Diagnosis: Breast cancer

I was very fortunate to find out about the clinical trial for DigniCap in time. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer [in May 2013], of course I first thought, “Will I live? Will I get to see my children grow up?” but then I worried that being bald would frighten my kids. They’re young – they were 12, 9 and 6 at the time – and I could only imagine how they’d react to seeing mommy without her ponytail.

I was prepared to face the physical and psychological assault of chemotherapy, along with the nausea and fatigue, but I didn’t want my family feeling sorry for me or constantly worrying every time they looked at me. I confided in a friend about what I was going through, and she mentioned that she’d read something about a little-known scalp-cooling technique they were using in Europe that had been shown to prevent chemo-induced hair loss for patients with early-stage breast cancer.

I started looking into it and found out that it wasn’t available in the United States yet. I was resigned to the reality that I would lose my hair during chemotherapy, but my husband encouraged me to pursue preserving my hair. Eventually I found my way to the Weill Cornell Breast Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where they were doing a research trial on DigniCap. I got into the trial, and the system was everything the people in Europe said it was. I only lost a minimal amount of hair. Even I could barely tell I’d lost any hair at all

Not having that reminder every time you look in the mirror that you are sick, and you look normal to your friends and family, made the chemo much more bearable. Instead of illness, I saw myself. Many people had no idea I had cancer.