Oh <insert profanity here> I’m going to lose my hair with chemotherapy! Like hell I am, I thought! I didn’t want to wear cancer wigs or chemotherapy scarves (even the designer type). But a chemotherapy scalp cooling cap was one hat I was willing to try, in order to preserve my hair. For some reason I became more transfixed on my hair, than on chemotherapy. I guess I had something to keep myself focused on something, other than the side-effects and what came next on the cancer to-do list.
Okay, so how does one save one’s hair during chemotherapy? Good question! In basic terms, the cooling caps restrict blood flow in the scalp, resulting in reduced amounts of the chemotherapy drug being delivered to the hair follicle. I can tell you now, it was met with subtle cynicism, by friends, family and those in the medical field when I first entertained the idea, but I guess that’s because nobody really understood what scalp cooling or ‘cold caps’ meant and besides, was it really that important to save my hair when I such a fierce battle on my hands? Surely my vanity would take a backseat during this challenging time? No way! Quite frankly, it was the best decision I made, a no-brainer.
So I have a new lover; he’s robust, dedicated, reliable and doesn’t answer back, but he can be unrelentingly cold at times… meet Paxman! He’s the full package, comprising of two cap layers, a pipe that connects the head cap to the small machine (which looks like a mini-air conditioning unit) – it’s that simple. The Paxman scalp cooling system cools the scalp at a tolerable -4 degrees Celsius. So far, we’re extremely compatible as I’ve had better-than-expected results in preserving my hair during chemotherapy!
This leaves me to wonder as to why everyone isn’t talking about the scalp cooling system for preserving hair while undergoing treatment? Finally, after a few years of this treatment method being on the market, my oncologist, Dr Michelle White, is leading the charge in helping patients preserve their hair – hooray! (Channel 10’s The Project even featured a segment in November 2015 about hair preservation through scalp cooling, featuring an interview with Dr White).
This may sound odd, but these here are exciting times for woman and men with breast cancer, and hopefully the scalp cooling systems will not only be permanent fixtures in oncology but in abundance too so that everyone can benefit!
Unless you truly love and care for your hair during hair preservation and believe in the system, you may not get the desired results you were hoping for. Hair preserving doesn’t just stop with the scalp cooling caps. Using the right shampoos, brushes as well as styling techniques and products will ensure you get the very best results.
Let me take you and your precious hair on my journey!