Thank you for baldingblog, a wonderful source of information on hair issues. My wife just started on chemotherapy for colon cancer with a drug known to cause hair loss. She wrote this to a friend about her chemotherapy and the Cold Cap experience and with her permission, allowed me to send it to you to post on your site.
“The chemo was on Tuesday â€“ and I slept through the entire event. I thought to call Dr. Rassman and thank him for the reference to this cold cap therapy. He is among the most caring people I know.
They loaded me up with lots of anti-nausea meds and some Benadryl which really made me sleepy. Now you might wonder how one can sleep with a turban at -24 degrees Fahrenheit on your head â€“ well I did. In part to counteract the cold, you wrap yourself in an electric blanket set to sizzle â€“ and that put me right to sleep. My husband had to wake me every 30 minutes or so to trade the cold cap for a newly chilled one. You keep up the cold caps till 4 hours after chemo is done so I didn’t really wake up till about 6:15 PM on Tuesday â€“ that included the drive home. We were quite the spectacle at the clinic and had many doctors and nurses coming in and out to see the changing procedure. I actually think my husband was enjoying the attention. Almost everyone at the clinic knew about cold cap but none had direct experience with it and all were very interested to see if they work. Needless to say I am too.
I did hook up a small group of patients in a support group, a couple have used the cold caps successfully for their chemo. It is more involved than just the turbans â€“ there is a lot of extra hair care but all say that it is worth it. So we are â€œall inâ€. We did look like we were moving in to clinic for a week wielding our two coolers on a rolling dolly, a rolling suitcase filled with the blankets and extra needed accoutrements (including welders gloves to handle the dry-ice), and an extra bag of layering clothing.
I am feeling ok â€“ I wear out easily and then crash hard. I am still not sleeping well â€“ what they have given me is helping a bit but I don’t get more than 5 hours of solid sleep and then doze as best I can. Today is the last day on the heavier anti-nausea meds and when the steroids will wear off â€“ they say that tomorrow is the trail day.”
I try to get involved in the lives of my patients and have developed many close friends from this group of wonderful people. I’m glad I could offer some help to this patient and his wife, and I wanted to post this so people considering using Cold Cap Therapy during chemotherapy might know what to expect. There’s a good article about this treatment here.
This reminds me of another time that I wanted to share, when a hair transplant patient got a routine heart scan on my recommendation and found that he had an aortic aneurism. This is a time bomb that kills almost everyone when the aorta (the main blood vessel that exits the heart) leaks and bursts. I helped him find a great doctor who brought his body temperature very low at the time of surgery, stopped his heart, and replaced the blood vessel with a cloth one while everyone hoped that his brain would function after they restarted his heart. He lucked out and survived, brain fully intact.
Right place, right time.