Location: New Jersey, USA
Cancer type: Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer
Drug type: Taxol
Hair type: Fine, Curly
"I took Paxman's advice and focused on the hair I had, not the hair I lost. I also had regrowth so quickly!! It was amazing."
I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive ductal carcinoma in January 2020. It was a total surprise, as they found it on my “I just turned 40” routine mammogram. Estrogen and Progesterone positive and HER2 positive (triple positive). I was given 175mg/m2 of taxol every 3 weeks. It was supposed to be weekly taxol but because of the pandemic, they did dose dense. So instead of weekly, I did 4 rounds.
I have fine hair, but a lot of it apparently. I cut it when I was first diagnosed. I donate my hair every few years, so I figured it was a good time to donate a 10 inch braid to Children With Hair Loss. I cut it into a bob. My hair has never been chemically treated. It’s wavy/curly. I estimate that I saved about 1/3 of my hair. I had a bald spot on my crown and lost evenly everywhere else. I am 40 years old and I was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
I live in New Jersey and I am a middle school guidance counselor in NYC. My chemo treatment started on May 22, 2020. I was informed about the Paxman scalp cooling several times at Sloan. My breast oncologist suggested it. Then the nurse at my medical onologist’s office told me about it in detail when we discussed chemo for the first time.
It was very easy to order the cap. My oncologist’s office put the order in and Paxman called me to get the details. It was very clear and easy. I practiced putting the cap on and watched the videos. Since the pandemic restricted visitors, I had to do chemo by myself. I found it very easy to get the cap on and get it situated. The videos were helpful. And practicing putting it on allowed me to have confidence going into it.
The first time I didn’t find it uncomfortable. It was cold, but not painful at all. It wasn’t until I lost hair on my crown that I felt some pain in the first few minutes. But that passed rather quickly. I learned quickly that I needed to bring a blanket, shall, and scarf. I would shiver sometimes. I also had ice on my hands and feet, so I was chilly during the infusion. I had to do the half hour of pre cool, then I had 3 hours of taxol, then either 30 min or an hour of herceptin…which I used for the part of the post cool time. I did 90 minutes of post cooling time.
I began losing my hair 14 days after my first treatment. Over the next two weeks after I began shedding, I developed a bald spot on my crown. But I had enough hair around it to get by with wearing a wide headband or a bandana. I felt very blessed to be able to retain enough hair to feel “normal”. The thought of losing my hair was very anxiety provoking for me and I felt stressed when I started losing a lot. But I slowly adjusted to having less hair.
I took Paxman’s advice and focused on the hair I had, not the hair I lost. I also had regrowth so quickly!! It was amazing.
I wasn’t aware of any negative reports at the time, so I took it throughout my chemo treatments. I don’t know if it helped or hindered, but I took 5000mg daily. I also added rosemary essential oil to my Paxman shampoo and conditioner when I would wash or condition (twice a week, usually). Rosemary supposedly helps stimulate the hair follicles. I am not sure if these things helped with regrowth. But I actually think it’s remarkable how fast my bald spot filled in.
"I would definitely recommend the scalp cooling system to other people going through chemo. I will be forever grateful for this. It made a huge difference for me."