- Question from Sandy: My children (ages 5 and 7) can't stand to see me without my wig or some head covering. I can't stand the fact that I look frightening to them. How can I make them feel better and not feel even worse myself for looking the way I do?
- Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. This is a difficult time for children. They are often frightened by anything that is just different from what they see around them. In this case, it would be helpful to wear a wig or some sort of head covering. Hair loss is one of the most difficult things for patients and family to go through, but it's temporary. So your family needs to find the easiest way to get through this during the time when you don't have hair.
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
Your kids are watching you all the time looking for cues on what this whole breast cancer experience means to you. If you are experiencing distress, they will pick it up immediately. If you are trying to conceal something like the loss of your hair, then that will cause some anxiety even if the wig or head scarf is a practical way to manage this side effect.
Sometimes the change from wig on to wig off to scarf to hat is what may be distressing. Kids kind of want you to look the same way all the time. Not knowing what you're going to look like, or how you're going to show up at their school, may be what's bothering them. Sometimes a straight-forward conversation can help ease the way. You might say to them "I'm going to wear my wig to pick you up at school, but when I'm home around the house, I might just wear nothing or a simple cap to keep my head warm." You might ask them how they feel about that, and then stop and listen. They will often give you an answer that can really help you choose your steps. Sometimes it just takes time for them to get used to the situation.
On Wednesday, September 15, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Family and Loved Ones. Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W., author Marc Silver, and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the issues surrounding family members and caregivers living with and caring for women affected by breast cancer.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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