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Staying positive, despite hair loss

March 26, 2007

"Saying Goodbye to Her Hair," written by Marc Silver [March 19], reminded me of the day my sister, Cindy Wilmoth of Temecula, "lost" her hair. Being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in 2005 at age 48 was a shock to my sister, her family and friends. However, she faced the treatment regimen with amazing grace.

Her chemotherapy nurse told her to expect to start losing her hair about 17 days from the first day of chemotherapy. Almost to the day, her gorgeous, shoulder-length hair started to be found on her pillowcase, shower, clothes and the floor.

One day, while she was enjoying a late breakfast with her then-19-year-old son, Dustin, he suggested that he "buzz" it off for her. Ever the neatnik, she insisted they go outside and not litter the floor with any more of her blond and brown hair. She perched on a swivel bar stool in the middle of the backyard grass, and Dustin gently buzzed every strand of hair off her head.

Once done, he slowly swiveled her around to admire his "work." He looked deep into his mother's eyes and said simply, "Mom, it makes you look 10 years younger."

Two years later, I still smile every time I think of his kindness and how he made an incredibly difficult event so much easier. I am happy to mention that Cindy is doing very well and really enjoys having her full head of hair back.



Thank you for Marc Silver's "My Turn" piece in response to Britney Spears' recent buzz cut. As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, I'd like to tell your readers about a remarkable program free to women, undergoing cancer treatment, at many locations throughout L.A. County.

"Look Good ... Feel Better" teaches women techniques to combat the cosmetic side effects of cancer treatment, including the hair loss Silver refers to. The program is led by volunteer cosmetologists and aestheticians like me, and is free. Each woman goes home with a free make-up kit that matches her skin tone.

The premise behind the program is that if women look good, they will feel better about themselves and consequently recover better. We have recently begun offering "Look Good ... Feel Better" to teens.

In addition, each American Cancer Society office has on hand wigs, head coverings and prostheses available free to cancer patients.

The Society also provides free transportation to and from medical appointments and a wealth of information for cancer patients, their families and their caregivers. To locate the closest office, call (800) ACS-2345 or visit




The article jogged my memory of my best friend losing her hair to breast cancer.

Nothing stopped her from living her life. She learned how to play golf with a visor over the wig. We skied together, she with a helmet over the wig. She taught me how the most awful experience can be won over with dignity, grace and humor. She is now a grandmother of four, and cancer free for almost 10 years. She is my hero.


Santa Monica

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