Cancer was my greatest fear but second to cancer was undergoing chemotherapy! Chemo wrecked my dad and sister. The chemo made them sick and weak. They were nauseous, exhausted and depleted. They couldn’t keep food down and even when they could their taste buds had changed so it was hard to eat as healthy as they wanted. Their bodies ached making it hard to exercise and do their day to day life. Their neuropathy became so bad that walking and washing the dishes or their hands hurt. To lose the ability to walk, eat healthy foods, cook healthy foods, wash your hands, take baths…neuropathy can make all of these things dreadful. I can’t tell if the chemotherapy or their cancer killed them. I know it was the cancer but the chemotherapy weakened their bodies.
I promised myself I would never do chemotherapy….then I was told I have cancer. The doctors told me I too had breast cancer, the same disease that just three years prior my sister lost her battle to. During Jill’s battle with breast cancer she went through more bull shit than anyone could of imagined. My sister lost her hair twice from chemotherapy….not just once but twice. I aggressively got the quickest surgery date with the tenacity that if they couldn’t remove my breasts ridden with cancer by the end of next week I would go to the city that could. I digested the fact that my breasts had to go. Breasts that I had always thought were the perfect handfuls. Breasts that I never would of gone through surgery to increase their size…now these breasts had the same cancer that killed my sister and I wanted them gone yesterday.
You can take my breasts…but not my hair. Losing my hair legitimately kept me up at night. Imaging myself bald made me feel sick and I couldn’t think of anything that would make me FEEL sicker going through chemotherapy than my bald head. My sisters best friends promised me a wig of my own hair to lighten the blow but the necessity to regrow my hair and have short hair cuts that I never wanted made me sad. I already had to lose my perfect handfuls, the ability to breast feed my babies and most likely the ability to have a “normal” pregnancy….my hair too? It all just felt too much. Not fair.
But…I knew I was blessed. I caught my cancer early. The loss of my sister to breast cancer was the reason I will get to live. I was in a program to detect it early and I caught it at Stage 1 in the right breast and Stage 0 in the left breast. Six months prior to my diagnosis, the cancer was not visible to the doctors’ eyes proving its aggressive nature. I have a powerful guardian angel that knows all too well the ins and outs of breast cancer and won’t allow me to have the same fate. A friend/coworker of mine sent me a news article about cold caps . My tenacity post surgery was to figure out how to keep my hair and make sure that no one else has to lose their hair on top of everything else breast cancer takes from women. Many of the staff at my treatment center were negative to the results of cold caps and thought I was torturing myself and would not be successful. I was determined to prove them wrong. I have received eight treatments of Taxol and have lost NO hair.