Being diagnosed with breast cancer was frightening and overwhelming. After speaking to many breast cancer survivors, I came to terms with the diagnosis and felt strongly that I too would be able to kick this disease. Truth be told, the hardest part to come to terms with was the realization that I would lose my hair because of chemo. For some reason the idea of my bald head frightened me. I wanted to keep working and being a mom as “normally” as I could through treatment. I did not want to be the center of attention because I looked different. I wanted to share my diagnosis and story on my terms with family, friends, co- workers, and the world.
My surgical oncologist was the first person to tell me about cold caps. This was something I had never heard of. I was lucky enough to be at a hospital that was working with DigniCap… To me DigniCap was a life changer. I would never have done the old school ice on my head. DigniCap was the only solution and I chose to drive an hour and a half each direction to go to an infusion facility that had the DigniCap machine. Early mornings leaving the house before 6am to beat traffic, coordinating rides to school for my kids, and accepting help with all of this was still worth it if I could save my hair.
While each person has a very individual journey and very personal decisions to make regarding treatment, my husband and I did not even have to think twice. I consulted my husband for his opinion because 12 infusions is an expense – that might not be covered by insurance – but he did not hesitate for a moment and told me I was making the right decision. If you saw me today, after my 12th chemo treatment, you would have no idea unless I told you that I just finished chemo.
As for my kids, age 9 and 12, they don’t see me as their sick mom. Many people in my life, until now when I am going public, have no idea about my breast cancer. I have been able to work, go to events, and walk out my door every day as if there was no cancer in my life (on the outside appearance).
To me, looking normal as far as the outside, is the only way I made it through chemo without getting severely depressed on the inside. I owe this to the DigniCap and hope that others will get inspired and learn that there are options. You can make it through chemo and feel “normal” on the outside which in turn helps you immensely on the inside.
– Limor Gallo, California