Friday, August 23, 2013

"Penguin Cold Cap" - Check!

Madeleine’s Blog

August 23, 2013
So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

With Penguin Cold Cap before chemo
Madeleine made it through her first night of treatment. Her chemo started at around 6 pm, and she has been doing fairly well with it. She is experiencing the nausea and its expected "results," and has been very tired, but is also distracted by all the activity associated with her "Penguin Cold Caps."

You may be wondering what a "Penguin Cold Cap" is, and you wouldn't be alone!

Let me try to explain. The chemo that Madeleine is having typically results in complete hair loss. When she made the decision to do this treatment, that was one of the side effects that she planned on. 

But then, she met another patient, Jackie, at NIH (who was a few weeks ahead of her in the same treatment) who had researched and then used these Penguin Cold Caps during treatment and had not lost her hair. Jackie, along with her husband and sister, helped make it possible for Madeleine to have the same opportunity.

With the last Penguin Cap - wearing gloves to assist
This is how the caps work: The intense cold (-32 degrees) from the cap reduces blood flow to your scalp, which makes it hard for the chemo to get in and harm your hair follicles. Because Madeleine is receiving chemo in order to reduce the immune system (and not directly to fight melanoma tumors) there is not the same concern about less of it reaching the hair follicle areas. 

Deanne had to arrange for lots of dry ice to be on hand in order to keep the 8 rotated Penguin Caps constantly at the right temperature (thank you, Jamie - a local, previous TIL patient). She also needed to have some large ice chests, and an infra-red thermometer to check the temperature before applying each cap (thank you, Jackie!). And finally, Deanne had to have lots of organization and concentration in order to change the Penguin Caps every 20-30 minutes for about 4+ hours. Both Deanne and Madeleine were exhausted by the end of the night...but happy that they were able to do it.

Madeleine says that there was an initial "brain freeze" but that you adjust after a while. In a way, having the Penguin caps helped give her a short-term goal (and lots of distraction), and those of you who know Madeleine, know that she loves to have a goal.  

Everybody is resting up today, getting ready for the same process tonight. Thanks for your prayers!


Karen Boga said...

Madeleine, you are ALWAYS smiling and it inspires me. The cap is cool - no pun intended - and you're making quite the fashion statement. Watch, you're going to start a trend.

Yeah and hugs to Deanne for being The Best Mom and Penguin Cap Keeper!

God's grace shines on you, dear heart.


Anonymous said...

Hey, take some of the leftover dry ice in a tall glass, pour some very warm water in, and then squirt in some dish soap. Then pop the bubbles. Fun! Oh, also put a penny on the dry ice.

There's other stuff you can do with leftover dry ice, but you'd probably get kicked out. ;) Remember the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment we did at the cabin that exploded in my face? Now, that was a good Science experiment.

Hope your penguin cap works! Way to keep a cool head!

...(I heard that, Deanne!)

Seriously, you are in my prayers, as always. Hang in there.


The Cousin We Don't Talk About

Dave Cindy said...

You are Rock'in that Penguin Cap! The video you posted cracked us up:)
We second that to the Penguin Cap Keeper! Big Hugs!
Lots of Love
Dave & Cindy