We spoke to Rebecca Moore and asked her some questions about what products she finds help her most and any top tips that may be useful to others who are struggling with chronic illnesses.
“From a young age I was always labelled the clumsy one with fractures or unexplainable falls and even my parents were questioned about parenting because people didn’t have answers 35 years ago for chronic illnesses or conditions that still even now have no label. My main conditions are Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, classical and vascular, lupus SLE, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and epilepsy… a number of these have been triggered or exasperated following a car accident 5 years ago.
Before this I maintained my unexplained body difficulties with nutrition and exercise, trying to get over the many specialists and doctors that thought it was “put on, attention seeking or just being lazy, boring and always poorly” … looking back it’s laughable and I know now those unfounded opinions and judgements caused mental health challenges that only add to managing chronic illness. That’s the biggest difficulty. People’s opinions and judgements and expectations or understanding is near impossible. I would never now assume I could understand someone’s health conditions because there are so many varying factors that attribute to that person’s circumstances.
So, I went from a 5’10, active fit and professional young woman with the American bouncy curls and elbow length hair to ending up under a lorry and not only having my hair cut off but it became harder to manage, style and even wash.
It was my son’s idea to use brushes in the shower, he was 8, and now I cannot wash or style my hair myself unless I choose this over another aspect - for example - no make-up or go for comfort easy pull-on clothes!
Jack, now almost 14, and Molly almost 13, both wash and help with my personal care, washing, dressing, and styling. We found the circular handle Denman D6 Be Bop Handy Detangler a life saver for me to brush my hair, something I always loved.
By using the D93M Tangle Tamer Gentle in the shower, it helps massage and clean my hair using my clean vegan products and helps clean the hair without too much dignity being lost (I wear a towel). Then I’m able to be tangle free before drying, using my hairdryer stand and D3 Original Styler 7 Row or D83 Paddle.
One of the best parts of the brushes and the different types is that they help me style hair whilst continuing as much independence as possible! I can brush my hair with the circular handled D6 Be Bop Handy Detangler as it means I don’t have to lift my arms and it’s lightweight.
The D93 Tangle Tamer Gentle helps me lose “bumps” and the D3 Original Styler 7 Row, my fave, just makes me feel feminine because it helps me curl, straighten and massage my scalp. Such simple things, yet so easily lost!!!
Jack and Molly, both being teens and having gone through the transition of a very active involved mum to being in a wheelchair and needing constant care have really taken maturity and love to adapt to. Redefining ourselves as a team has made such a difference. Their friends come round and they comment “you share things all the time” or you will hear one of the children tell their friends “on call” (the new sitting on a wall in a village) that “just checking mum”. Their resilience and kindness has surpassed any expectations I could have ever thought of.
The Denman brushes and other mobility aids, whether they be a Walker, sock puller, button closer, hairdryer stand, shoe horn, shower chair, to even using occupational therapy to identify multiple uses for things to manage day to day have been life changing. Molly adores the D83 Paddle brushes and finishing brushes. Jack loves the round heat brushes to the combs - it’s funny though because one by one they empty out the holder then it’s like a treasure hunt to collect them back!!!!
My Mum always used a Denman brush and still has it some 40+ years on!! My oldest one is over 25+ years and it’s funny, you can try all different styles, trends etc. but you will always come back to resourceful, longevity and caring for the hair! My Mum and Dad are fabulous at caring for me too. Despite being 75 we all pull as a team… although my brush often goes missing to Mum’s!! It will come back - as she provides all our meals - with a “just thought I’d try it” smile!!!
After the accident I wanted to grow my hair, but it doesn’t much due to medication. This week I wanted to chop it off because I’ve been particularly poorly. However, I realised my hair wouldn’t work short because of the curl and kink. And I couldn’t put it away from face and then wear down and shiny when I actually leave the house, which is usually about once or twice a fortnight :) Using aids means these things can still be reality. I can still have hair extension clip ins because the brushes style around them and suit both wet and dry, natural and extensions!
I am forever grateful that these teens not only do not even entertain the thought of diversity or bullying - having now a disabled parent - so that the ONLY appropriate response was how proud they were and how no matter what, we face any challenge and overcome.
Ironically something I absolutely love being able to do is brush or curl and plait my daughter’s hair using options from the Denman range. Molly sits where I can then do her hair, so I can use the brushes to curl, blow dry, blow out, or plait and style hers. It’s become one of those moments we treasure! It takes time but the feeling of normality is so key with chronic illness.
Chronic illness is not feeling pitiful for what we cannot do, it’s about empowering ourselves to adapt with aids and objects to continue with what we CAN DO!
I was so stubborn and reluctant because of feeling disabled with two young primary children who were all of a sudden tasked with helping change their Mum’s incontinent nappies, to learning how to wash hair. Let alone dry it and style!! Now, I would always empower and help anyone with ideas, tips, things I’ve learned from mistakes a many!!! Anything from acceptance and embracing that you’ve survived despite your challenge so that help is just the support to empower you more, to adapting items or using tools such as Denman brushes, providing sturdiness, strength, longevity and style, which make the biggest of differences! Invest in yourself so that you have reliance and security. Work together and unravel the road as you go! Whether that’s learning a new styling position where you rest your arms, make it a parenting bonding moment, or even sit in front of the mirror whilst you help someone to learn how you feel your best self… you define who you are, no condition or illness. You are a warrior, a beauty, and an absolutely incredible human for never giving up.
I’m currently trying to teach Jack how to straighten my hair without losing any!!!! He’s ok at clip in extensions though! 😂
As a family I cannot thank different people and companies enough that have thought outside the box to help overcome everyday struggles. So very grateful to you as Molly, Jack and I watch the videos or Pinterest or hacks and then try it! What’s to lose!!!!
The best advice - is never think you can’t - because you just will. Together we can.
Denman for me in a few words…
History, Longevity / Sturdiness, Quality / Results, Adaptable, Inclusive.
That’s too many but it really does make a difference having a brush that won’t damage your hair! Especially when it’s one of the only identifying parts of me left.”