P1000 and I got my synthetic chipipay tresses in Tutuban for around P500! We’re pretty proud of these cool finds!

We could comb our wigs meticulously before leaving the house or occasionally have it blow-dried for special functions. And since our wigs looked kind of fake, we could put bandanas over them and wear them with our funkiest earrings.

As it got hot (or in my case, I just got really lazy to fix my poor wig), we’d wear our bandannas alone. We must admit, it was pretty fun walking around with our fashionable dos and adding these cool new accessories to match our outfits. People never suspected we lost our hair…they just thought we were being true-blue fashionistas trying to set a trend.

In fact, our accessorizing may have fooled others too much. The day Trisha had to get her driver’s license, the photographers insisted that she remove her hat for the photo. With a lot of negotiation, (and small talk), she was able to keep her hat (and her “hair”) on. I’m telling you… that’s how great our do’s were!

She made history as the first driver photographed for a license in a bandana!

Some would call it vanity, but we merely see it as our way of loving ourselves. Our efforts to look good did wonders for our spirit. It was our small way of looking at cancer straight in the face and saying, “You can’t beat me today! I look and feel great!”

So wear that wig, strut that bandanna, put some make-up and liven your face with funky dangling earrings. After all, beating cancer is 99% attitude! Look good, feel good. You deserve it.

Noelle Hechanova was an editorial assistant for Candy Magazine. A lymphoma Non-Hodgkins survivor, she died in June 2002 due to complications. She was 25.

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