At a glance:
- Diagnosed with ER positive and HER2 breast cancer
- Drug regimen Adriamycin/Cytoxan followed by Taxol
- Saved 95% of hair
Marcia was diagnosed with ER positive and HER2 breast cancer at the age of just 43. She immediately underwent a single mastectomy, after which she was advised by her oncology team that she needed chemotherapy.
“I was devastated with this news. Losing my health from cancer was bad enough, but the thought of losing my hair from chemo was deeply disheartening,” explains Marcia. “It’s not just a case of vanity. Being a home school mom of 4 children, I knew I needed to keep their life on track as much as possible. If there was any chance I could retain my hair, I wanted to try.
“Along with teaching my children at home, I was also teaching a high school class and a middle school class at our home school co-op. It was also my eldest son’s senior year in high school. I felt that losing my hair would be a distraction for my students as well as my own children.
Marcia’s experience of cold capping
“I came across the concept of cold capping through research I did while healing from the surgery. It was too good to be true! If there was a chance I could save my hair, I was determined to give it my best!
“I decided to use Penguin Cold Caps because they had the best chance of success with my AC-T treatment plan. I was to initially have 4 Adriamycin/Cytoxan treatments every other week for 8 weeks, followed by 12 Taxol treatments every week for 12 weeks. The Taxol regimen was later changed to 4 dose dense infusions.
“Adriamycin is a very harsh treatment for hair, and I felt Penguin Cold Caps would give me the best possibility of good results. My Penguin Cold Caps representative was so kind and helpful with getting me started. The caps and care package arrived quickly, and my Penguin rep was there every time I needed her help.
“We found a dry ice manufacture who could supply us throughout the process. We ended up using pellet dry ice instead of bricks because the dry ice manufacturer only had pellet ice available. Thankfully, the pellets worked just as well.
“My husband was my capper. I know it helped him to feel like he was contributing to my care by taking this on. He was so diligent in the process. We watched tutorials and practiced before my first treatment.”
Marcia’s cold capping tips
- I covered my ears with ear bags to help protect them from the cold
- Using a laser temperature gun to test the temperature of the caps
- One thing I think that would have been helpful, which we did not think of at the time of my treatments, would be to use a heating pad to help bring the caps up to temperature before placing them on my head. My husband had to use his own body temperature, which was quite a cold experience for him. The caps are (purposefully) miserably cold, but I assure you, it gets easier with every cap.
“The results were astounding! I kept all of my hair except the small sideburns which the cap couldn’t cover. Because I only brushed my hair once or twice a day, I could see every hair I shed that day, but I felt like it was never more than a normal hair shed for any given day.
“I was the first person my medical team had seen that cold capped, and they were in awe. I am forever thankful for Penguin Cold Caps and would highly recommend them.”