While cancer survival rates are up, many patients are worrying about returning to normal after treatment.
Doctor Dan McGrath recently helped cancer patients Derek Nicol and Christy Butterfield. They both received hair transplants thanks to a program called Operation Restore.
"I don't feel like a cancer patient," Butterfield said. "I don't look sickly and people aren't like how are you."
However, getting the hair back was not easy.
"In Christy's case we had to remove a fairly large strip so we could harvest the amount of hair because her size because hers is a large case," McGrath said. "She took well over 3000 graphs to reconstruct that hairline in the right front panel."
The procedure is so precise jewelers forceps are used to place each and every hair one by one in the exact angle and direction the doctor wants.
"They are under such tremendous duress to begin with and you are right it is financially strapping for any patient to go through that so to have an opportunity when you have patients come in you know you can help them," McGrath said.
It has been a whirlwind for Butterfield since her diagnosis of brain cancer.
"They were like oh we have to take this out immediately," Butterfield said.
The cancer was located in her right frontal lobe. Her doctor warned her it would be hard to hide.
"They said they weren't sure if the chemo would make my hair fall out but radiation really made my hair fall out," Butterfield said.
Some of that hair never grew back. Every day she looked in the mirror she struggled with what she saw.
"The time when I really felt like a cancer patient was when all my hair was gone and it was a daily reminder like that's what I look like don't look in the mirror," Butterfield said.
She had a few hats, scarves, and wigs. However, that was not how she wanted to live her life forever.
"I would have so many wonderful friends being supportive, saying go girl, you love wigs," Butterfield recalled. "I would be like at a party it's fun but in the middle of the summer for eight hours a day ahh ha."
Nicol also struggled after his cancer diagnosis. He survived the impossible but said his post cancer look killed his confidence.
"About two to three weeks into treatment when I would take a shower and it would come out in clumps," Nicol said of when the disease started to affect his confidence.
"I waited until the last moment when it started to show that I had bald patches and that's when I took the plunge and shaved everything."
After six weeks of radiation and chemo he did go into remission. The cancer was gone but so was his hair.
"Almost none of it grew back," Nicol said. "At that point I didn't care about the pain or what I would be going through just wanted to get it done and look normal"
Dr. McGrath is one of the few doctors around the country who participates in Operation Restore. The procedure is done in just one day.