Nappy?

Remember how I said I ordered a wig? Well, I called and cancelled it the next morning. I just didn’t love it, and right now I don’t really feel like I need it. Besides, I’m really enjoying all of the compliments I’ve been getting on my bald head…far more compliments than I ever got with hair. Either you guys are giving me sympathy compliments or I truly do look better bald. What’s that say about my poor hair? If my head was so nappy, why didn’t anyone ever tell me?  Now I’m starting to feel bad about donating my hair to Locks of Love. I’m thinking some poor permanently bald 12 year old is going to see the nappy wig my hair made and say, “No, thanks. I think the playground taunting will be less WITHOUT the wig.”

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For some reason this go-round of the chemo made me retain water…to the point that it actually hurt to be touched, even lightly. Not fun. I felt like a big water sausage. But, that’s pretty much subsided now and I’m feeling pretty good, if not a tad tired. Apparently it’s a lot of work being a water sausage, though it seemed like mostly a lot of sleeping and whining about being sore.

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I’ve found that on the days that I feel a little queasy (usually Wednesday through Saturday morning) it helps to eat small amounts frequently. You’re probably thinking, “Well no wonder chemo is easy for you…we know how you like to eat all the time.” Yeah, well, I am a foodie, but I’m tellin’ you it is NOT fun to have to eat every hour when you aren’t hungry, and can’t taste anything well. Half banana here, granola bar there, piece of bread, half a yogurt, blah, blah, food, food, food, blah, blah. By Saturday morning I was like, “I am SO tired of eating!” It was like 10 o’clock on Thanksgiving night to the 10th power.

Contrast this with Saturday evening when I regain my appetite, and food tastes decent (although not completely as it should) again, and I eat like some starved elephant at the Planter’s peanut factory. Oh, you can try to talk to me, but don’t expect an answer until I’ve stuffed my face. I’m hungry—like 4 days worth of living on granola and bananas hungry. Between all that and the steroids, it’s only by the grace of God that I still fit in my pants, let alone through the door.

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Wiggy

Okay, I didn’t get to post again because I was too busy chatting with my new chemo friend, Renee. Renee is the new lady mentioned in the earlier post who was quite anxious about this whole cancer thing—sheesh, I can’t understand why after the pep talk crazy talk-too-much-lady gave her in the waiting room. I gave her my contact info, including this page, so she might even visit me here. (Hi Renee!) Friends, please keep my friend Renee in your prayers as she copes with her first round of chemo, and with all of the scary cancer stuff.After chemo, I went to visit the wigs again. This time I took the camera. Oh yeah, you know I’ll do just about anything for a laugh. So please enjoy the pictures I’m uploading and let me know what you think. Incidentally, I did order a wig, but somehow I don’t have a picture of that one. Oops! I guess you’ll all just have to be in suspense.

I’m thinking, though that the wig is probably more likely to be used when my hair is growing back in than now. Shoot! I’ve gotten so many compliments on the bald head—and I mean from complete strangers in Walmart, not the obligatory, unconditional, love-covers-a-multitude-of-follicles type of compliments that I get from my momma and the rest of the fam—I’m feelin’ mighty bold with my bald head. Yea me.

Live…From Chemo…

Live…from the chemo floor in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana….it’s Tuesday afternoon!

Join me as I get my drip on like some kind of cancer-fightin’ superhero. Raaah! I may post a couple of different entries, just because when the steroids hit I’ll be all cross-eyed. Then when Hubster gets back with lunch I’ll be stuffing my face.

My day started up here with being stuck in the waiting room with a lady who spoke way too much. She wasn’t even talking to me, thankfully, but it was still so tiring. Very mopey, wanting to whine, and yet try to spin it as encouraging to another lady who is here for the first time and very scared. I wanted to say, “Clue, Lady, it’s not cool to tell scared newbies about so-and-so who DIED from breast cancer!” Arrgghh!

To be continued when I’m no longer cross-eyed…

Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend was Bald Like Me

Ta-da!

Well, yesterday was the day, folks. I finally lopped off my hair. It wasn’t coming out in hunks yet, but I could tell that it was starting to thin. While I could have gotten by with keeping it for a bit longer, I decided that I was only robbing some poor, bald 9-year old wig recipient by letting it gradually go down the drain.

