Location: New Hampshire, USA
Cancer type: Breast
Drug type: Taxol and Herceptin
Hair type: Long
"I was told about the ‘old way’ – putting caps from a dry ice cooler onto my head and changing them every 15 minutes for 4 hours to ensure my head stayed cold. Fortunately, two days before my treatment was going to start, Dartmouth received the Paxman System. I was the very first patient there to use it!"
Hello! My name is Rachel Winot and I am 29 years old; currently living in Claremont, NH. I work at Whelen Engineering, building warning lights, sirens, and mass notification systems for the emergency industry worldwide.
I first discovered my tumor April 23rd, 2019 while doing a self-check. On May 3rd, I had an ultrasound and a mammogram at my local hospital, followed by a biopsy three days later. On May 9th I was officially diagnosed with Stage 1 ER+/PR+/HER2+Ductal Carcinoma (DCIS) in my left breast. A few weeks later I began my journey at Dartmouth Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. After meeting my team, I had an MRI and had genetic testing done. Thankfully, the MRI showed no further progression and I tested negative for the BRCA gene. On June 7th, 2019 I had a lumpectomy along with the removal of two lymph nodes in my armpit. On June19th, I had a mediport put into my chest for chemotherapy, which started on July 26th. My chemotherapy consisted of Taxol once a week for twelve weeks, and Herceptin once every three weeks.
I decided to go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA for a second opinion on treatment; while there I was told about the Paxman System. At the time Dartmouth did not have this. I was told about the ‘old way’ – putting caps from a dry ice cooler onto my head and changing them every 15 minutes for 4 hours to ensure my head stayed cold. Fortunately, two days before my treatment was going to start, Dartmouth received the Paxman System. I was the very first patient there to use it!
Knowing that losing my hair was a possibility from chemotherapy was devastating to me. No, my hair did not define me, or make me who I am, but I felt that cancer had already taken enough from me and I wasn’t going to let it take my hair with it. I never felt sick and didn’t want to look that way. It was so comforting knowing that I had an 80% or higher chance of keeping my hair. It made me more confident and helped with keeping a positive mindset. I went to work everyday and carried out my normal life routine without anyone knowing I was undergoing chemotherapy.
First day of treatment
Last day of treatment
The ordering process for the Paxman was so easy! The lady I spoke with on the phone was very thorough and assured me everything would be taken care of. My cold cap even arrived before its due date! I loved the bag that it came in, it made keeping everything together and carrying it to and from treatment so much easier, and worry free.
I was the first one to use the Paxman System at Dartmouth, so it was a learning experience for me and the nurses; making sure the cap was fitted right, learning the steps on the machine, and how to hook it up. I eventually managed the machine by myself, and taught the new nurses how to use it. It’s very user friendly and has a descriptive ‘how-to’ book that is easy to navigate through.
The first couple treatments I had a bit of a headache after the cold cap was first on, but I got used to it and actually fell asleep most of the days thanks to the Benadryl in my pre-meds! I was fortunate enough to be in my own room during treatment, so I would shut the lights off, close the door and get a couple heated blankets, which the nurses would switch out for me if needed.
I followed a strict hair care routine during my twelve weeks of treatment and had zero hair loss! A couple of weeks after my last treatment I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes, however they grew back just as fast as they fell out. I continued to follow my hair care routine for eight weeks after chemo and still never had any hair loss.
My hair care routine was as follows: I washed my hair twice a week with the Paxman shampoo and conditioner, and let my hair air dry. I wore a satin night cap every night when I went to sleep. I only used a wide-tooth comb when brushing, holding my hair at the roots as to not pull as much. I used scrunchies for low ponytails and bobby pins for my bangs. I found a paraben/silicone/dye-free dry shampoo that I occasionally used in between if I felt I needed it. I never cut or colored my hair during treatment, nor did I use any straighteners, dryers, or curlers.
I was very, very happy with the Paxman Scalp Cooling experience. I loved that it was simple, quick, and easy to use, as well as the fact that I could do it on my own. Having one less thing to worry about during treatment gave me the ability to rest which helped tremendously.
"I would absolutely recommend scalp cooling to others and have told several other patients about it while I was getting my treatment. I love the interactive Facebook group that Paxman has to help encourage others on their journey!"