Updated: Feb 21
Seven years ago, my candid memoir made its grand appearance in Amazon’s virtual bookstore.
Sharing my intimate thoughts with whoever wanted to read them was a terrifying thought.
I’d spent hundreds of hours mostly through sleepless nights, gathering data, emails, and dates to compile them into the correct timeline. There was no room for error on my part. Everything had to be one hundred percent correct. One wrong statement could be used to discredit my story. And for someone who is paperwork phobic, it was tough going.
Halfway through writing my manuscript I began to flag. It felt as though I was drowning not only in seven years of paperwork but in self-doubt. Could I really finish this project?
It was around this time my husband confessed he didn’t think I would complete it. It was easy to see what he was doing, but it was the push I needed to reach the finish line.
The following years after the release of Naked in the Wind was a whirlwind of podcast/radio interviews and media articles. The most recent was earlier this year. I was invited to contribute photos to be included in a promotional video for PaxmanScalp-Cooling. I decided to use newly taken ones (fifteen years of growth) including close-ups of the permanent damage made caused by the chemotherapy drug Taxotere or Docetaxel as it’s also known, (a Taxane) to use as they wish.
Before I started my chemo regime, which consisted of 3 x FEC and 3 x Taxotere, I asked my oncologist if I could use the scalp-cooling device, but she dismissed it out of hand, saying it wouldn’t work with Taxotere. How I wish I had stuck to my guns and insisted, as now, fifteen years later it’s the preferred protocol if having Taxotere with many oncologists in France. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I still receive emails from women who have come across my name and want to know why their hair isn’t growing back as it should from their chemotherapy treatment. They want me to give them the answers they are not getting from their oncologists.
I will continue to raise awareness about this still taboo subject, and I want to see scalp-cooling offered to everyone being prescribed chemotherapy. It’s never just hair. It affects the patient and their family’s mental health.
It seems more and more young women are being diagnosed with breast cancer. I read some of their heart-breaking tweets and wonder how they try to juggle coping with their treatment, prognosis and cope with family life. I think these ladies are incredible. They don’t have a choice, I know, but even so.
In an interview given by the late Sarah Harding, from Girls Aloud, she explains why she refused radiotherapy. It was because she couldn’t face losing her trademark blond hair.