When Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39 she immediately started playing on "Dr. Google" looking for answers. Would she live? Would she die? Would she lose her hair? In the process she found cold cap therapy, an option for hair loss prevention. Cold cap therapy has been used in Europe for decades but is not widely known about in the United States. The premise behind cold caps is simple - chemotherapy kills fast dividing cells. Freezing the scalp limits the amount of chemotherapy which reaches the hair follicles' fast dividing cells. Lisa used cold caps through 16 rounds of chemotherapy (AC+T) with the help of her brother, her personal "Capping Specialist". She held onto something said early on..."every day you have hair is a day you wouldn't have without cold cap therapy." It was not easy but she persevered through six months of chemotherapy with a full head of hair.
Lisa has a history of giving back to the community through volunteerism, so it was only natural she would find a way to give back through her cancer diagnosis. While still in treatment, Lisa began coaching others through their cancer diagnosis and subsequently through the cold cap process. With her experience in cold cap therapy and the deep desire to help others, she decided to fill a niche in the community and founded Warrior Caps. Cold cap therapy is not for everyone, but Lisa's goal is for everyone to have a choice.
Warrior Caps celebrated their third anniversary in July. There are current and graduated Warriors in states from the East Coast to the West Cost. Warrior Caps have been used successfully with all types of cancers and chemotherapy regimens.
The first week of July 2015, I stood in your shoes with unexpected news - I had cancer. I was paralyzed with fear for days but slowly, with the help of family, friends, lots of prayers and the dream team of doctors, I found my fighting spirit. I hope if you are reading this you have found yours. If you haven't yet, keep trying. I promise it will come.
My journey with cold cap therapy started with a late night session on "Dr. Google" looking for any way I could save my hair. It was then I sent my family the first links about cold caps. I incessantly researched reading every word I could find - the good and the bad. I quickly made the decision I would use cold caps and subsequently which company I would use.
Cold caps are not for everyone. The choice is a very personal one. My goal is for everyone to have a choice. Your doctors' job is to save your life; they may not be concerned about your hair. If cold cap therapy interests you, talk to your doctor about it and make an informed decision. I was repeatedly told by some cold cap therapy would not work, I was wasting my money. Week after week for six months we proved everyone wrong. Results are not guaranteed, but I offer two things for you to think about: If you don't try you will never know and every day you have hair is a day you wouldn't have without cold cap therapy.
Warrior Caps is offering you a one stop rental service I hope will give you the best opportunity to look in the mirror each day and see the "you" looking back you saw every day before you found out your had cancer. American Cancer Society has a program "Look Good Feel Better," and I believe when you look good you feel good. Some embrace the Warrior who has no hair, and that is GREAT! It is their choice and for some the only choice they have. I like to believe I was a Warrior with hair.
"This is absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of." Those were the first words out of her brother Jeff's mouth when the family discussed Lisa's plan to save her hair. To say he wasn't a fan would be an understatement. Then he was asked to be there for all of her infusions as her capping specialist. As Lisa's "little" brother, for the first time in their lives their roles were reversed and he was taking responsibility for her and her hair during each of her chemotherapy infusions. He spent 6 months at the Cancer Center with Lisa and a cast of her closest friends, changing her caps and cheering her on through ups and downs, laughter and tears.
In Jeff's words: "At first I couldn't see the point in all this; I didn't care about her hair I cared about her life. But something happened as the weeks went by. She had a smile on her face. She seemed to rebound quickly after chemo. She went out with her friends. She continued to live her life. Unless you knew she had cancer, you didn't know she had cancer. Then I understood the benefit. I'm not a doctor, but there was a difference in her spirit. She fought."
When Lisa decided to start Warrior Caps, she went to Jeff to see if he was interested in working with her. He is the one who all the Warriors see at their first chemotherapy if they are local to the DFW area. He trains them on how to use the Warrior Caps and, for some, he stays around for their entire chemotherapy schedule as their "Capping Specialist". He is methodical with his job from the time he picks up the dry ice - from the first cap to the last one of the day several hours and dozens of cap changes later. He focuses on the Warrior's hair, so family and friends don't have to. They can focus on what is the most important - the Warrior.
A partnership between Warrior Caps and the Fleener Family Foundation will help those in need with the cost of cold cap therapy. If you would like to contribute to the fund, please visit the foundation website. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.