“Cancer,” they said. A word that at any age strikes fear into you, even when I was young and didn’t know the meaning of the word. The way in which it was spoken by my family to me with faces clouded with fear and sadness was enough for me to know it was a terrible thing. They explained to me that my grandmother was very sick and it wasn’t “good”. She would often complain of pain in her throat, but no one thought too much about it until it was too late to do anything about it. Her prognosis was grim: stage 4 colon cancer. I recall the last few days of her life visiting her in the hospital crying in pain and my Dad holding her hands all night. It was a painful thing to witness and it never quite left me.
When it comes to cancer and life threatening disease, time is always a factor. Thankfully today when it is caught early in many cases it dramatically increases chances, but even then according to the American Cancer Society 50% of cases by the time they are detected they are at an advanced stage. In 2022 alone 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed with over 600,000+ deaths from cancer. The most critical thing that all of us can do is make sure to get into a routine of early screening tests before you even have symptoms.
The American Cancer Society has recommended guidelines everyone should know.
A Cancer Story Close to My Heart
When I met Gautama in 2005 a story he shared with me paired with my own with my grandmother led to the vision of what Perfect Locks would become. His dad, who was a successful cardiologist, had been fighting brain cancer. Before he was diagnoses, he would often complain of headaches that eventually became debilitating. After his diagnosis and the tumor was detected it became a long, painful journey for his family. Undergoing chemotherapy and the slow loss of his faculties over the span of 10 years took its toll on his family in equal measure as it did his body and mind. My mother in law shared how stressful it was trying to find wigs for him and back then the options were limited but also really terrible looking. I began to educate myself on cancer, hair loss and hair pieces would fit the head better and were styled more naturally. When tragedy visits ones we love, we are often defined by how we face it. Helping others retain their dignity during their fight was the cornerstone of this company and it's something I don’t take lightly.
October as you know is breast cancer awareness month and this time of year we try to shine on and build awareness of this cancer in particular as 1 in 8 women will develop it in her lifetime, a diagnosis every 2 minutes. Out of all the cancer cases mentioned above, 30% of them in women will be breast cancer. Here’s the important fact: 65% of breast cancer cases if diagnosed early have a survival rate of 99%.
My Friend Shefali's Story
More recently I bumped into an elementary and middle school friend on Facebook named Shefali, who was a dear friend but we’d lost touch for over 10 years as so often happens in life. Thanks to social media we reconnected and it was like we’d never been apart. Her life journey as an athlete and model found her now as a journalist living in Singapore, chasing her dreams. A little over a month after finding each other once more, she told me she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. She reached out to me after started her chemo treatment for help and advice now that her fair had started falling out. She’d always had the most beautiful shoulder length hair with bangs and wanted to keep that same look. She was worried her change in appearance would impact her career at work (which is a subject for another day), and was hoping for a discrete treatment and transition with her hairstyle. I turned to our hairstylist here at Perfect Locks and we personally worked together to customize and style a wig to replicate the hairstyle she’d always worn and it was spot on. She wore it all through her treatment and was truly thankful, saying the Universe clearly had a reason for reconnecting us.
A Letter of Gratitude from My Friend, Shefali
Shefali's Before and After Photos
It’s been important to me to help women find solutions for themselves when it comes to hair loss and a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. If you’re unsure of what to do, I’ve made sure all of our staff here can tell you what you can do, what your options are. Moreover, our stylist is an absolute legend, being able to take stock wigs and really customize them to suit you, so while you or your loved ones are are fighting physically, you don’t have to suffer as much mentally with the changes in your appearance.
Breast cancer isn’t going away, neither are cancers that appear in other parts of the body, but medical science is improving and hopefully one day a diagnosis will mean we no longer have to say goodbye to our friends, sisters, mothers, daughters or anyone we love. Check for early signs, educate yourself and have regular checkups…they all should be part of the health regimen of every woman. This month we raise awareness for those who no longer are with us and no longer have a voice to do so. And if it’s you, know that you’re loved, we’re here to talk and to help. You’re not alone.
Stay gorgeous, stay healthy sisters,