Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Hair regrowth, Health, Taxotere, Women's Health

Is the Chemo Working?

Many of you have asked me whether my chemotherapy is working, which is a very good question.

Sometimes chemo is given to people before they have surgery, to reduce the size of the tumour and operate once it has shrunk. The doctors do scans routinely to see whether or not the tumour is shrinking, so it’s possible to see whether the chemo is doing its job.

In my case, my tumour was relatively small and my surgeon hero successfully removed the whole nasty thing in June. He also took some of the surrounding tissue and tested it for cancer cells, and this came back beautifully clear (which is why I declared myself footloose and cancer-free in early July). It was the best possible outcome and I got it.

My chemotherapy and radiotherapy, therefore, are entirely preventative. I am technically as cancer-free as the rest of you, but because I am young, I need to be blasted to bits with the strongest drugs and radiation just to make sure that if there is even one minuscule, evil little ‘C’ cell still hanging out somewhere inside me, it gets absolutely obliterated and never, ever, EVER has the chance to grow and multiply and make friends with other little nasty ‘C’s to form a tumour again.

Because my chemo and radiotherapy are only preventative, there is no need to do any tests or scans to see if it’s ‘working,’ according to my oncologist. Giving me scans to check for anything at the moment would expose me unnecessarily to further radiation, so there will be no scans for the foreseeable (although I may have to have one before radiotherapy, to decide where the radiation will be given).

So, the answer to the title question is “we hope so!”  It’s basically a case of trusting the statistics and assuming that subjecting my body to all this short-term poison is doing me some long-term good… Here’s hoping!

In other news, I still have a very croaky, husky voice and a horrible cough and cold (along with half the nation) and am on the antibiotics and going for another blood test tomorrow (when will the needles stop?!) But the good news is my hair still seems to be growing nicely in random patches and there has even been a vague glimpse of some sideburns. I never thought I’d be so happy to see those big, dark sideburns again!

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9 thoughts on “Is the Chemo Working?

  1. Bryan Foat says:

    Glad to hear you are doing well and getting better all the time. It’s also good to see that your chemo hasn’t altered those big, beautiful, colorful eyes (the surrounding lashes, brows, etc will return more-or-less to their “before” state with time… although, to be honest, mine never quite made a full recovery. Others dont notice, but I know…).

  2. Why are the occasional hairs 2″ long? I can’t remember them being there a couple of months ago. Has the chemo made individual hairs grow at an accelerated rate?!

    I’m almost tempted to give myself a ‘no 1’ so that it’s all even! My sideburns and a Mohican ridge on top are growing faster than the rest.

    • Are yours all uneven too then? It’s strange isn’t it? There’s a little round patch on the back of my head that’s growing way faster, but the front of my hairline doesn’t seem to be growing much so I hope I’m not going to have a terrible receding hairline! I would definitely give myself a number 1 to even it out so that it can all grow at the same pace, there’s no harm in that!

  3. Adriana Tomalino says:

    Mis cejas se recuperaron totalmente y mi look es el de “española” como antes (aunque mi sangre tenga 50% de española y 50% de italiana). Recuerdo una anècdota de cuando estaba recuperàndome de todo esto y el pelo volvìa a crecer, ya cubrìa toda la cabeza pero no estaba parejo…igual yo lo “organizaba” con gel lo mejor que podìa.Iba por la calle caminando y desde un auto un hombre me dijo un piropo…..no lo podìa creer!! Le escribo un sms a 2 amigas contando asombrada y diciendo ….”si supiera que soy un pato desplumado” y las respuestas de ellas fueron taaaaan graciosas que no podìa caminar de la risa. Ni idea tuvo ese hombre de lo que generò en mi y de lo bien que mi hizo.

    A vos se te ve muy bien y la verdad es que con lo linda que sos y los ojazos que tenès, todos los looks te quedan de maravillas.
    Besotes, Adriana.

  4. Liz Walker says:

    Woow no dairy would really be a problem for me as most things that I eat contain dairy, it would be interesting to know what alternate foods you will eat instead and how tasty they are, may give it a try ( after pregnancy ) xx

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