Cancer type: Ovarian
Drug type: Carboplatin and Taxol
Hair type: Long
"The first question I asked was am I going to lose my hair to which the Dr replied yes but it will grow back and it's only for 4 months! I was truly devastated."
I am a 48 year old woman from Warrington in Cheshire with a daughter aged 27 and 2 sons aged 20 and 13.Back in October 2017 I was found to have a suspicious pelvic mass.
I needed a total abdominal hysterectomy. I had my surgery in November and early January after the histology came back I was told I had stage 2 ovarian cancer, fortunately all the cancer was contained to the ovaries but I needed six rounds of carbo/taxol chemotherapy as a precaution, first question I asked was am I going to lose my hair to which the Dr replied yes but it will grow back and it’s only for 4 months! I was truly devastated.
I had researched about the coldcap as I was told that I was likely facing a cancer diagnosis from the start and I knew I was going to go for the cap no matter how much I would be tried to be put off using it! I told my onchologist straight away I wanted the cold cap and she was behind me a 100% and told me to give it a go, there was no way I was going to lose my long hair without a fight! I was to have my treatment at the lilac centre in St Helens and fortunately, they have 4 machines there…I had a lovely healthcare assistant named Janice who looked after me with the coldcap right from the start.
I was now really clued up about the coldcap and done my research, even printed information off to take with me to the unit so I could educate the staff too! Whilst on a web site called Go Girls which is for ladies with gynaecological cancers I came across a few ladies using the coldcap, one lady even sent me some hair products by Daniel Field who is a hairdresser who deals with chemotherapy hair during and after treatment…one of the products I used was the 2 part scalp cooling system which was amazing and I spoke to the people at Daniel field throughout my treatment and used his shampoos and conditioner also as well as an active regrowth spray I used daily, his products are amazing and well worth the small fortune I spent on them!
I honestly found the coldcap really bearable…my advice is do very little with your hair, comb twice a day with a widetooth comb, tie long hair back with a soft scrunchie at night and invest in a silk pillowcase to sleep on…before the cap went on I used the Daniel field scalp cooling products…I actually taught Janice a lot she was so eager to learn and help put the products on as she had never heard of them before..normally a coin amount of normal conditioner is used and I know ladies that this as worked really well for also.
I took 2 paracetamol about half an hour before the cap went on and wore a stretchy headband just to cover my hairline and top of my ears…the first 5 minutes of the cap being on I can only describe it as like a slightly tight, cold feeling to my scalp a tad uncomfortable but nothing I couldn’t handle, that cap was staying on no matter what! I just got in the zone and focused and after that initial 5 minutes I was back to my normal if somewhat annoying chatty self! I was always asking the nurses if the machine was still working and switched on as it really didn’t bother me! I kept the products on my hair for 48 hours after each session then washed my hair using a jug over the bath as showers are too powerful on the hair,I was taking no chances!
I only washed my hair once a week and just left it to dry naturally…it was always traumatic that weekly hair wash as I was always expecting it to fall out but thankfully it never did! All I lost was strands never clumps…I had bought an amazing human hair wig similar to my own hair but can honestly say I wore it about 3 times when I had gone away for the weekend and that was only because the dreaded grey roots had started to show! When I was out walking the dog I just use to wear a bobble hat or baseball cap just to disguise those roots! At the end of my chemo on the 8th May I still had all of my hair! The only place I had lost a tiny bit was around my left temple which nobody can see as the rest of my hair covers it.
I can honestly say my experience with the cap as been amazing…I have helped, advised and sometimes pushed other ladies into using it too!! I feel so passionate about getting awareness out there about scalp cooling as I am proof that it can work! I was able to still look like me all the way through this horrendous journey and I could keep my Illness private,I didn’t want to be seen as a cancer victim especially in front of my children.
"I am going to be volunteering soon on the chemo unit where I can hopefully continue to promote the coldcap and help and advise people who unfortunately find themselves with a cancer diagnosis. I cannot thank Paxman enough for making this horrendous experience much more bearable"