Location: Kent, UK
Cancer type: Triple Negative Breast Cancer Grade 3 Stage 1 Invasive Adenocarcinoma
Drug type: EC – Epirubicin & Cyclophosphamide, Carboplatin, Paclitaxel
Hair type: Straight, Long, Thick, Dyed
"I was grateful for the hair that I did keep and what was amazing was the speed at which it returned whilst still going through Carb & Pax. So I know without scalp cooling I wouldn’t be in the position I am now with my hair. "
My name is Gail, I live in Kent, UK. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in August 2021.
I already knew that scalp cooling existed, but a mutual friend referred me direct to Claire Paxman for support and advice. It honestly wasn’t half as bad as I was expecting. I found the first 10-15 mins a bit hard work, but after that I found it really quite tolerable.
I found wrapping myself in a cosy fleece blanket helped me to keep warm and when I introduced cold mitts and boots to help prevent Peripheral Neuropathy I used an electric heat pad to keep my core body temperature up. The heat pad made the whole process so much more tolerable. I also took Paracetamol 30 mins before the cap went on. I used a sanitary towel stuck to my forehead to protect my forehead from the cold. This worked much better than a headband as the headbands just slipped down.
16 Weeks PFC
On the whole, my hair thinned evenly all over. However, I did have a very thin patch on the top of my head and a very thin patch at the back of my head. Once I swapped from EC to Carb & Pax the thinning filled in and new hair began to grow back very quickly whilst still being treated with Carb & Pax. That said, my old longer hair also continued to fall out. So I was experiencing shedding and re-growth at the same time. At the end of chemo I had new short wavy hair growing in underneath a thin veil of longer old hair on top. So I ultimately lost most of my hair, but the impact was reduced due to re-growth at the same time.
I didn’t feel the need to wear a wig, but I did wear a hat as my hair thinned and became very frizzy and messy.
As I neared the end of treatment my hair was in very poor condition. I almost gave in and shaved it off, but then I used Olaplex hair treatments and shampoo and conditioner and these really helped to repair the damage and make my hair softer and more manageable.
Initially, I had hoped to have kept more hair than I did. Other women in the support group on the same chemo regime as me seemed to have greater success. However, other women still lost most or all of their hair, so in the end, I was grateful for the hair that I did keep and what was amazing was the speed at which it returned whilst still going through Carb & Pax. So I know without scalp cooling I wouldn’t be in the position I am now with my hair.
"I would like to thank my husband for being my rock throughout my treatment. Not only did he take me back and forth to the hospital for appointments, test, scans, surgeries and treatments, but he also had to be strong whilst caring for our 23 year old daughter with severe disabilities by himself when I was too ill to help. He also still had to juggle this with working full time, as well as keeping the house running. I still don’t know how he managed to do it all, whilst worrying about and caring for me when I was ill at the same time. He is amazing and I don’t know what I would have done without him."