After finishing her final round of chemotherapy for breast cancer, Toi, 43, feels she has lost her identity. Watch as Dr. Phil helps Toi find herself once again.
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Host: —very special edition of Ask Our Doctors is Dr. Phil. Our first question comes from Toi, she just finished her last round of chemotheraphy. Toi: I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I had a right breast mastectomy and five months of chemo which I just finished. The way that I feel on the inside doesn’t at all match how I look on the outside. I wear a wig, I draw on my eyebrows, my breast prosthesis hangs on the door at the end of the day but I feel like I'm putting on a costume. When I put all these on, I don’t look like a cancer patient but I'm constantly reminded that I am one. Remember I need to go back to my life and I'm not really sure how to get the confidence to go back when I don’t feel like myself at all. Host: Toi is here with us, welcome Toi! Toi: Thank you. Host: And how are you feeling? Toi: I feel great. I feel so much better. Host: Well you want to know and Dr. Phil, help us on this one, how do you move forward? Dr. Phil: You said you don’t feel like yourself right now, what's your biggest obstacle with that? Toi: Being prepared to come to this show, I had to think long and hard about where I was getting stuck. And when I'm at home, I don’t wear any of this stuff and I feel like I look like me even though I don’t in any way look at me. When I put all these on, I feel completely disconnected. I feel like I look like me but I don’t feel like me and it’s almost a distraction. Dr. Phil: When you put on prosthetics and wigs and that sort of thing, you feel disconnected from you? Toi: Correct. Dr. Phil: Then why do you do it? Toi: It’s not that I'm vain but I'm in a very professional environment in my job where this would be a distraction if I didn’t—you know. Dr. Phil: I want to tell you that people will very, very quickly adapt. Very, very quickly, people look right past that. And the fact that you say when you don’t have these things on, you feel like who you are, that is more important to your healing process, to your continuing to progress after this chemo, then letting other people be pleased by your appearance. I can promise you they will get over it in a fast, fast hurry. You just don’t need to apologize for being in the process of healing. You need to do what makes you feel right, what makes you feel good and what enhances your healing process. And if that meant taking that wig off, I’d take it off, I can guarantee you I will. Male: You're stronger than the rest of us, what you went through. Dr. Phil: Psychologically what I always worry about, it’s almost like you're hiding the reality of who you are and where you are as though there is some sense of shame about it. And that is such wrong thinking and if you feel this ingenious with the wig on and dress the way you are, then I guarantee you that is not in your best interest and other people will get over it. Female: Now a lot of women with breast cancer, once they embrace that and empower themselves with how they look and feel in this stage of cancer, like Melissa Etheridge, it is just a freeing and healing experience. I went through the same thing with my mother and she wore prosthetics and wigs to not frighten my little brother. And—but when she stopped that, he saw her and you know, everybody will just start to see you and you can embrace that and use that as empowerment. Thank you. Male: Toi how would you feel taking your wig off right here right now. Toi: To be honest with you I have no problem with it. I've done it, I show my friends, I was in a restaurant bar with my friend’s band and they want to see my head. It’s not and I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not— Male: And look at you smile, you took that hair off and you're smiling bigger than you were a minute ago. Female: You know the coined phrase, free your mind. Dr. Phil: And I have to tell you and I'm not just trying to be supportive here but it is not distracting at all. Do you guys—is this in any way offensive to your sensibilities? Audience: No. Dr. Phil: I mean, would this, in