Jacquie Beltrao - Video 4
Having the Cold Cap treatment
For those who are unable to view the video, prefer to read, or who have difficulties in hearing, this is a transcription of the interview
Video 4 - The Cold Cap
Jacquie: I went into the whole chemo with, I want to try to keep my hair if I can, and if I can't keep all of my hair I want to keep enough of my hair to be able to come to you guys for you to sort it out - which I think is about 10%. So I was really really determined - it was one of my things. I was just going to go in and whatever the pain I was gonna suffer it with this cold cap on. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought. It's really cold when they first put it on, and it's a bit of a shock, but after about 10 minutes you head goes quite numb, and you can't feel it anyway. You do something else: listen to music, do anything, distract yourself. And then you've got to keep it on for an hour, then you start your chemo treatment, you've got to keep it on throughout that, and then for an hour or so afterwards.
So the whole process takes about 4 hours; it does make it a lot longer. But, your hair falls out less quickly and more gradually than it would do if you didn't use the cold cap and that's what I was after.
That's what I was aiming for, and once I had my Intralace system on, which was straight after my second chemo - it could have been after the first one it just happened to be after the second one - then I went back into the chemo suite with this really huge full head of amazing hair and they thought "what are we going to do with this?" and they weren't sure actually whether the cold cap would work, because I had all of this hair on top of my own hair, all woven in, and they said "we're going to wet your hair really really soak it down, so it really does freeze to your head". That's what they did, braid it all, put the cold cap on, and then it literally froze to my head while I had the treatment done, but, that really worked and actually it was more bearable because I had all this extra hair woven in, it was almost a protection against my scalp against the cold and it wasn't quite as bad as the previous time when it had gone straight onto the bald patches on my scalp. And it worked all the way through because I managed to keep pretty much all the connections; they didn't fall out, so the cold cap did its job.
Lucinda: You had five chemos didn't you, over three, four, five months?
Jacquie: Yeah, I completely chickened out of the sixth one, mainly because my hair was still there and hanging on to my Intralace system and I just didn't want that to go, but actually in hindsight I probably could have done the sixth one and everything would have been fine, because other friends of mine have gone through the whole chemo rigmarole and been fine, and hung onto their Intralaces.
What was amazing going home from chemo was, you know you don't feel great on the day, but at least when I got home I could hop in the shower, I could wash my hair, I could blow-dry my hair, I could look at myself in the mirror and look normal. I could forget what's just happened, forget the place I'd just been, you could carry on as if nothing had ever happened, because you've tricked your mind into thinking nothing has - I look fine, I've gotta be fine, look at my hair it looks amazing, I've just blow-dried it it looks great.
Lucinda: Were you aware that your hair was continuing to lose, to come away, even though you had the intralace giving the impression it was all there, were you actually aware of that?
Jacquie: No. No I wasn't. I mean you'd find the odd strand on the floor, but if it was coming away it was all trapped amongst, trapped underneath, whatever, and the only time I knew actually that I'd lost quite a lot of hair was when I went to see the Oncologist for my check-up, when she said, "let's have a look at your hair", and I could feel at the back it had gone, but over the crown of my head I didn't know, and she just said it's gone here, it's gone here, and I didn't care - I couldn't see it. So unless I'd gone with a magnifying glass and tipped myself upside down you'd never know.
Jacquie used the cold cap, and this helped her retain approximately 20% of her natural hair during chemotherapy. This allowed the Intralace to be integrated with her remaining hair and worn 24/7 throughout her treatment.