A cancer survivor who lost all her hair to chemo kept a year-long photo diary showing her changing appearance as she went through recovery.
Mum-of-two Eileen Posner, 41, had long, flowing locks before she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer but went bald as a result of life-saving treatment.
In total, she had six doses of chemo as well as undergoing radiation therapy and a double mastectomy to remove a mass on her left breast.
Chemotherapy kills cancer cells but also affects hair root cells which resulted in Eileen’s head hair, eyelashes and eyebrows falling out.
Eileen, who works in finance, said it was “more traumatic than losing my breasts” and that strangers gave her looks of pity whenever she went out in public.
Six weeks after undergoing her final chemo session last April, the first tufts of hair began to reappear on Eileen’s head.
She decided to document the progress and while the growth was slow at first, pictures show her brunette mop becoming fuller as each week goes by.
Last month, Eileen snapped her final photo, which shows her with a full head of hair – which is, bizarrely, a few shades darker than it used to be.
The brave mom put the 52 images together in a video montage to show her journey, which she hopes will help others who are also battling the disease.
Eileen, who lives with husband Matthew in Downingtown, Philadelphia, USA, said: “Losing my hair to chemo was way more traumatic than losing my breasts to cancer.
“My breasts were there to feed my babies – they were like elbows. I didn’t pay attention to them.
“My hair was my femininity and I was able to hide behind it because it was long. It was like a protection for me.
“I was hoping I would be the one and only person that didn’t lose their hair and it didn’t fall out until after my second dose, but then it fell out in clumps.
“I remember getting in the shower and running my hand over my hair and almost all of the left side of my head came off in my hand.
“It was very traumatizing. It was hard to look at myself without it and not recognize who I was.
“When you don’t have hair, everyone knows what you are going through. I got these looks of pity – no one knows how to speak to you anymore.
“That was the hardest part – to be reduced to my diagnosis.
“I took my first picture one week post chemo because it was very important for me to document that year and prove to myself that I was getting better; looking better.
“After about 30 pictures I looked at the pictures and thought, ‘Wow, I’m not that person any more.’
“It look me a long time but I’m very definitely feeling a lot more confident now.”
Eileen was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016 after her son, Declan, then three, rolled onto her breast and she suffered a sharp pain.
A mammogram revealed that the then-39-year-old, who has no history of breast cancer in the family, had a 2cm mass on her left breast.
Eileen, who also has a, daughter, six-year-old Kathleen, with finance sales manager Matthew, underwent a double mastectomy on December 5.
She then had six doses of chemotherapy between January and April 2017 as well as 28 doses of radiation therapy.
The mum, who said she is now back to feeling 100 per cent, added: “When I heard the words ‘breast cancer’, mortality washed over me.
“All I could think about was leaving my children without a mother and leaving my husband without a wife.
“I’m trying to function as if the cancer was a little blip along the way now.
“I just hope that anyone who is in the middle of treatment can watch this and see that things get better.
“It’s not going to be the same, but you get better.
“You are going to get a renewed sense of who you are and maybe even find the new you.”
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