After 30 years of teaching, I retired. I walked out of my classroom for the last time on Friday June 6th of 2014. The following week I went for my annual mammogram and the next day I was informed I had breast cancer. This wasn’t what I had in mind when I retired.
The week after, I had an appointment with my oncologist at Baylor Scott White. Dr. O’Shaunessey shared my treatment plan and I was fascinated with the research that had paved the way for people like me. In some way, I wanted to give back. I inquired about any research I could be a part of. She told me about the Paxman cold cap and I was eager to be a part of the study.
Spreading rays of sunshine, Sue from Texas Oncology, helped fit my cap properly so I was ready for my first chemo treatment. This would be the beginning of 6 chemo treatments. I anxiously sat in a chair while Sue placed the cap on my head. Once turned on, I could feel the cold on my scalp. It graced me with comfort as it reminded me of the days I was on the swim team in Indiana. It was refreshing!
The challenge for me was to try and eat some snacks while wearing the cap. The chin-strap had to be snug enough so that the cold cap touched the crown of my head. I found it very easy to unhook and hook back up after using the restroom. I had 5 more treatments and each one was a pleasant visit. I started calling my chemo treatments spa days. Who would have thought?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Every cloud has a silver lining…” However I found an abundance of silver!!
While losing some hair, I realized for the first time that my cold cap gave me confidence. With my life changing so dramatically and with no control over it, it was a good feeling to have my hair! By this time my friends found out that I was being treated for breast cancer. I recall them searching my face; feeling sad for me and then they’d say, “But you still have your hair!” I’d smile and tell them about the Paxman cold cap! They all wanted to see this “Paxman cold cap thing” and I’d share some pics.
While my hair did thin and I had 2 small bald spots, I know in my heart that without the Paxman cold cap my experience would have been quite different! A couple of months ago while I was having an infusion, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Paxman. I was thrilled as he and his father played a wonderful part in the emotional comforting of my cancer journey. I have indeed found “the silver lining” of my cloud. It’s made me a stronger, more confident person and I am most appreciative to the Paxmans!
SHAWNA MAYBERRY , Texas.