So, yesterday afternoon I put it in several ponytails, which Hubster proceeded to cut off absolutely as close as he could to the scalp. When he was finished, I looked like Angie’s not-quite-3-year old son, Nate-Nate had snuck up on me with hedge trimmers. (“Wanna cut Moody’s hair, Nate-Nate?” “O-kay!”) Not a pretty sight. Mini Me said, “Hey, that looks like when I was little and cut my Barbie’s hair.” She is always such a wellspring of affirmation, bless her soul. At that point I thought, “Well, bald can’t possibly look worse than this.” 

Hubster shaved my head, and his head. We did this outside to minimize the mess. As I walked to the house to take a shower, I noticed my shadow—my BALD shadow. I stopped, pointed, laughed, and said, “Ahhh! My shadow is bald!” I know, you’re like, “Duh! did you think your shadow would continue to have hair?” Well, smarty-pants, I hadn’t thought about my shadow at all. How much do you think about your shadow’s hair? Uh-huh, that’s what I thought you’d say. In fact, later on, my shadow was still shocking me by being bald every time I saw it. I have such a supportive shadow, going bald on my behalf.

You can imagine the surprise of my friends when I showed up at church last night with a bald head. After all, they’d just seen me that morning with all my hair. You can bet I relished every minute of it, too. Especially since no one ran screaming in the opposite direction or said, “Can I help you, Sir?” As you can see from the pictures, I went to church without hat, scarf, or even mom’s high school hair wig. This is how I intend to look most of the time—so wig pushers, beware.

I hated to have to hack off the hair, but I have to say it’s not so bad being bald. Very low maintenance. Nice and cool. And it’s really kind of fun for me being some crazy-looking bald lady with big hoop earrings. Yea me.

About the Hair

It’s day 10 of the Ultimate Chemo Challenge, and I have to say this whole thing is kind of anti-climactic. They gave me a bunch of info at Dr. Birhiray’s office (that’s pronounced Beer-Hurray! for those of you who may be new here) detailing all of the possible side-effects of chemo. Included are things that everyone associates with chemo, like nausea and vomiting, and also a list of other great side-effects like mouth sores, craggy skin, etc. However, I’m feeling pretty darn good. No mouth sores, no craggy skin, no projectile vomiting. Is this all you got, Chemo? Sheesh! Chemo-Schmemo–what a bunch of hype!I’m sure that there are some folks who do suffer all those horrible things described in my literature, but I am fortunately not one of them. At least not yet. Yea me! The first 4 days or so are the worst, and even those aren’t all that bad. The biggest side-effect is probably fatigue, but that’s getting better every day—and gee, I’ll probably be back to my normal energy level just in time for next week’s chemo.

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About the hair…
I still have my hair. Each day I tug on a little piece of it to see if it’s ready to fall out. So far it hasn’t. When it does start to fall out I will shave it off. My plan is actually to hack it off and donate it to Locks of Love, a charity which provides wigs to children who have permanent hair loss due to a variety of medical conditions. Mini Me has decided to cut about a foot of her hair off to donate as well.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve heard a lot from well-meaning folks about wigs. Especially with the older ladies, it seems to be the most traumatic aspect of my whole ordeal. Note to everyone: I’m way more concerned about killing CANCER than I am about having to be bald for a few months. Furthermore, I’m also more concerned about losing a piece of my body which will not grow back than I am about losing my hair, which will. Okay, I feel better now, let’s move on.

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At chemo, I had to take a shot in my gut to boost white blood cell production. The shot alone costs $3600. No I didn’t add an extra zero. Is that crazy or what? What does it have to be made from to cost so much–the venom of a microscopic spider that produces only one drop’s worth every 150 years? Anyway, my friend Angie has been in the hospital with salmonella since Monday. Now, in theory, my immune system is all suppressed and I’m not supposed to be exposed to a bunch of germs, so I was not allowed to go to the hospital. Yeah right. I’m thinking, “Hey, I took a $3600 shot in my gut, and I’m gonna get my money’s worth.” So, I went to the hospital anyway. I had Mini Me open all the doors so I didn’t have to touch anything, and I didn’t get within 6 feet of Angie, plus I slathered on the hand sanitizer for good measure. Guess what? I’m just stinkin’ fine.

I’m starting to feel more like my stubborn self all the time. Yea me.

 

Why My Hubster Rocks

Here we are, Day 6 of the Ultimate Chemo Challenge. Doing pretty good so far. Still haven’t spent any time with my head in the pot. Does that mean I’m winning?

Friday, my friend Jodi came and took me out yard saling. Bless her soul, I know I had the personality of a turnip. Chalk it up to not thinking real…..fast, I guess. I haven’t been feeling quite like myself the last couple of days, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t even BUY anything while yard saling! Good grief—who is this person?

