Location: Colorado, USA
Cancer type: Breast
Drug type: Unknown
Hair type: Mid Length
"I just wanted something to be as normal as possible. I didn’t want to wait for years for my hair to grow back out. I didn’t want to catch a glimpse of my baldness in a mirror or window reflection."
After waiting on pins and needles for several days, the biopsy results did not return in my favor. I was simply stunned at what Dr. Ann was telling me. In a nutshell, that is how my journey started. I realize my journey is different than the other people’s.
Standing in my dining room the first Friday of November, I had no idea what my next step would or should be. Thankfully, Dr. Ann had already gathered information on the surgeon and the oncologist that I would soon trust with my life. On my birthday in December, I had my surgery. The next step in my treatment plan was radiation followed by 12 weekly cycles of chemo. Currently I have an infusion once every three weeks through January and I take a chemo pill daily.
During my initial visit with Dr. Lori, she mentioned the Paxman cold cap treatment. My husband and I were intrigued but we had other things to focus on first. However, if there was a way for me to be in control of something during treatment, I wanted to check it out. Dr. Lori said that she recommends it to most of her patients.
In my opinion, one of the most challenging things for women when faced with chemo is the high possibility of hair loss. I’ve seen it impact one of my closest girlfriends. Let’s be honest, it is gut wrenching. “Get a wig!” “Wear some cute scarfs and hats!” All well-meaning sentiments, for sure. But why wear a wig when I could keep my own hair?
For me, I wanted to be in public and not have strangers suspect I was in the middle of a health battle. Not that I was ashamed of what I was going through. Was it vanity that made me want to keep my hair? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Studies repeatedly show the negative emotional impact chemo induced hair loss has on all patients, not just women.
I just wanted something to be as normal as possible. I didn’t want to wait for years for my hair to grow back out. I didn’t want to catch a glimpse of my baldness in a mirror or window reflection. I didn’t want to look at pictures years down the road and be reminded. I wanted to go about my day and not have people wonder how they should interact with me. Making the choice to keep as much hair as possible shouldn’t be treated like it is a privilege or a luxury.
Taking a couple of Tylenol right before I got started helped with the headache. It is like an ice cream headache without the ice cream!
"Wrapping up in blankets and drinking hot coffee also helped deal with the cold. After the first 20 minutes or so, things got much more comfortable, or maybe ‘tolerable’ is the right word."