I had a couple of really, REALLY rough days leading up to the decision to not use the caps for chemo infusion #3. Of course, successful cap users and the Penguin rep urged me to keep using them. The idea is no matter how much hair you lose, you are still able to protect your hair follicles and it will grow back faster. That sounds great, but for my peace of mind, I chose to forego using the caps any more. I wasn't just "shedding" hair, I was losing hair by the fistful. Going through a tremendous amount of time, effort and money to keep using the caps while still looking like a pathetic cancer patient isn't something I could make myself do. This wasn't a decision I made lightly. I SO wanted the caps to work. Even if I had ended up losing 50% of my hair by the end, I would have been happy and considered it a success. Sadly I lost more than that before I even had treatment #3. End of the line for my relationship with Penguin Cold Caps.
However traumatic you think losing your hair might be, it's a hundred times worse, I promise you. Since I still have quite a bit of hair despite all that came out, I chose not to shave it entirely off. Who wants to sleep on a head full of stubble? Once I made up my mind to throw in the towel (or the cold cap...ha), I sat down & gave the kids the go-ahead to snip away with scissors. So now I am sporting a super short, super thin man-style haircut that shows off all of my gray. Lovely. What makes this even worse is now I look sick. Before, I could put on a happy face and pretend, even when I felt awful. Now my kids look at me and see their mom almost bald and it's a harsh reminder that I have cancer. It has affected them both and brought some emotions to the surface, and that just makes me MAD. At cancer.
Thankfully I was prepared in case the caps didn't work, and I have a small assortment of hats and tie-on scarf type head coverings. I even bought a wig online and lucked out that it's very close to my normal crazy hair, only without the highlights. Here's a pic of me with my pretend hair:
Not bad, right? Do I love it? No. It's itchy. It gives me a headache. It's darker than my normal hair. However, it is close enough that I don't feel like a complete imposter in public. All I have left to say about it is STUPID DUMB BREAST CANCER!