In April 2018, Marci was diagnosed with breast cancer...
In the winter of 2018, Marci had a conversation with a friend who had been diagnosed the previous year with a Stage 0 breast cancer, about whether she thought, since she was super healthy and had no history of breast cancer in her family, if Marci should keep getting mammograms. Knowing mammograms do have radiation, was that a good idea for her super small breasts?
The friend suggested she get an ultrasound because they are better at detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts... Marci had never heard that before. So... she asked the PA at her OBGYN office, who suggested she do both the 3-D mammogram which is the standard AND the ultrasound.
Marci went in the same day for both screenings and the mammogram was negative and missed a stage I cancer that the ultrasound found. Then... the MRI (ordered after a biopsy to check your lymph nodes and re-check breasts) found another smaller stage I cancer.
Had Marci not had the ultrasound and waited until the mammogram saw the cancer, it most likely would have been an advanced stage. There are many women fighting a late stage breast cancer because a mammogram did not see their cancer at an early stage.
Marci ended up getting a bi-lateral mastectomy which got rid of the cancer, but because her Oncotype DX (tumor typing) score was 16, and was under 50 years old, at the time, they recommended four rounds of "preventative" chemo. Marci was freaked out and was concerned about loosing her hair with two young kids and about to start a new job. She didn't want to look sick.
At the recommendation of Dr. Nova at UC Health who gave her a second opinion for chemo, She checked into using the Penguin cold cap to keep her hair. Based on her research the Penguin cap had the best results so, She chose to do that one. There was only a website with some basic info. Marci's brain was already full of cancer info and statistics but, with the help of her amazing husband, Chad, and a few "type-A" friends, including Shannon, we figured it out. Marci had both her husband and a friend help cap her each treatment. It was not as cold as she expected when using the cap, she just bundled up in layers and drank warm tea, and was so worth it in the end.
After 4 rounds of chemo - Marci should have lost all her hair between 14 and 21 days after the first treatment, but over the course of the 3 months - She only lost about 20%, and it was not in any specific spot or in a clump, but single hairs all over, so no one but Marci could tell.
Shannon and Marci were motivated to help other women save their hair during chemo by helping them know how to use the cap, and care for their hair as well as provide a real person to help train them and their helpers so they don't have to figure it out on their own. We also want to push awareness around the risks of having dense breasts... that mammograms may not find cancer in dense breasts, and that women with dense breasts are at higher risk for breast cancer.
Marci Jenkins and Shannon Thackray