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Jacquie Beltrao - Video 3

Jacquie tells Lucinda what her friends and family thought about her new hair

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For those who are unable to view the video, prefer to read, or who have difficulties in hearing, this is a transcription of the interview

Video 3 - the reaction from friends and family

Lucinda: So what was your friends and family's reaction?

Jacquie: They were like "my goodness, that's amazing!", "Mum, that's even better than before."

I sort of went out with one sort of hair and came back with the same, but better. And then that's how it was for the whole time. Because the one thing they don't tell you about chemo, they say well you may lose your hair probably, they don't tell you how long it'll take to come back. People always say that thing, "oh don't worry it's only hair, it'll grow back". Well actually when you think about how long it takes to grow hair, yeah it will grow back but it will take, well this has taken three years; this is three years worth of growth, so you can imagine how it was after one year. And that's a long time to be

Lucinda: Each folicle is affected by all the chemicals that have literally flooded your body, so it's kind of changed the hair at a molecular level, so you can now be three years later with this hair, back as perfect as it was before - it does take a long time, half an inch a month and then you've got to get rid of all the chemicalised hair as well.

Jacquie: That's what people don't explain actually when it starts to grow back and you think "oh this is really exciting", actually it can grow back like baby barn owl hair, and it's all fluffy and it's all curly, and for a lot of people it grows back grey, so you have to have all of that hair sort of cut off, so you may grow this much but you may have to have this much cut off to get to a decent sort of quality of hair, and that takes a long time and nobody explains that to you. Not that many women look that good with a buzz cut, I think; I definitley wouldn't have done. I was just so grateful for your hair, I just thought that saw me through. More than just a vain way it was more like a kind of psychological way.

Lucinda: Do you think it impacted your healing?

Jacquie: Yeah, 100%, because I could almost go through it, it sounds terrible but I had six months sabbatical - I was out walking the dogs, I was seeing my friends for lunch, I was looking really glamorous all the time. every time I looked in the mirror, even if I had chemo the next day, I would look completely fine, completely fine, in fact I went to this make-up course that they organised at the hospital for people who were losing their hair - called Look Good, Feel Better - it's a great charity. They give you tips on how to like pencil in your eyebrows, or put on eyelashes, or the rest of it, and when I walked in they said, "oh, make-up artists over there Jacquie" and they thought I was a make-up artist, and I went "no, no, I'm a patient" and they said "oh! ok, sit over there". And it turned out I'd actually had way more chemo than anybody else in that room, but I was the only one who didn't look sick.

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