I was absolutely devastated when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and as your leaflet says, just as devastated at the thought of losing my hair. I was 57 with 16-inch-long blond hair. I was told they were going to have to give me chemotherapy first, which was a shock, and that I would lose my hair. (I now realise it was to shrink the tumour first before operating but I was not told this at the time).
I broke down with shock and had to be put in a quiet room to recover. A week later I had an appointment with Dr Sharon Armstrong, Oncology Doctor at Perth Royal Infirmary. When she saw how distressed I was she examined me and re-referred my case with the proposal to operate first, obviously cutting out more as a safety margin and doing the same on the other breast for symmetry. My breast were large to start with, so this could be done. This meant I could have a different type of chemotherapy and use the cool cap -hopefully keeping my hair. I cannot tell you how relieved I was and what a difference it made to me being able to cope. I feel the cool cap was not pushed enough and was not mentioned to me as an option at the beginning.
I had my operation in March 2017, was allergic to sticky tape and also got an infection but got through it. I was advised to have my hair cut to help with the cap, so I had it bobbed. I started chemotherapy 6 weeks later.
The Paxman leaflet given to me explained all about the cool cap and how it worked. The cool cap was fitted with great care by nurse, Lynn. I took some crafting in with me to occupy me and take my mind off everything. I surprised myself and the nurses with how well I coped with each treatment, even speaking to other patients and supporting them. I had no problems with the cold cap.
Two weeks after my first treatment I still had all of my hair. I followed instructions to the letter – used simple shampoo and conditioner, a wide tooth comb, no hair dryer and only washed every 5 days in tepid water. I only lost about 3 hairs every morning on my pillow and half a dozen after washing. This absolutely made all the difference to me coping with my treatment. I obviously had side effects from the drugs, but I was still prepared to deal with everything so long as I kept my hair. I attended my treatments with a smile and took in handmade cards and cakes for the nurses.
I then had radiotherapy and have been put on Letrozal tablets for 5 years. I am still easily tired and ache with the Letrozal, but I’m dealing with it. My hair has grown, and I am still careful with it. After all the effort everyone put in to help me keep my hair, I felt the least I could do was to do everything as I was advised.Words cannot express the relief of keeping my hair and how much it helped me to cope. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Once again, a huge big thank you to all involved in inventing this amazing machine which so greatly helped me.