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April 2015 Newsletter

P A G E 2 ess. If I were to do it, maybe I would have hair, but it sure would look crappy when I could very rarely wash it, brush it, or comb it, and never ever blow dry or color it (it is very important to “baby” your hair to minimize damage caused by the chemo and how well you follow the regi- men is a big com- ponent in how successful you will be in saving your hair). I dutifully went one day to try on wigs and sort of settled on an acceptable color and style, but as soon as I showed my daughters the pictures, they went over the edge and just about had a temper tantrum, al- most worthy of the toddler days. This was really all the push that I needed to seriously start thinking about the cold caps as I really wasn’t too psyched about the whole wig thing either. So I jumped full board into research mode, asked question, reached out to Chemo Cold Caps (who was absolutely fabu- lous every step of the way), and ultimately decided to give the cold caps a go with just a few days to spare be- fore my first chemo treat- ment was scheduled. Now fast forward 18 weeks, I just finished my treatments mid- March (6 rounds of TCH) and have had absolutely remarkable results (no thin- ning or bald spots whatso- ever!). I am extremely thankful for my husband who was in charge of the cold cap process on chemo days, which is a harder task than you may expect as I really just sat there and complained while he handled the gel cap, the straps, and the other equipment with changes every 20-30 minutes while keeping meticulous track of timing. To say I complained is probably a bit of an understate- ment, I have to admit that it was- n’t comfortable wearing the caps (although definitely not unbear- able) so it would be a long 6 hours on each chemo day for both of us. Looking back now, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat (although I sure hope that I never have to) and am so grateful for the support of my family and friends as well as my doctors. I do hope that the “mushroom” nickname from Super Mario Bros goes quickly by the wayside though (was the most accurate description of what I looked like with everything on) as I can’t say that I am a big fan of that. Being fairly young to embark on this breast cancer journey (age 42) as well as having two young daughters, ages 7 and 11, vanity was a consideration in deciding to use cold caps, but it became re- placed with sanity fairly quickly - and how we as a family could keep as much sanity as possible. The best thing is that I didn’t look like a cancer patient 24/7 – whether it was me looking at myself in the mirror, my kids looking at me, my co-workers, random people, etc – and what a HUGE mental boost this was to be able to be live almost a “normal” life as well as being able to return to “normal” pretty quickly. To set the stage, I have had fairly long hair most of my life (a few inches below the shoulder) and have never been a hat/visor/ scarf person at all (much to my husband’s dismay as he lives in his ballcaps). I had read about cold caps in a cancer magazine and my medical oncologist mentioned it to me as well, but I wasn’t really considering trying them – espe- cially after I heard about all of the rules and restrictions in regards to what you could do with and to your hair during the whole proc 21st Century Oncology C.A.R.E. 800-437-1619 American Cancer Society 941-365-2858 Center for Building Hope 941-921-5539 Englewood Area Cancer Foundation 941-445-0751 Florida Cancer Specialist Foundation 239-432-8325 In the Pink (941) 953-7465 Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation 404-862-4500 Legal Aid of Manasota 941-366-0038 SMH Breast Health Grant Support 941-917-7642 Survivors In Sync 941-882-0966 Susan G. Komen 727-823-0728 Team Tony Cancer Foundation 513-659-6620 Tidewell Hospice Sarasota Nonprofit Breast Cancer Resources To Cold Cap or Not to Cold Cap by Kimberly Riley G I R L T A L K O N H E A L T H

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