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A survivor’s journey to natural hair

Crystal Bray is a healthcare insurance professional living in Dallas, Texas. In February 2013, the young mother of one was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Before her diagnosis, she had grown out her hair for six months and planned to cut the relaxed ends to wear her natural texture. She knew one of the unfortunate side effects of some cancer treatment is hair loss. Now living cancer free, Crystal shares how she maintained her hair during her fight and how she’s welcoming back the growth of her hair, naturally.

Crystal's relaxed hair.
Crystal's relaxed hair.Crystal Bray
A survivor’s journey to natural hair
A survivor’s journey to natural hairCrystal Bray

“My treatment started with surgery and I began chemotherapy in April.” Within two weeks, Crystal’s hair began to fall out. “It was devastating. It meant really coming to terms with the fact that I had cancer." When her hair started to fall out aggressively, Crystal made a bold move and decided to shave her head. Her six-year old daughter took the change in stride. “My daughter liked my bald head and told me I looked pretty.”

“My head was sore [during treatment] so I wore scarves. Wigs are expensive. I started making my own wigs.” When Crystal was laid off from her job after her diagnosis; wig making was a great distraction from all that was going on in her life.

The end of Crystal’s treatment came in July 2013; and she was declared cancer free in December 2013. Today, her hair is growing strong, but with a common change many cancer survivors experience. “It’s baby soft. It may revert to my original texture, but it may remain like this. [As it grows] I’m most looking forward to how it will look, and [learning] how to maintain it. I’m excited!”

Throughout her journey Crystal always remembered to smile. View the photo slideshow to see the changes her hair experienced during cancer treatment and how her hair growth has progressed. You can also watch her vlogs on YouTube.