I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2016. I learned that I would need surgery as well as a type of chemotherapy that would cause me to lose my hair. I consoled myself by gathering all my hair products, brushes, appliances, and accoutrements into 3 plastic bags, put them in the back of my closet, cancelled my hair appointments, bought a Wahl shaver and reminded myself that it was temporary and that many women wear wigs every day (e.g. Dolly Parton). The consolation was short-lived when my long tresses started to fall out by handfuls. My husband was out of town at the time and I called, crying, and told him what was happening. In his usual supportive manner, he comforted me and reminded me it was short-lived. I swore he would not see me without my head covered. It took until that day for me to realize what a large contribution my hair makes to my personality and identity.
I had researched options for keeping my hair and found cooling caps, but was told that the type of chemo I was going to have would not lend itself to keeping my locks - which may actually not have been the case. Fast forward 1 year, 4 wigs and 6 turbans later, my hair has returned in a form that I hardly recognize, but it is mine and I consider myself very fortunate that I have any at all.
I am now blessed to be in a position to consult with the Information Technology department of my local healthcare system. They have built a new Cancer Institute that will include a Paxman scalp cooling system. I am excited about the opportunity this machine will offer to women and men, but concerned that all may not have the financial wherewithal to afford the treatments.
I want others to have the option to look as 'normal' as possible during their curative time so that they may concentrate on healing inside and not have to focus on their outward appearance. I especially want to help those who are younger and whose appearance is so important to who they are. In order to do this, I am partnering with HairToStay.org, a non profit organization that subsidizes low income patients for scalp cooling. I am starting this CrowdRise fundraiser, so that donations will go directly to those that are not otherwise able to afford the treatment to save their hair and so much more. I truly hope the need for this is short and that cures and better options will be available. Until then, please join me in helping someone thru this very difficult time by allowing them to keep their privacy, as well as a deeply personal part of themselves.