Hair, she determined after chemotherapy, became annoying. It became hot and itchy. However, she favored it to her very own hair and even once advised a stylist to shave her head so she should stay with the wig. Wigs have been smooth.
“All you had to do changed into shake it and put it on and off your cross,” she says.
Everyone, of course, has an opinion approximately the wigs.
Suzanne Simard becomes self acutely aware of being bald till Saliken pressed her to take off their wigs one sweltering day inside the privateness of Simard’s Vancouver condominium. After that, she preferred a toque.
In brief, Anne Haigh wore the wig, and Denise McInnes in no way used it at all. “I had a variety of compliments that I seemed good in my baldness,” says McInnes.
Reminiscing about hair, or The dearth thereof, is one of the ways this 4 woman who affectionately seeks advice from themselves as the BFFs (Breastless Friends Forever) have come collectively for the closing six years to get over the shared trauma of breast most cancers. What started as a person, lonely pain has become what Saliken, Simard, Haigh, and McInnes describe as an imperative part of their lives.
Once a month, they meet in Simard’s Nelson home. They sit on the couches Simard and Saliken use to lie on and groan at every other all through chemo. They talk it out in ways that their partners, youngsters, and friends will in no way hear or recognize.
“These guys modified me,” says McInnes. “I was a very quiet, non-public [person], now not capable of specific my real emotional emotions. They opened me up. Anne gave me a huge hug the primary time I met her. Nobody in my life has ever accomplished that.”
Breast cancer survivors corporations aren’t unique. However, the inclusiveness of the BFFs is. That might be due to the fact their friendship started in the same lonely location.
Simard describes the chemo room at Kootenay Lake Hospital as an intimate space. There are curtains for privacy. However, anyone hears every other.
“You listen [the doctor] announcing things like, ‘There’s nothing extra we can do for you,’” says Simard. “I take into account this one younger guy had lymphoma. He didn’t get that message. He changed into 19 or something and wanted to know if he should go snowboarding the next day.”
On Jan. 15, 2013, a date so important to Simard she will recollect it immediately, she walked into the chemo room for an appointment and changed into annoyance to discover someone in her preferred chair. The female changed into Haigh, who the BFFs affectionately seek advice from as their matriarch and shortly became close with Simard.
While she turned into present process chemo, Haigh was additionally worrying for her husband Dan, who turned into disabled and hospitalized. On the morning of March 27, Haigh went to the medical institution for her third chemo treatment. Then she went upstairs to Dan, who passed away that afternoon.
Haigh, who at 75 is the oldest of the institution employing 18 years, downplays the importance of the day.
“It becomes hard. However, you get through it. Whatever comes up, placed your massive lady pants on. … It’s not like we’re heroic. These heroic battles with most cancers? Did each person volunteer to be a hero? No. We’re stuck with it. So make the first-rate of it.”
She made the great of it. Haigh started leaning on Simard, who has been on what’s known as a dose-dense treatment that calls for chemotherapy every two weeks in place of three. Simard’s doctor asked her to talk with some other affected person about the dose-dense timetable. That patient, it turned out, turned into Saliken.
The trio was already present in process treatment whilst McInnes first met them. She becomes to start with recognition in February 2013 and recalls strolling into the health facility’s chemo room for the primary time to peer Simard wearing what the institution describes as “the enduring chemo look.” That is to mention pale skin, no hair, no electricity, no lifestyle.
“I just burst into tears because it became so horrifying to me to peer that,” says McInnes.
McInnes later bumped into Simard and Saliken at a survivors organization. Eventually, the 4 women began assembly in Simard’s Nelson domestic.
The conversation isn’t restrained to cancer, but the sickness is principal to the friendship. Everything is at the table, no matter how dark the topic, due to the fact the fear of recurrence by no means goes away. Every unexplained pain, every scar inside the reflect is a reminder of what befell.
It’s not simply paranoia. McInnes changed into recognized with cancer in her other breast in 2015. Haigh has these days been looking ahead to check results on a bump near her armpit.
“I would really like to mention I’ve reached this nirvana, and I’m above that now,” says Simard. “But the truth of the matter is we don’t want to die. We’re just like all and sundry else. We realize that we’ve been toward loss of life than most people; however, we nonetheless want to stay.