Saturday was our traditional Mother’s Day Herb Faire/plant shopping day. Unfortunately, Mini Me has come down with a fever, and since the next few days are when my immune system is at its weeniest, I had to ship her off to Peg’s house for the day, then to my mom’s house for the night. Gee, I bet I’ll win Mother of the Year THIS year. Mother’s Day for our family is historically bad, however, and at least I can be thankful that Mini Me didn’t drop 10 sheets of drywall on her knee and end up in the hospital, or fall out of a second story window.

Normally I buy, in addition to herbs, my weight in bedding plants. This year I’m not so ambitious. Who AM I? Sheesh! Adding to my distress over not being myself is the fact that I can’t taste things very well. I’m really starting to feel old. Here I am, taking medication to counteract the side-effects of the medication I took to counteract the side effects of the chemo, bones aching, hair getting ready to fall out, not much sense of taste, and ready to go to bed at 7:00 most days. It’s like The Ghost of Future Illness has spirited me away to see what life will be like for me one of these years if I don’t straighten up—or even if I do.

Okay, so back to yesterday’s excursion. In case you all didn’t know, I’m madly in love with my hubby. Even more so since he’s been jumping through all sorts of hoops to try to make me feel normal and perk me up. If I can’t eat, he doesn’t eat (or at least not in front of me), if when I finally decide I want to eat and the only thing that sounds good is pizza, then to Pizza Hut we go. Because he knows I like to yard sale, we stopped at every yard sale in Terre Haute yesterday. He’s given me many massages for my poor achin’ bones, and he tells me I’m beautiful, although I tease him about whether or not he’ll still think so in another week when I’m bald. Best of all, he still says I’m his best friend even when I have the personality of a turnip. Yeah, all of that happened yesterday. And we also got some plants.

And I Cleaned That Toilet for No Good Reason

Did my first chemo treatment yesterday. Don’t believe the hype…it was SO not the big drama most people think it is. Really, I think the most traumatic part was weighing in, but that doesn’t have any shock value left considering some of the other things I’ve had done lately. Had to have blood drawn, met with Dr Birhiray, then went to the chemo room. They started an IV, gave me fluids first, then steroids (RAAAHH! Do I have a beard yet? Oh well, it should fall out with the rest of my hair soon enough.) which made me feel cross-eyed for a while. That mostly passed, but I still felt a little cross-eyed when I left. 

Hubster ran out and got a pizza from Bravo! for lunch. Yummy! I’m highly motivated by food, so you know I might just decide that I like chemo and be trying to go back after my 16 weeks is over just so I can have a yummy lunch.

The ladies in my area were a hoot. One of them is about my age, I think, which is cool. Unfortunately for me, they were all either on there last or second to last treatment, so I won’t be able to hang out with them much longer. Like I said, they were fun and it’s good to talk to people who are going through the same stuff, but just a little ahead in the process.

Total time in treatment, about 4 hours.

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Funniest thing I said yesterday…
After we left, went to Wild Oats for some groceries, and were heading down 86th Street, I was telling Hubster how I was feeling kind of dopey still.
I said, “I’m not thinking real………………………….fast.” Bear in mind that all of those dots equal about a good solid 5 seconds of delay. So read it again and count to get the full effect. He just busted out laughin’ and said, “Reeeaaallly?”

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Welcome to another installment of “My Friends Rock”. I came home Monday evening to a big honkin’ box from Chicago—a care package from Jeff and Marie. It was just stuffed with all kinds of goodies like coffee, teas, balsamic vinegar, pasta, chocolate covered macadamias (took those to chemo with me), fuzzy socks…and a bunch of other cool stuff. Jeff & Marie are foodies like we are and they were just so speakin’ my love language.

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Okay, so you all are probably wondering how I’ve been feeling since treatment. Well, not too bad. The worst thing was that I barely slept last night. Not sure what’s up with that because I felt very fatigued. I’m pretty drained today too, but no nausea thanks to my meds. Woo hoo! And just to prove that I’m not lying (Debbie, I know what you’re thinking) my mama was here earlier and she commented that I looked pretty good and was doing a lot better than she thought I’d be. I’d say I’m feeling like a do when I have a bad cold…except minus the snotty head. Tired, a little achey, a little warm, a little slow mentally. No projectile vomiting or anything like that. Dang! And I cleaned that toilet for no good reason!