The hats

Just a quick one today — Jacquie asked about hats for cancer patients survivors undergoing chemotherapy. 

When the hair first starts to go (and go read this for Stella’s heartbreaking description of her hair falling out in her hands, the temptation to pull it all out, and one of what may be several short haircuts before it all goes), the scalp becomes incredibly sensitive.  Many people lose their hair in 48 hours.  For others, it takes a week or more.  It’s taken me about 10 days to get down to a level of fuzz matching Little Bear’s — and it’s been a bit disconcerting, as it’s (frankly) been a mix of waiting, washing, pulling, and cutting the sad-looking remains ever shorter. 

The thing I like most for sore scalps is a headcover — a Buff headcover, actually.  These amazingly soft, silky cylinders pull right over the head and then can be twisted into several styles, from skullcap to topknot to pirate.  I like to let mine hang loose down the back a bit, since I’ve always had long hair and it’s just plain weird not to have that swing behind me anymore.  Buffs are the absolute best thing you can find if you know you’re going to lose your hair quickly — you can wear them beforehand to to prepare yourself a bit, during to catch the falling hair and disguise those really bad hair days, and afterwards for warmth or comfort under a regular hat, if you wish.  I also sleep in mine every night, to keep the stubby hairs from rubbing my scalp raw against the pillow.  They wash and dry easily in minutes, are well-made, and are used in performance sports across the globe.  They’re also quite striking — check out the beautiful designs from National Geographic!

I also ordered hats from and TLCdirect, the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit hat store.  Both arrived quickly and were inexpensive.  They’re soft, small (so that they fit a head without hair — yes, it really does change your cap size!), without harsh linings inside, and with few seams to irritate the scalp.  I love this wrap from Headcovers right now, actually, as it’s soft and easy to wear, without the structure of a hat or the difficulty of a scarf.  If you’re looking for a good hat for those first chemo days, you’re really looking for one thing — soft, soft, soft!


24 Responses to The hats

  1. canape says:

    Honey, your cap size had to have gone down in double digits, your hair was so thick!

    What I want to know is if you lost 25 pounds when you lost your hair!

    I think the Buff ones are way cool. I’m glad to know you are still stylin’ even though you are doing a mad imitation of my big brother now.


  2. Robin says:

    So which print did you choose?

  3. Now that I’ve seen your photo, I can absolutely envision you with these on your head! You’ve got a beautiful face and a gorgeous smile… and I’m certain your choice of head-coverings will enhance your beauty, Whymommy.

    You’re a SURVIVOR!! love to you CGF xox

  4. whymommy says:

    My NYfriend gifted me with the Buffs, actually — a blue bandana, a pink breast cancer awareness one, and a WAY COOL Pioneer Venus pattern! They are awesome, and I wear them all the time!

  5. Kelly says:

    Praying for you. And thanks for the face. Perhaps it shouldn’t help, but somehow it does, solidifying what you look like in my own mind, and making those prayers a sort of meditation for your well-being.

  6. amanda says:

    You continue to amaze.

  7. So glad there are these products around to make life easier.

    Thanks, as usual, for getting the word out, WonderMommy!

  8. you are 32 flavors and then some WhyMommy!

  9. Linda Sue says:

    My dear hubby has a clean head (by God and shaving) and states emphatically – the Lord only made so many perfect heads – the rest He has to keep covered with hair. So – you are perfect in at least one more way. Thanks for the info about the buffs – we have children we about who are undergoing chemo and radiation – it might help them.

  10. Linda Sue says:

    OK I promise not to double post each time – but I miss the “edit” feature for my comments and my brain did a glitch – we have children we CARE about . Whew

  11. Rose100 says:

    Your attitude amazes me.
    Know that many of us are thinking of you often, and cheering for you.

  12. Jacquie says:

    Thank you sweet girl for taking the time to do this!
    You truly are wonderful!

  13. Alice C says:

    Great link to Buff Headcovers! I bet that hunky fella’ tempts you to check out some new designs occasionally!

  14. bon says:

    you really blow me away sometimes…you’re doing good, Whymommy, for so many of us, by opening windows of insight and empathy and information that we can now carry with us into our everyday lives, and extend to people around us.

    i clicked a local online magazine yesterday, btw (, and found that you’re the August cover story. couldn’t be prouder of you.

    thinking of you, cheering for you.

  15. ~JJ! says:

    That Buff looks amazing…

    I’m sure you totally rock that Buff…

  16. whymommy says:

    Linda Sue, the Buffs come in children’s sizes too — my little boy has a kiddie print “just like mom” and he likes to wear it when we’re all cuddled up after chemo. Hope this helps in some small way.

  17. girl says:

    I bet you’re rockin’ those…. my Baboo wears a turban and cat eyed glasses and drives and old car…. she wears her cancer well.

  18. You so need this Buff:
    because you are a *true* Survivor!!

  19. Katherine says:

    Glad you’re finding the creature comforts that work for you. I had all sorts of fun head coverings that made the difference for me. I loved the flapper style beaded hats I found they made me feel whimsical and very visible at a time when it would have been easier to just fade away into the background.

  20. whymommy says:

    Easier to fade away … Katherine, those words struck me today. It’s been a hard one, and it would be so much easier to just fade away. But I agree that it’s important to be stubborn and visible if we can. If only to still remind ourselves that we are definitely still part of it all.

  21. Ally says:

    Thanks for posting these details. My sister in law is surviving cancer right now, and I am sure she’ll appreciate the R&D you’ve already done for her! Thanks WM!

  22. ggirl says:

    I started losing my hair almost immediately, but I never felt inclined to pull it out. By the time it all fell out, everything hurt so much and I looked so crappy that I didn’t even care enough to pull it out. Being bald bothered other people a lot more than it bothered me. It’s interesting how disturbing they all found it to be.

    Hang on. Take extra good care of yourself.

  23. […] when my two-year-old takes off my Buff (scarf) at bedtime and says, “no sleep in hat,” but I don’t feel secure without it.  […]

  24. […] weekend, we went to the outlet mall.  I wore a hat most of the time, but I took it off at a couple of the shops (Hot flashes trump propriety.  Every. […]

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