Hi - I too had chemo first to shrink the lump (started end April - finished end July!). It's quite reasurring when you can actually see that it's getting smaller. My oncologist insisted that I felt it regularly as it would help to put my mind a ease that chemo is actually working. Once the first chemo was out of the way, I felt much more at ease. I remember sitting with the nurse thinking 'wow can't believe I'm actually having chemo'. Yes your hair does fall out. I did worry about this at the time. But once it did fall out I felt much better. Got a nice wig called 'Shannon' which is really convincing. Just tick each treatment off the calender one at a time. It's quite surprising how quick it goes. My lump completely disappeared and had to have a marker injected into the area for when I had my surgery. I wish you lots of luck and best wishes.
mine shrank by 50% in 1 go. They couldn't find it to put the wire marker in.