As I near the finish flag in the Triathlon of heavy duty treatments I yearn more and more to get back to something like the way I used to be. I know that it will take time to feel better, to get my own legs back and be able to do many of the things I used to be able to do.
The side effects of chemo have been a real mixed bag of delights. It is no secret that I struggled particularly with the loss of my hair as I have ranted about it on various occasions. I am sure it is no surprise then that one of the biggest things I look forward to is not seeing Dr Evil in the mirror any more!!
I remember so clearly, that day in November just after chemo 2 when I became bald. I remember sitting in the chair at the hairdresser as the last of my hair fell to the floor under the clippers and being unable to stop the tears. The shiny white scalp was such statement that I really, really was a cancer patient.
I have never been able to get used to being bald and I have really focused on the fact that hair loss from chemo is a temporary thing. In fact, the one thing I really need to hang onto at the moment is the belief that my hair is coming back, and coming soon. After all it is over a month since my last infusion of Taxotere. The fine covering of duck down must evolve soon into proper hair, mustn’t it?
So when I read this recent article suggesting that permanent hair loss after Taxotere is more common than we often expect, it was not a welcome piece of information. According to the research, the numbers are people who experience permanent alopecia are not huge, but large enough to be significant – estimated at around 1 in 16.
One interesting discussion is that some people feel that they would have chosen not to have had Taxotere if they had been aware of this increased probability of permanent hair loss.
That really made me stop and think. I cannot imagine that I would have even considered not having Taxotere, no matter how difficult I found the side effects, even if I had been aware that the hair loss could be long term. Survival and recovery and the topmost priorities for me, given my diagnosis and pathology.
Oddly, the thing on my mind is more about how I felt that day in November particularly, and how I feel every time I look in the mirror at Dr Evil. It was hard enough knowing my hair and I were parting company (no pun intended). I do not know how I would have felt, and how I would have coped, if it had even occurred to me that this loss could be permanent.
I will be looking even more closely at the duck down from now on and let’s hope it does decide to thicken, grow and darken.