When I was going through chemotherapy, scalp cooling was not yet available. Six months later, it became available. Too late for me, but just in time for many others. While a cancer diagnosis inflicts layers of trauma from the physical to the mental to the emotional, it was losing my hair that finally brought me to my knees.
I began to avoid seeing just about everyone and eventually had trouble looking even my husband in the eyes. I felt ugly, and somehow like I was undeserving of being loved. I remember one day I was on the phone with my sister and she was trying to comfort me. She said “ listen, you are alive and your hair will grow back so just be thankful.” What those who have never had their life interrupted by cancer fail to realize is that mourning hair loss is not vanity, and it is not being ungrateful. When you lose your hair to this disease you lose your dignity! And it becomes very easy to start seeing yourself as diminished, and soon, the person you thought you were seems to vanish, because you no longer recognize the face looking back in the mirror.
And so when Infinite Strength began, I knew Scalp Cooling was going to be one of our initiatives. Why? Because insurance coverage for scalp cooling is not yet standard in the United States…sadly! This means that many patients who have the option available to them are unable to take advantage of its benefits due to financial limitations. If you are being treated at Smilow Cancer Hospital or one of its Care Centers around the state in Connecticut, ask your physician about scalp cooling, and the financial assistance available. For those being treated in other hospitals or outside of Connecticut, ask your healthcare provider about assistance available through organizations that are dedicated to helping patients afford this treatment, like The Rapunzel Project. Here are just a few links for more information on scalp cooling: