At a glance:
- Diagnosis: Invasive Lobular Carcinoma Breast Cancer
- Drug regimen: Four rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan
- Results: Minimal hair loss
- Christine says:“ I am thrilled with the results, and I would highly recommend giving Penguin cold caps a try”
Christine is a 54-year-old mum of two teenagers, aged 13 and 15, and has a successful marketing and communications career at a Pennsylvania university.
Christine’s diagnosis and treatment
Christine was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma in September 2021. She underwent a lumpectomy in November, followed by a bilateral mastectomy in December of the same year.
Christine then began four treatments of TC (Taxotere and Cytoxan) chemo in February 2022.
“Initially, my biggest fear centered around the fact that I would be sick, and my family would have to take care of me instead of me taking care of them. But when I was told I would need chemo, my fears switched to the thought of losing my hair.”
“I wanted to continue to look and feel good through my treatments, and I didn’t want other people knowing I had cancer. I also wanted my kids to feel confident that I would be OK, and I feel that keeping my hair played a big part in achieving that.”
How did you hear about cold capping?
“A neighbor and friend of mine, who’d been on her own cancer journey some years ago, told me about cold capping when I was first diagnosed.
“Later, when I was told I would be doing four rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan, I was overwhelmed with the idea of cold capping, and it seemed to be just another thing to add to my cancer “to do” list. However, after talking it over with my husband, we decided to try it.
“It was the one thing that could help me feel more normal while undergoing treatment, and we thought the kids would feel more comfortable with my cancer diagnosis if I could keep my hair and not look sick.”
“I did some research and talked to several people about cold capping. I was told that the manual caps work better, and I believe that to be true. Penguin was the cap most recommended by others.”
“When I brought up cold capping to my oncologist, he told me that he had seen a lot of women try it and that very few have had success. It worried me. My cancer center uses the Paxman system, and they have several Paxman machines on site. I met with a nurse about using Paxman, and she said many women still lose their hair and that cold capping is very painful.
“Another nurse tipped me off that she had seen more success with the manual systems like Penguin. That theory was echoed by several people I messaged on the Chemo Cold Caps Facebook group page.”
What was your experience of cold capping?
“On my first day of chemo, I was more nervous about the cold capping than I was about the chemo. I had heard so many different opinions – it’s painful, it’s so cold, take blankets, drink hot tea, etc.
“While it wasn’t exactly pleasant, I never felt that it was painful, and I never needed to lay under blankets or drink tons of tea.
“My husband was my “capper” and kept things moving like clockwork throughout my chemo sessions. We followed the instructions precisely as Penguin advised, removing the cap when needed and placing it on my head at the proper temperature. By the end of my fourth chemo session, we were pros at cold capping, and it just became part of the day.
“Yes, it may have made for a slightly longer and more tiring day, but keeping my hair was 100% worth it for me. I could go out and celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday, feeling like myself and looking normal.
“I could attend my son’s hockey games, and the other parents never even knew I had cancer. And I didn’t have to fuss with choosing and learning how to wear a wig.”
What were your results?
“I have fine shoulder-length hair, which is a bit coarse but not frizzy or curly. I am now seven weeks post-chemo. I still lose a little hair when I wash and comb it, but apart from being a little thinner, mainly around the ears, I don’t think anyone would know that I lost any hair at all.”
“I am thrilled with the results, and I would highly recommend giving Penguin Cold Caps a try!”
What tips do you have for other people thinking about cold capping?
My advice is to follow Penguin’s instructions to the letter – I did, and it worked for me. But you must be willing to make the necessary maintenance sacrifices like:
• washing once a week with cold water
• being very gentle when combing
• no curling or hair drying
• no coloring
For me, the most challenging part wasn’t the capping; it was the maintenance in between.