I want to share my experience with cold caps and how they helped my journey with Cancer feel a bit more bearable. It gave me a sense of some control over my body and I didn’t completely lose all confidence in my appearance.
At the time of diagnosis in 2015, cold caps were not very known and it was a very long process to get started. This may sound so vain, but the first thing I immediately thought about when I heard my treatment involved chemotherapy was about how I was going to lose my hair. The first text I sent was to my mom… “You’re going to have to buy me a nice wig.” I couldn’t even tell her I had Cancer, let alone even say the C word to my mom, but she knew exactly what I meant.
I didn’t understand how complex the whole entire process was, but I was determined to do what it took to keep my long hair. I was so fortunate to have loving family and friends who became my “Cold Cap Crew”. I had a week and a half to research and learn what needed to be done in order to keep what I was so attached to. My hair made me “Me”.
With everything else going on, such as what comes with a new diagnosis – never ending doctor appointments, scans I have never heard of before, second opinions to know if I was choosing the right doctor for my situation–I didn’t have much time to prepare or take a step back to really process what I was getting myself into. All I knew was, “I’m keeping my hair”. This was my life on the line, and I kept thinking to myself, “Should I be caring about losing my hair right now? This should be the last thing on your mind and you’re asking your family and friends to take time off their busy schedules just so you can keep your hair?” I feared I wasn’t putting my priorities in line.
The night before starting chemo, we all did a trial run with the crew. After coming out of that session, I had never in my life felt like such a burden to anyone. Feelings of not having any control of the situation made me feel helpless. And to know that these people in my life are willingly giving up their time to help me make sure I don’t lose my hair… I was beating myself down thinking I shouldn’t be asking so much from others for something that shouldn’t matter when trying to fight for your life. Then I finally snapped out of auto-pilot. I was so scared and realized I was about to go into something the next day that will change my life forever. I immediately just broke down crying with overwhelming feelings of mixed emotions, thinking this is too much to handle. “I can’t do this.” However, not only did I have an awesome cold cap crew, but it made my journey with Cancer something I will always be grateful for. It really empowered me to keep living my Cancer life to the fullest and to remember that everyone has their own struggles, whether you can see it or not.
Stupid Cancer’s CancerCon gave me the courage to be my true self and not hide the experience I had with Cancer. Meeting young adults with Cancer inspired me to share my story and feel accepted while exploring this new side of me. I just want to say thank you so much to Stupid Cancer for giving me an amazing opportunity to be a part of this wonderful community.
By : Tiffany Yip