Margaret’s story: “I couldn’t bear the thought of my children remembering their mother with a bald head”

Published: March 4, 2021

Hi, my name is Margaret from Ohio. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, after finding a small lump under my arm and I turned to Penguin Cold Caps to save my hair on chemo. My fear of losing my hair was not due to vanity, I simply couldn’t bear the thought of my children remembering their mother with a bald head.

I took early retirement due to a chronic illness, pancreatitis. Around the same time, my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which meant I needed to stay at home to care for him. Then in 2002, I found a small lump under my arm. I had the lump surgically remove, only to find a lymph node showing cancer cells. My initial response to the diagnosis was of course: “How long will I live, and what will I go through?” And then my thoughts turned to our children.

After suffering for so many years with the pancreatitis, and a husband with cancer, my children had experienced enough watching both parents battle illness. I couldn’t bear the thought of them remembering their mother with a bald head.

My treatment program

I proceeded with five months of aggressive chemotherapy: Perjeta (Pertuzumab), Taxotere (also known as docetaxel) and Herceptin (Trastuzumab).

How did you find out about cold capping?

It was my oncologist and social advocate at my hospital who recommended cold cap therapy to help save my hair on chemo. They gave me a brochure from Penguin Cold Caps.

I carried out my own research, and after talking to one of the company’s representative (Angela), I was convinced I had made the right decision. Angela was professional, educated, kind and very helpful. She provided me with detailed information about the cap and how to use it.

The weekend before my first treatment, I realized that I hadn’t followed all the steps necessary to start, and I was panicked! I called Penguin Cold Caps’ office, Geralyn returned my call, talked me down from a panic attack, and kept in touch with me all weekend, assuring me everything would be fine. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

The actual process of using the cap was tedious, to best describe it! It’s an involved process, which my husband assisted me with. However, I did not find the coldness to be unbearable, as I had heard it was.

“It’s important for women to have an option”

The first few minutes are intense but tolerable after that. It’s important to cover all exposed skin and make sure the cap is tight, especially around the hairline.

I cut off about 12 inches of hair prior to starting treatment, as I knew I would still shed some. But I have retained 80% of my hair!

Shedding started a couple weeks after the first dose of chemo, and I am still shedding a few weeks after my last treatment. But almost two inches of new growth has already started, and I am very pleased to have retained as much as I have.

My oncologist told me I should have been completely bald within weeks! I am happy to promote this therapy, as I think it is very important for people to have the choice to save their hair on chemo.

I can’t thank Penguin Cold Caps enough for a very pleasant, memorable experience.

If you have any questions about cold capping, or anything else related to your chemo treatment, why not join the Facebook Chemotherapy Support Group – with thousands of members reaching out to each other, someone will no doubt be able to offer you first hand advice.