Melitta’s Journey

with Permanent Hair Loss due to Chemotherapy

While there are many causes of hair loss, the most common causes are genetics, aging, hormones, stress, and medications. Refined Hair had the opportunity to interview one of our clients, Melitta Berger, about her hair loss journey.

At the age of 44, Melitta was diagnosed with breast cancer and began chemotherapy. After going into remission, Melitta continued to struggle with the permanent hair loss caused by her chemo treatments. In her interview, Melitta shares her hair loss story and how she came to find Refined Hair.

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How did you find Refined Hair?

One day I went to the nurse near where I work, and after examining my cough she asked how I was. When I responded that I was feeling a bit down, she asked why and I explained that my hair loss was a continuing struggle and it was making me a little depressed. I told her a bit more about my situation, and she told me she also experienced hair loss and gave me Shanna’s card. I never would have guessed that she had a problem with her hair… it looked full and great! I was heartened that maybe something could change for me.

Can you tell me about your hair loss journey?

When I was 44, I had my annual gynecological exam and filled out a screening questionnaire for my doctor. The questionnaire was designed to find out if I was at high risk for certain cancers that have a genetic basis. My doctor suggested that I could get screened, and I said yes. About 2 weeks later, I received the results: I was positive for a mutation on the BRCA2 gene which meant that I had a much greater risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

I started to feel scared and immediately had multiple screenings. In June, I found out that I had invasive ductal carcinoma in my left breast and began chemotherapy shortly afterward. Chemo lasted six months and was followed by a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I lost all my hair and 25 pounds. I gained the weight back, but I ended up with some permanent hair loss and my hair was thin and damaged looking.

I struggled along with barely-there hair, but then I met Shanna. She gave me a clip-on topper, and it was so great! It was such a relief to have my scalp look normal, even though the clips did not have much hair to clip on to! She was just starting to learn about the CR hair system and asked if I was interested. After doing what little research I could, I said yes! Then we did my scalp mold, selected the hair type and sent it off to Italy to create my custom hairpiece.

What questions did you have about the hair loss solution process?

I had questions about cost, maintenance, how different systems would stay on and if my hair would keep growing underneath. But Shanna was able to allay my fears and answer all my questions in our consultation.

What questions did you have for Shanna at the beginning?

I wanted to know how long she had been in the business, if I could speak with a client who had used a similar product, if there were payment plans, etc.

How would you describe your overall experience with Shanna and what makes you keep coming back to Refined Hair?

My experience with Shanna has been amazing! She is passionate about her work with people like me and it shows in how she treats her clients. Shanna tries to find the right solution for each client, not just what she has available at the moment.

If you could tell a potential customer one thing about Refined Hair, what would it be?

Shanna will listen to you and can help with a solution for most (maybe all!) hair problems.

Which hair system do you use? What is your favorite thing about the hair system you use?

I have used the Cesare Ragazzi CNC® System since early November, and I am still getting used to it. There are pros and cons, but the pros win. The downside is that the hairpiece has to be cleaned and re-attached every 4-6 weeks or so and on occasion, it can be itchy underneath, although it should subside. Mine has been on for almost 6 weeks now, and it is getting a bit loose. But a huge pro is that I have a full head of pretty, shiny hair that looks like my natural (younger) hair.

What advice would you give someone who just recently started experiencing hair loss?

See your physician first, to understand what is causing the hair loss. If you conclude that it is alopecia or permanent hair loss, then do some research on your options. A clip-on topper can be great for some people, but if you have sparse hair or are particularly active, having the “permanent” option of the CNC® System is the way to go!