One of the realities of having a really bad cancer is that you are almost certainly going to lose your hair in an attempt not to lose your life. That seemed like an acceptable cost, and when I learned that 90% of women who get my chemotherapy regimen lose their hair in the first cycle of chemotherapy, I got ready. I went on line and ordered some scarves that I could see myself wearing. I looked up a wig shop in town and went in and picked out the one I could live with and ordered it. Then I went to get my hair cut to look like the wig so that I could get used to it. And I didn't consider doing any sort of hair sparing therapy.
Then I went through my first round of chemotherapy.
I lost about half my hair, and I got to thinking about it. I have never done anything to my hair. I barely brush it. How was I going to pull off a wig, no matter how much people told me they loved theirs, when I had never given my hair a second thought? And while I was pretty sure that I could rock the scarf look at home and socially, but at work I would almost certainly need a wig. Could I really pull that off? Would I be more comfortable with just my thin hair? So I borrowed a cold cap system to keep your hair. You have these caps on dry ice (meaning unbelievably cold) and you switch them out every 30-60 minutes while you are getting chemotherapy so that your hair follicles freeze and don't get exposed to the chemotherapy. It seems to work and is done often in Europe. I was at a disadvantage, in that my chemotherapy was infused over 24 hours, which is an awfully long time, but that ultimately didn't matter because I could not tolerate the cold for an hour. It was excruciatingly painful, and while I was trying to contemplate another day of this pain, then repeating it again, I completely got my head wrapped around what I would have to do about hair loss, because I could not manage what it would take to keep it!