ABOUT NICKI SERQUINIA
In 1988, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian cancer and underwent a full year of chemotherapy. I've been a hairdresser for more than 30 years. Since 1993, I've specialized in helping cancer patients with wigs, hats and scarves. These experiences give me a unique and personal understanding of the trauma of hair loss, what works and what doesn't when it comes to head coverings, and how to help you look and feel beautiful during this challenging time. (For more of my personal story, see "Choosing Life")
At first, I was devastated at the thought of losing my hair, but I quickly realized that not too many years ago there was no chemotherapy and no treatment for my cancer. I then saw chemo as an incredible gift and I accepted the hair loss as part of the process that would help me get well.
Still, I was shocked to find how little help there was. I was not told when or how my hair would fall out, only that it would. I didn't know anyone who had gone through chemo and had no one to guide me.
Though I was a hairdresser, I didn't have any more access to wigs than anyone else. I had worked with wigs back in the 70s, so I had some experience with cutting and styling them. On the last possible day I could have gone with my head uncovered, I went to a local wig shop and bought two wigs.
I dug an old Styrofoam head out of the closet and held it between my knees while I thinned each wig, pausing to run to the bathroom and throw up, then repeating the process until I had thinned each one by half. The long curly one made me look like a Halloween hooker, and the short one looked like a fur hat.
I decided to try a scarf. I splurged on a beautiful Anne Klein silk scarf, then found out the hard way that silk will not stay on a bald head.
Those were the days before the miracle anti-nausea drugs, so I was quite sick and easily fatigued. Going to the mall was a chore, but I finally found one scarf that worked, a large rayon square that became my constant companion for the duration of my treatment.
Even so, it never occurred to me to include cancer patients in my practice until four years later when a dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and looked to me for hope, help and guidance.
I own a beauty salon in Spokane, Washington and serve clients from eastern Washington, northern Idaho, western Montana and British Columbia.
I offer free consultation in a relaxed, private atmosphere. I book an hour and a half appointment so we'll have plenty of time to try on wigs, hats and scarves and see what feels comfortable to you.
I have a large variety of wigs in stock, and I'm happy to place special orders, which take only a few days. I will help you select a wig in the most flattering style and color for you and trim it up where needed. You are welcome to bring along friends, family or your hairdresser for advice and support.
One evening, as I began to acquire new items for this Website, I walked into my salon, sat in my styling chair, and looked around me. The walls are covered with great hats, colorful scarves and turbans. I imagined what it would have been like for me, when I was first diagnosed, to have walked in here and seen all this, to have someone who could guide me through it, and I started to cry.
I am here to be your guide-to tell you everything I know about chemotherapy and hair loss from my own experience and from the patients I've seen as part of my practice, to save you 17 trips to the mall when you'd rather be home resting and to keep you from buying things that you find out too late won't work or feel good on your head.
In addition to hats, scarves and turbans that are designed for hair loss, I offer fabulous, high quality hats and scarves from "regular" fashion designers and artisans around the world, including Fair Trade items that are made in Nepal by women who receive a fair wage and benefits. All head coverings on my site are specially selected to offer full coverage, a soft interior and great style for women, men children and teens. Wigs are available in salon only.
Though my articles are on cancer and chemotherapy related hair loss, I also experienced alopecia areata in 1980 and know first hand the fear and uncertainty that alopecia can bring. I welcome alopecia patients as well as people experiencing, trichotillomania, lupus and other medical hair loss.
If you are newly diagnosed with cancer or alopecia and don't know where to start or what you'll need, please read The Basics. If you're still not sure what you'll need, feel free to contact me for a free consultation. You can even send a photo of yourself and I'll help you choose items that will fit your lifestyle and activities and help you look your best.