Salon owner helps cancer survivors cope
By Jeff Fielder,
Mathews of Copper Canyon heard the two most dreaded words she never wanted
to hear.... breast cancer.
She had no idea what to expect, but she the chemotherapy treatments would
be painful. She also knew one of the side effects would alter her daily
In her fight against the disease, Mathews would lose her hair. It may seem
like an insignificant thing to an outsider. But for most women, hair loss
during chemotherapy treatment is almost as demoralizing as the cancer itself.
"The first time it happens, you're just devastated," Mathews said from
her home. You just wake up and the hair's all over the place."
But Mathews did not let the hair loss beat her. She promised herself
before the first treatment that she was going to take it in stride.
In early July, prior to her first session, the mother of two young
children turned to Don Seal in Lewisville, who specializes in preparing wigs
for cancer patients. "Don was more accurate of when I would lose my hair than the nurses
were," she said. "We sat down together and picked out a wig. He cut my hair
in the same style as the wig. We figured that would be a good course of
The plan was to help ease Mathews through the transition of losing
her hair so that when she returned to work, she wouldn't be an entirely new
person. She said the wig makes her feel normal. And normal, she says, is the
best medicine she can have right now.
"It just gives you back that feeling of being normal," she
said. "It helps you feel like yourself again. When you go out places, it not
only makes me feel comfortable, it puts other people at ease as well."
This story is not a new one for Don Seal. He lost his mother
to a blood disease when he was very young. But before the loss, his mother
underwent chemotherapy treatment. The treatments work by attacking the
fast-growing cancer cells, but it also destroys the hair cells a well.
"My mother died of lupus when I was 10," Seal said from his
shop in Lewisville. " At that age, it's remarkable to see the decline It
just really interested me in helping other people."
Seal started a Web site designed to specifically for women
and men undergoing chemotherapy treatments. His site,
, is now suggested to patients by 39 treatment centers in North Texas, he
said. He even sits on the board of The American Society Lewisville chapter.
His clients may be cancer patients fighting for their lives,
but Seal says he never forgets that they are people and need to feel good
about themselves, even when the disease and treatments get them down. "It
really makes a difference in their lives temporarily," he said.
"No cancer survivor forgets how they felt the first time they lose their
hair. No cancer survivor wants to buy a wig, and no one wants to have to
wear one, but the other choices are limited."
Seal said he designed his Web site and his business with one
simple goal in mind ... make the hair loss as painless as possible. His site
features Helpful Tips for dealing with
healthcare networks throughout the rigorous and lengthily treatment time. He
has questions and answers about hair loss and what patients can expect.
"I thought that with the turmoil of their lives, they don't
need the hassles of this," he said. The site has detailed descriptions about
the wigs, how they are made and how to take care of them. The site even has
testimonials from other clients to let the women and men who come to him
know that they are not alone in what they are feeling, he said.
"One woman came in with very, very thick highlighted hair and
she said she always wanted red hair," he said. "She decided to just have fun
Seal said that more and more of his clients are younger
women, many with elementary or preschool age children. He said women nee to
take charge of their bodies to aid in early detection and treatment.
"Three of the last five women who came in have
elementary-aged children," he said. "Younger women really need to do self
Cancer patients with concerns are encouraged to check out
Seal's Web site at http://www.comfortwigsetc.com/ or call him at 214-488-8885