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Nov 24, 2012 11:34PM
Nov 24, 2012 11:41PM
Loafer and Tlym- You may be fine. You both are at the exact time people start to shed - between the 18th and 24th day according to my breast center, which warned me to expect shedding. Though until it started, I really did not understand what "sheding" meant.
Mine started about the 21st day, slowly for a few days, then it seemed to always be falling out which was disconcerting. Hair was everywhere around my house, just like you describe. It was all over my clothes, my bureau, floor, furniture and fell into my food. I would scoop up a handful after each shampoo (using DermOrganic also) which I put in baggies. It certainly seemed excessive at the time, but I think it was simply the oldest, weakest hairs falling out after the chemo hit them, which I had been told would happen.
The heaviest shedding let up somewhat after the third treatment and, while it did not stop, it did slow down and I tried to relax enough to accept it. I shed more heavily again three weeks after my chemo ended for a few weeks before it slowed down again. Hair kept falling out until 16 weeks post final chemo when it stopped.
At times I wondered if I would go bald, but I didn't. My hair has thinned out, but did so uniformly all over my head so that I do not have any bald spots. It does not look the way it did before chemo - thick and healthy, but I do have full coverage which for me is much better than being bald. I have shortened it a bit, half an inch at a time, because it was looking straggly plus it had continued to grow throughout my chemo treatments and needed a trim.
I have lots of new hair growing from the follicles that shed. If I lift a section I can see it is far thicker at the base from the scalp up an inch or so because of all those new hairs. My growth is very apparent because it is my natural color, not my chemically lightened color. The old hair strands have natural colored roots that are a full four inches long now, meaning that they had kept growing vigorously through chemo because of the protection given by cold caps.
Had I not used cold caps I would have lost every hair on my head by the 21st day and been bald. Now, at four months post chemo, I would be anxiously waiting for my hair to regrow enough to cover the baldness. As it is, I do have hair covering my head. It is not gorgeous - in part because I can not color my roots, but it is there still and I am so happy to have it. I can see new hairs coming in to thicken what I have, and in another two months I will be able to color my roots to get back to the overall blonde color I am accustomed to seeing.
I would rather have some bad hair days to complain to myself about than go bald. Or much worse, discover that I was one of the unlucky percentage that never regrow their hair. I know someone who can only grow a few wisps of hair because chemo damaged her follicles so badly.
Stick with the cold caps, try not to panic about shedding and trust that, as long as you follow the cold cap protocol exactly, you will keep your hair enough to have full coverage. You have 100,000 hairs on your head normally, you can lose a lot and still have enough hair to look presentable.
Cold Cap user - kept my hair
1/24/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
2/28/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
5/7/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
10/15/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)