Follicular Update

I have not ranted about hair for a while, and surprisingly things keep changing so it is time for an update.  This was prompted when I noticed something rather odd a few days ago.

Today marks 20 weeks since I started chemo. It took just over 3 weeks and an intermediate short cut to lose the hair on my scalp.

I was and am still outraged that the hairs on my legs hung on for dear life and still most are obstinately in place. My response has been a refusal to depilate. Although as well as wanting to show them how cross I am, it is actually not wise to depilate as that can give an opening for infection.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that weird things are happening on my head. I have a soft, uneven down covering my scalp. It is around a centimetre in length on average, and mostly a very fair, non colour. Called blonde. It is not grey or white. That is a different colour – totally different. There are also quite a few dark strands scatted around. When I check the breast cancer forums online, I learn that other women have a similar fuzz. I have no idea what impact the taxotere is having on my hair as it is less than 6 weeks since the first taxotere cycle, and whether this growth is the start of hair of an interim duck phase.

The weirdest thing I have to report though is a sudden change in eyebrow behaviour. My eyelashes have been consistently patchy, and the lower ones very sparse, but the eyebrows have stayed in place. I have no idea what their game is at this stage, but I have developed bald patches in my eyebrows. Now what on earth is that about? And I am not talking about nice, even baldness – patchy horrible baldness amidst healthy brows! How gross is that?

And how unfair to wait until 20 weeks to throw this one into the game?

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7 thoughts on “Follicular Update

  1. ha ha honey, I am new to this blogging lark, but love your blog, I had taxetare Jan to May 2008 and my leg hairs clung on until the end, and then grew back really quickly.
    I ended up having my eyebrows tattooed which was the best thing ever.
    Good luck with your journey.
    Gabby xx

    • hi Gabby – great to connect and thanks so much for your comment. It is so useful to hear how others have been affected by the taxotere (and other delights!)
      I have added your blog to my blogroll and will keep checking to see how you are doing. For me the blog really helps me process and deal with this whole thing.
      Good luck and keep in touch.
      Philippa

      • thanks honey, good to connect with you too
        I have been cancer free – and chemo free – for coming up to two years, I got the neuropathy – tingling – in my fingers and toes, and unlucky for me I still have some, not as bad as it was but still there. Good things recomended to me were accupuncture and Amitriptyline which is also an antidepressant – God I needed it at the time
        these things helped but did not cure it, but i believe mostly it just goes away on it’s own
        Good luck with your journey I will be following you too xxx

    • he he – so true! and wait till you hear the latest. they have all but disappeared, leaving just a wee tuft at the centre on each side – should change my name to Tufty!!

  2. I’ve had two taxotere treatments (the latest one was just today). My eyelashes are all but gone, my very think and pronounced eyebrows have thinned out a tonne, but are still very much there.

    I really notice the dust and lashes constantly in my eyes.

    But I’m really enjoying the sleekness of reduced hair in all the other areas of my body.

    I learned this week (via twitter and then the Globe and Mail) that taxotere has left thousands and thousands of women permanently hair free. It really gave me an instant blast of shock and fear, then I realized I would happily take permanent hair loss over the many other side effects of Taxotere, FAC, radiation and Tamoxifen: depression, triple-neg-breast-cancer, uterine cancer, cognitive disfunction, and on and on.

    So, if I had to choose, I would choose permanent hair loss.

    • Hi Andrea and thanks for your comment.
      I really like your blog – I’m adding it to my blog list links. Like you I find out so many scary long term effects, and hope that we are left with the least harmful ones, even if they are tough to live with. I learned today that I should get the most of the feeling back in my fingers six months or so following taxotere. But as long as it is zapping those nasty cells it is a small price to pay.

      I really laughed about the sleekness of other body hair – so true!!
      Good luck and keep in touch.
      Philippa

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