Snood For Thought

When Sara Snood lost her hair to chemo, she decided that instead of hiding her baldness, she’d draw attention to it with humour and creativity. Here, she tells us why.

Day 15A year ago today I was told I had cancer.

Triple negative breast cancer to be precise, which needless to say floored me. Once over the initial tirade of emotions that come with such a diagnosis, I was given my treatment plan, which was going to happen like this.

1. Surgery: Breast conserving and full lymph clearance = ouch.

2. Chemotherapy: Six rounds over 18 weeks = terrifying.

3. Radiotherapy: Daily for four weeks = sounds like a breeze, but in reality, not.

Surgery done, chemo looming, I was wandering aimlessly around Brighton’s North Laine feeling utterly low at the prospect of losing my hair (which at that point was long, blonde – bottle version – and curly), when as if in some sort of drug-like haze, I found myself in my hairdressers. Sitting in the barber’s chair, I instructed a shocked Jason to shave off half of my hair, “give me a buzz cut”. Reluctantly he did.

Elated to have taken control, and loving my “do “– nothing like a woman in her mid 40’s rockin’ a buzzcut – I no longer felt scared (well, I felt a bit less scared) about the looming hair loss. In my surprising new attitude, I thought, let some good come from this frankly shitty situation. That “good” came in a moment of inspiration of donning a different piece of headgear every day for a year, taking a selfie, and posting it on social media.

“Chemo Snood Head – Now Go Check Your Tits” was born.

The idea was this:

a) To raise a little cash for Macmillan, who are just brilliant on all levels. We’ve so far raised £13,700 and counting.

b) To encourage my audience to check their tits, to help with early diagnosis. #NowGoCheckYourTits.

c) To give me a reason to get up every day, put some make up on (far too vain to post make-up free selfie) and find something creative to put on my head.

Day 138To begin with it was all quite normal, a headscarf here, a lampshade there, but as time and my treatment went on I let my creativity flow. Bread head on Day 15 is still a firm favourite, Radiohead on Day 138 is a classic. Philip Treacy lending me one of his masterpieces for Day 136 was when I knew I was on to something.It really did get me through the low days – and continues to. The shitty days through chemo when I felt and looked so vile, I made Courtney Love with a hangover look pulled together. On the days, post-treatment, when I can’t work in my building and renovation company again because of the nerve damage in my arm, I have a reason to keep going. The response from the ever increasing number of followers who inspire and delight me with their love, encouragement and unadulterated support… they all keep me going.

As for my hair it is growing back now, but I’m shaving it on a weekly basis in solidarity of all those who are experiencing hair loss as a result of medical conditions – chemo, alopecia et al. I’m also shaving my face on a regular basis, as I appear to have hair in equal quantity on my chin as I do on my head, and I have no desire to become the next bearded lady.

So as I continue day to day, looking at the world in a very different way, I spend my day wondering how could I get that teapot to stay on my head long enough for me to take a selfie, or delighting at being approached by some of the most talented and creative milliners in Britain wanting to donate or lend their wares.

My hope throughout is that someone, somewhere, is checking her tits, having a fondle every day. Making a note of what their breasts feel like, so in the event of a lump rearing its ugly head, they’ll know that something is not quite right and go straight to their GP. Because if that lump does turn out to be cancer, the earlier it’s found the more chance we’ll have of kicking the living daylights out of it.

A year on to the day, active treatment now finished, I am of course delighted to still be here to tell the tale and continue my fundraising efforts for Macmillan who have been with me from day one and continue to be here as I recover from my treatment. If every reader of this could spare a £1 it could significantly go towards Macmillan helping the millions of people who are affected by cancer every year. To donate simply text SNOO68 £1 to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/chemosnoodhead

So in closing, as I sit here with a Plasticine Stonehenge on my head I ask you, please #NowGoCheckYourTits.

 

Chemo Snood Head

#NowGoCheckYourTits

www.justgiving.com/chemosnoodhead

Facebook: Chemo Snood Head

Instagram: @fizzysnood

Twitter: @fizzysnood

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