A Very Cold Love Story

My Review of the Cool58™ Secrets Vest

A while ago, I picked up the Cool58™ Secrets Vest from Polar Products after spending a lot of time researching cooling vests.

It wasn’t bad! A few weeks later, I received a request from the company to write a review on their site.  I know several of you were interested in learning about whether or not it was a good investment as well, so I’m sharing the review here as well. This was what I wrote.

“Great for large-chested women with MS!”  
Details: I got the Cool58 Secrets Vest because most of the other cooling vests were more like traditional vests – they went over your shoulders and chest. Personally, I am a large-chested lady, so finding a vest that would have a snug fit was challenging. The Cool58 Secrets Vest is great in that regard. It fits comfortably on my abdomen, above my belly button and below my bra. It’s easy to sit while wearing it, which makes it ideal for bike riding and use at the gym.So, why a 4 and not a 5? A few minor things. First, I’m not sure that the upper abdomen is the most effective spot for cooling the body. Depending on the kind of bra I’m wearing with it, I sometimes still end up with sweaty boobs and 1 inch lower have a cold tummy. It’s a weird feeling. Secondly, for me, it doesn’t cool enough on its own to be a stand-alone. I almost always end up grabbing something to put on my neck to help in addition. (So one of their kits might be good to try.) Lastly, it takes a while for the packs to “freeze” if you use the refrigerator instead of the freezer. Since I’ve ended up using the freezer anyway, I kinda wish I’d gone with the Kool Max Secrets Vest.At the end of the day, it’s great to be able to walk around in the heat without MS kicking my butt. My complaints are honestly minor.

You Can’t Ask For Better Customer Service Than This.

You can imagine my surprise when I received this email the very next day:

Thank you so much for writing a review about your Cool58™ Secrets Vest! We really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with other customers.

It sounds like you might be interested in the Kool Max® Packs, since you are freezing the Cool58 packs. I would be happy to send you four to try in your Secrets vest. Let us know how you like them in comparison to the Cool58 packs!

Thank you very much for your business, and if there is anything you need in the future please let us know.

Warm regards,

Polar Products, Inc.

I was over the moon!  A few days later I received not only 4 Kool Max® Packs that fit into my Secrets Vest, but also a Kool Max® Deluxe Cooling Neck Tie! I was shocked and excited.

How do I love thee, neck tie? Let me count the ways…

cervicalcollarPrior to receiving this gift, I had used an Elasto-gel Cervical Collar to cool my neck. I loved it! But it didn’t last more than a half hour, which is fine if you’re just using it after going the chiropractor, but not the best if you’re battling heat sensitivity.

In contrast, the Kool Max® Deluxe Cooling Neck Tie is freakin awesome in terms of how long the cooling power lasts. Truth be told, I haven’t tried wearing it longer than an hour or so, but I didn’t take it off because it had lost it’s cooling ability – I took it off because I was cold! And even better, it didn’t look nearly as weird to wear out in public as the Elasto-gel Collar did.kooltie2

I wouldn’t use the neck tie as my only cooling device if I was going to the gym or hanging out in weather that’s hotter than 80 degrees, but when it’s in the 70s or below (or if I’m inside and in air conditioning), I don’t even think about putting on the Secrets Vest anymore, it’s so intensely cold. It gets the job done on its own, and makes doing the dishes so much easier for me.

Another thing I really like about the neck tie is that you can easily take the Kool Max packs out of the tie to wash it — or to use the Kool Max packs with another tie/scarf!  You don’t *have* to use the tie, though it is convenient. If you’re trying to look your best, you can even wrap those packs up in a fashion scarf that you have that won’t be damaged by water condensation. (No silk!)

Kool Max® vs Cool58™

The Kool Max® packs are *so* much colder than the Cool58™ packs. The difference is actually kind of stark. Come to think of it, there’s probably a difference of 58 degrees.

You can activate the Cool58™ packs, put em in the vest, and put the vest directly on your skin and it’s still comfortable. They’re designed to stay at 58 degrees. It’s a calming kind of cool — like drinking a nice iced tea on a hot summer day. It’ll cool you down, but it won’t make you cold. The stuff inside the Cool58™ packs will even squish and break apart if you press on it. The stuff inside the packs acts kind of like a wax.

