Queries regarding ladies' hats

One of my best friends began chemo today. Four to six months of that, and then one to I-forgot-what-her-husband-said months of radiation.

She’s, of course, joining my late 80s mother on my dern-sure-to-check-in-on-often list.

Well, the hair loss is a given. And I want to give her a hat. What I’m thinking of is a sort of a white cotton, what(?), sun bonnet. See, I don’t even know what you call these things, much less where in the heck you go to get one.

So help me out here, Dopers. What’s the most useful sort of headgear for a chemo-baldie? What do you call it and, where do you get one?

And a question for the cancer vet Dopers, hmmm…, well, no, I guess anybody can offer their thoughts; what is the propriety of my giving her such? She really is close. Her husband is one of my eight or ten best friends going back 38 years, and she’s another one of those eight or ten whom I’ve known for about 20 years.

My favorite hats to wear during chemo were those short, kind of flat cylindrical ones pieced out of chinese and indian velvets and silks. Here’s an example http://shop.store.yahoo.com/highlandrags/flemishpillhat1.html of the shape I mean, though I think you can get them chaper than this. You can find them at import shops. They looked and felt to me like a hat a non-balding person might wear indoors just for the look of it, and they were comfortable. They are called things like pillbox, skullcap, beanie, etc. They’re often available in nice African fabrics in African import shops, too.

I bought all of my own but I would have been delighted to get one as a gift.

Note that hair loss is not a given for all chemo treatments these days, and not for all people. I actually never went completely bald, but lost about 1/2 to 2/3 of my hair – and all my eyelashes, which probably bothered me more. Do you have any idea how functional eyelashes are? One of the worst things about chemo was all the crap I got stuck in my eyes all the time.

Don’t know how your friend will feel about it, but when my hair started to go, I got a nice short almost buzz cut and had it dyed platinum blonde, so the contrast between my milk-white scalp and my hair would be reduced. It was fun. I’ve never been blonde before or since.

Many many best wishes to your friend, and to you. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can get anything for her. Unless she likes being treated like a porcelain doll when she’s healthy too, you don’t have to start now.

If it’s Hodgkin’s that she’s got, I’d be happy to chat with her about the chemo and radiation stuff… that’s what I had.

I’m something of a hat aficionado, and over the years I’ve run across quite a few sites that specialize in hats for people with hair loss. Here are just a few links:



I haven’t had cancer myself (keeping my fingers crossed), but I’ve had a number of friends and acquaintances who’ve gone through treatment. I think that if a long-time friend gave me a hat under these circumstances, I’d not only think it was appropriate, I’d probably be touched beyond words.

Consider taking her out and getting her a wig.

I’ve known several people over the past few years who have undergone chemo. All three said screw it, and let the hair land where it may. They were all woman and at that point were more thankful for being able to live than to look purty. Instead may I suggest the Lance Armstrong biography. There is a new one due out in October/Nov I just read the one published in 2000/2001 and it was pretty good. I had read one shortened one previous, but this one is titled “It’s Not About the Bike, My Journey Back to Life”

 There is very little "cycling" in it and I do believe/know it could be  very inspirational to anybody with cancer.  And for only 13 bucks, I'll bet you, it is cheaper than most hats.  Heck buy a hat and the book.  though I still strongly recommend the book, I wish I had known about it previously to give to other people.

Or you could knit her a chemo cap like this one, the “No-hair-day hairy chemo cap,” or one of these, also from the www.headhuggers.org site. The Berocco Chinchilla one has the benefit of being supersoft on the skin.

Thanks, y’all. I had dinner with her and hubby last night, and she referred to her new, short 'do as a “chemo cut.” So, I think she’s got enough attitude intact.

Thanks for the links, as well. BTW, it’s breast cancer emily.

A woman that I met through eBay crochets really cute hats (cloches with brims) that are very perky. You can choose the color of the hat, the band, the bow and the rose. I had already suggested to her that she might want to donate some to St. Jude’s Hospital. (I own a couple of these hats myself.) Would you like a link? They are not expensive.

May I also suggest that you get one for yourself to wear when you are around her? I read about one chemo patient who wore a scarf and a hat. The first time that she went to church after she had lost her hair, the women were all wearing scarves with hats.

You are a good and kind friend.

One of my bead catalogs (Fire Mountain Gems) had a picture of a bald woman – one of their employees – with stick-on bindis arranged in a pattern across her scalp. She looked fabulous. Sadly, the next issue carried her obituary – but she sounded like a real spark. If your friend is feeling whimsical she might try that.

She might also like a REALLY FABULOUS scarf – not just pretty but one that stops traffic, calls attention to itself instead of what may or may not be under it.

I think if I were to lose all my hair I would really go nuts – Crayola-colored wigs, crazy hats/scarves, the bindi idea, what have you. Go with the flow and all.

Best wishes to your friend. I know two people who have beaten breast cancer, and may your friend join them!

Though they’re certainly not marketed toward that market, http://www.tznius.com/ has a variety of low-cost cotton headscarves that are large enough to wear in a number of manners that cover the entire head and feel like silk. I enjoyed wearing them myself when I had to shave my head after an accident, and they didn’t slide around on my chrome dome, either.

Best wishes to your friend, Ringo. You’re a good guy to open this inquiry for her.

I came across something unexpected. After I’d made a couple of unproductive forays to the malls, finding nothing suitable, I asked a woman I work with, whose daughter is undergoing chemo now, the same question about the propriety of doing this.

She recommended it, and she also told me of a place here called the Women’s Medical Boutique. Bingo!

I got my friend a black beret, and when she tried it on, she pointed out that, unlike the headgear she’s already got, it covers the back of the neck, and the inside is all soft; i.e., it was made for the purpose.

So, she not only got a functional hat, now she knows about this shop. One small victory.

Good work! I’m glad you followed through on it, and I hope your friend and her family are coming through this well.

I belong to a group called The Crafty Ladies. We crochet, knit and sew hats for chemo patients for free. I want to say thanks to those who submitted links. They’ve given me more ideas on styles and how to make them.

There are lots of volunteer groups like ours across the country, and in other ones too. If you or someone you know are sorting through your yarn or fabric stashes, consider giving what you no longer want to a group like this. Call your local hospital to see if they know of one. Your community center or senior center might be able to help too.

Ringo, I’m glad you found something nice for your friend. It’s a very thoughtful thing to do.

Oh, and hospices would probably know of some groups too.