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Karin.

Location: USA
Cancer type: Stage 1A Breast Cancer ER+ PR+
Drug type: Taxotere and Cyclophosphamide
Hair type: Medium Length, Thin, Straight/Wavy

"I came to love the 'roots' and 'greys' as they came in because I was thrilled that my hair was growing. I had my first color/highlight 11 weeks PFC. My stylist was very impressed with my hair retention, regrowth, and overall health."

I live in Madison, Wisconsin USA. I am the editorial director for a publishing company. I have been working remotely since the pandemic began. I took a leave of absence during chemotherapy but did work for a few days during each cycle and then returned to work shortly after my last treatment.

I learned about the Paxman system during one of my first visits with my care team after my diagnosis. I was very overwhelmed; I have no family history of cancer and no personal experience with it. I was glad to learn about the Paxman system and afterwards several friends confirmed that they knew of it through other friends who had seen success with it.

The ordering process was very easy. I appreciated that they contacted me after my appointment, and everything arrived right on time.

The tutorial videos were very helpful as I prepared before my first chemotherapy appointment. I thought I had done a good job fitting the cap, but the nurse had me try again. I appreciated her advice and the fact that she didn’t rush me. She wanted me to get it right! She encouraged me to get my hair much wetter on top, and to push the cap forward to cover as much of the hairline around my face as possible. At first, it was very cold, but I got used to it quickly! The chin strap was painful, though.  I felt much more prepared the second time. I had consulted the support group on Facebook and read about using exercise bands as a backup to the chin strap. That was great advice, but for my third and fourth times, I used a yoga strap which I felt was the most comfortable and effective.

After my first chemo, the clinical care team and nurses really stayed out of the cold cap process. I had a helper each time, and we watched the videos to know what to do. I used a yoga strap looped over the cap and under my legs to keep everything in place. I found that a folded sanitary pad really helped ease the pressure on my forehead. The discomfort was minor and I was invested in keeping my hair, so I didn’t mind the process at all. I even came to enjoy the longer time at the hospital, because each time I brought a different friend with me and we appreciated the time to talk and catch up. We all mentioned that it was a silver lining—to have time together despite the reason.

First Chemotherapy

After last round of chemo

Gray means growth!

First cut and color!

I think I kept about 75% of my hair. I had an immediate shed on day 14 after the first chemo where I lost all the hair in places the cap didn’t reach (above my ears and along the nape of my neck). I worried that it would repeat on day 14 after the other chemo treatments, but it didn’t. I did continue to shed daily until about 9 weeks PFC, but it was a small amount in comparison to the first shed. I developed a thin spot at the crown of my head over time.

I followed the recommendation to use the Paxman products. I washed my hair once every 6 days, which was close to “weekly” but allowed the wash day to rotate to different days of the week. I used a satin pillowcase. I brushed my hair once in the morning and once at night (I was worried about matting and even though it was hard to see the hair in the brush I felt like I was taking care of my hair health by brushing out the fallen hair). I airdried my hair and did not use any flatiron or other styling tools. As soon as chemo was over, I switched to an all-natural moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to relieve the dryness caused by the chemo drugs. I came to love the “roots” and “greys” as they came in because I was thrilled that my hair was growing. I had my first color/highlight 11 weeks PFC. My stylist was very impressed with my hair retention, regrowth, and overall health.

I am very happy with the Paxman. It allowed me to control my story and share it on my terms. No one knew I had cancer just from looking at me. It is overwhelming to receive a cancer diagnosis and to begin the process of making decisions about the treatment, and then to go through the treatment. Knowing that I had a good chance of keeping my hair was big relief to me and allowed me to focus on the rest of the process.

 

"My thank you goes to my chemo support friends, Meredith, Kelly, Helly, and Patty, who made sure my cold cap was tight, my blankets were snug, and helped the time fly by!"

 
 

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