Not so with the Kool Max® packs! They’re essentially blocks of ice, and are just that cold. You actually need a t-shirt or something under your vest or it can be too cold to handle. And that’s not a bad thing – especially when you’re trying to have an effective workout! 🙂 Wearing a shirt under your vest also keeps it cleaner longer.

At the end of the day, for folks like me who immediately get MS symptoms as soon as they’re a degree over their normal body temperature, I would recommend the Kool Max® line over the Cool58™ line every day of the week, just for sheer intense power of cooling. And I definitely would go for a neck tie, because I honestly didn’t even realize how incredibly helpful they could be.

For folks who don’t have MS and are looking for something to keep them cool at the gym, I think Cool58™ is a great solution. For folks with MS, Cool58™ is great if you’re trying to stay cool for short periods of time, are indoors, or aren’t being very physically active. Otherwise,  Kool Max® works like gangbusters.

Thank you, Polar Products!

I want to take a moment to thank Polar Products for giving me the opportunity to try their other line of products and review them. This experience has been very valuable, hopefully not only for myself, but for other folks who are debating on whether or not to get a cooling vest because they can’t decide what kind! (And to those folks, I say, “Quit debating! Get a vest! They help!”)


There’s Never Been A Better Time To Have MS.

My good friend Katherine likes to say, “There’s never been a better time to have MS” when we read about the research and treatments that are coming out to help those of us who suffer with this disease. This last week, however, has been gob-smacking amazing. This week has shown us some real steps forward towards curing MS.

Scientists find “off” switch for auto-immune function.

Yeah, you read that right. Researchers out of Bristol University have discovered how to stop our immune systems from attacking our own bodies. You can read all about it here.

“Scientists were able to selectively target the cells that cause autoimmune disease by dampening down their aggression against the body’s own tissues while converting them into cells capable of protecting against disease.”

This news is ridiculously fantastic because, if their findings are correct, it doesn’t just mean an end to multiple sclerosis, but an end to (or at least effective treatment for) 159 diseases.

To give you an idea of the scope of how many people that affects positively, it’s estimated that 2.5 million people in the world have multiple sclerosis, and it’s considered one of the more rare autoimmune diseases. Crohn’s disease is estimated to affect twice as many people… and in 2010, there were an estimated 34 million people living with HIV. So right there, with only 3 diseases being represented, you’re looking at 41 million people who have a reason to be hopeful. That’s equivalent to the entire population of Kenya. To contrast, the largest city in the United States (New York City) only has 8.4 million.  Los Angeles has fewer than 4 million. Let that sink in for just a second.

But wait, that’s not all! Let’s repair some myelin, safely.

If it weren’t enough that they may have found a way to stop MS in its tracks, they also may have found a way to reverse the damage without horrific side effects.

BIIB033, a monoclonal antibody targeting the LINGO-1 remyelination signaling block, has passed phase 1 safety tests.

“The anti-LINGO-1 trial is likely the first of many that will test drugs that have been shown to enhance remyelination in [mouse] models,” wrote Pedro Brugarolas, Ph.D., and Brian Popko, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, Illinois, in the editorial. “Soon we should know whether this approach will provide benefit to patients with MS, which would be the first evidence that enhancing myelin repair may alter the course of this disease.”

So not only can we possibly stop MS from progressing, but we might be able to heal the lesions that it created and return lost function. The only thing left would be to stop it from ever occurring in the first place.

But wait, there’s more!

So we can stop auto-immune function, and there’s hope that we can repair myelin… but what if repairing myelin doesn’t get the job done? That’s where technology comes in.

Scientists have been able to bypass the spinal column non-invasively and trigger walking. You read that right. In the last two weeks scientists have also figured out how to help parapalegics regain use of their limbs. Read all about it here.

Japanese researchers have created an “artificial neural connection” (ANC) from the brain directly to the spinal locomotion center in the lower thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine, potentially one day allowing patients with spinal-cord damage, such as paraplegics, to walk.

We live in SUCH a cool time. I’m very hopeful for a future where no one has to suffer from MS at all.