September 17, 2018
Michelle Sand wasn’t ready to lose her hair. As a retired beautician, she couldn’t imagine walking around her community with a bald head.
“I just cried,” Sand recalled. “I thought, ‘Man, I feel like a cancer patient now. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to lose my hair.'”
Thanks to Bloom the Boutique at her nearby Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Sand didn’t have to sacrifice beautiful hair during her cancer treatment.
Dealing with a diagnosis
Sand was losing her hair just three weeks into her treatment for breast cancer. A routine mammogram had found a lump in her left breast, and while her cancer was in the early stages, Sand’s genetics revealed she had a high chance of recurrence.
“Everything that could go wrong was on my chart,” Sand said. “Thank goodness my oncologist, Dr. Peter Friedell, decided to do more testing. He set me up for a future where this cancer isn’t going to come back.”
Sand underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, all close to home.
“I didn’t feel like I needed to go anywhere else,” Sand said. “We’ve got a great cancer center right here in Bemidji.”
Feeling like herself
When Sand lost her hair, she knew she wanted a wig to help her feel like herself again. She was amazed to learn that, thanks to generous donors to the Sanford Health Foundation, she could be fitted with a high-quality wig for free at Bloom the Boutique.
“I couldn’t believe I was getting a free wig,” Sand said. “You get sick and you lose your hair. It’s a downer when you have to go through that, but the boutique helps you get through.”
Nearly a year after her diagnosis and several months after she had finished treatment, Sand’s hair was finally long enough for her to feel comfortable leaving her home without a wig.
Since recovering from her cancer, Sand has been helping others through their cancer journeys. She now volunteers at the boutique, fitting other cancer patients with wigs.
“I love doing it,” Sand said. “This is a perfect fit for me. We talk about their cancer, and I even call them later on in their journey to check in on them.”
For many cancer patients, changes in appearance caused by treatments or surgery can create challenges in the recovery process. Bloom the Boutique helps patients regain confidence in a comforting and convenient setting created just for them. Patients and their loved ones can find a variety of products and services to help support their cancer journey, including:
- Wigs – Wig fittings available by appointment only.
- Scarves and hats
You can help make sure this service continues to be available for local cancer patients with your donation today!