When I got my own cancer diagnosis in November of 2017, I knew I wasn’t ready to share it with the world. I was a professional in the workplace and my husband is a syndicated radio personality, which can make it tough to maintain privacy- especially with a bald head! We had so many questions and fears about the enormous amount of change that would come and how to navigate it. I am a wife (to an amazing man), a professional, a mom and stepmother (to 4 amazing kids), a daughter, a friend, a counselor, a sister, an aunt… how would my role change in all of these relationships?

My oncologist told me about cold capping and how it could help me keep my hair throughout my chemo regimen. It gives women the gift of TIME.  Sweet time. Time to tell the world that she has breast cancer on her terms. Time to enjoy with family and friends in public and not feel insecure. Time to continue her life in such a manner that SHE chooses.

At home, scalp cooling allowed me to provide comfort to my children by not having them see me without hair. My own mother died of cancer when I was young, and I remember how horrible it was to see her appear so physically ill. My brother and I were almost the same ages as my children are now, so I remember what that experience was like from a child’s eyes. I didn’t fully understand my mother’s diagnosis nor the details of her treatment and prognosis, but what I did understand was the absolute trauma of seeing her without hair. I can’t explain it. It was devastating. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to shield my children from that same haunting memory while I received treatment.

The choice to use scalp cooling during my chemotherapy provided me with the freedom to continue to enjoy my friends no matter where we went. I was able to go on two trips and attend multiple birthday celebrations during my year of treatment, thanks to Dignitana. I maintained privacy and dignity throughout my treatment which also allowed me to continue to work.

I was able to keep about 70% of my hair which allowed me to continue my life as “normal” to the outside world. I was lucky enough to have options, choices and the gift of time.

Cancer is ugly and cruel and a bully, and this small, yellow cap was one giant step in taking back a small sliver of power.