I’ve Been Robbed

Perhaps you guys have seen the recent news story about an American family’s Christmas photo that mysteriously ended up in advertising for a grocery store in Prague.  Apparently, this lady had sent out Christmas cards with the photo of her and her husband and their two kids last year.  Recently, an old college friend of hers was bopping down the street in Prague, when he spotted the life sized image in a store window.  So he emailed her.  Turns out, she doesn’t have a clue how the picture ended up there.  (This scenario immediately made my think of the stolen video camera in European Vacation—but I digress.)

 I can guarantee that, in spite of having posted my picture on here numerous times, this would never happen to me.  Oh, I’m not saying that the Kroger of Lithuania wouldn’t cob onto my picture—you know, The Foob  may be hocking croissants in France this very minute. It’s just that if they did, I’d never know, because I certainly do not have friends fancy enough to be motoring around Europe.  Moody’s friends are lucky to get to the Indiana State Fair on vacation, let alone someplace exotic.   Deep Fried Twinkie, anyone?

 However, I recently discovered that, indeed, someone had lifted a picture off of this blog for use on another website.  A picture of me.  I first noticed this because WordPress keeps track of incoming links.  When I saw this one, I was like, “What is that?” and of course I clicked through to see for myself.  Turns out it’s one of those generic websites that purports to contain info about a topic, but is really just a collection of links to other sites.  Wanna know what this one is about?  Coloring Hair After Chemo.  Wanna know what picture they used?  Well, see for yourself.

 Um, yeah.  I’m bald in that picture—except for the maimed, purple and grime colored, rubber spiky ball I’ve got stretched over my cranium.  That’s great!  You have no idea how funny that is to me.  That somebody earnestly seeking information about coloring the hair they just spent the last 6 months growing would come across that picture just slays me.  Look at me—I even look like I could be trying to sell you something.  “Yes, ladies, with Dr Follicle’s Instant Hair Growing & Coloring System, you too can look like you’ve got a nasty purple spiky ball on your head!  [insert shiny tooth bling here] Simply apply the two-part formula, and then sit back and enjoy a glass of sweet tea.  By the time you’ve quenched your thirst, your hair will look like Molly’s dog chewed a hole in a purple, spiky ball and you pulled it over your scalp!  It’s that simple!” 

 (Also available in Canine  Breath Cancer Black, and Hot Flash Fuschia!)

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Hair I Am…18 Months Later.

me011409

Today is exactly 18 months from my last chemotherapy treatment.  I thought that there might be some folks out there who wonder what 18 months worth of post-chemo hair growth looks like, so I snapped a picture.  That’s my “I have HAIR!” face.  I’ve also had, if I remember correctly, 5 haircuts, not including the few times that I shaved my head post chemo to get rid of that chemo clear fuzz.  Yes, my hair IS naturally curly, and yes, it was that way before chemo.

 Also, check out the noob.  What, you can’t tell which one it is?  Mission accomplished.  And speaking of the noob, while I am still not allowed to really exercise, the noob has it’s own regimen prescribed by Dr Grasee.  No, the noob isn’t on the elliptical or taking a zumba class.  Instead, I have to push it around twice a day.  As Dr G put it, I’m supposed to shove it “north, south, east and west.”  Sometimes I even sing it song while it works out, like maybe a little Matchbox 20 or Salt N Pepa. You know I’ve got a whole medley worked out of push themed tunes. 

 I’m sure you’re wondering why I have to exercise the noob.  Well, all expander/implant reconstructions have a risk of capsular contracture.  The body forms a capsule around the implant, just as it would with any foreign object, and that’s fine.  But sometimes, these capsules decide to turn to a life of crime.  And so they contract, and become hard and painful.  When that happens, the implant has to come out, and we start over from scratch.  Since I had radiation, I’m at increased risk for this.  Like, there’s a 50% chance this thing might go bad on me.  So, I have to exercise my noob twice a day as opposed to the standard once a day. 

 Mini Me finds the idea of noob exercises disturbing to say the least.  But then again, Mini Me is disturbed by a lot of this, especially my willingness to show the new construction off to my girlfriends.  At church a couple of weeks ago, Angie wanted to see the newpple.  So, I say come on into the bathroom and I’ll show you.  Mini Me started to follow me, because she hadn’t heard what I was actually doing.  Unfortunately, Hubster gave her a heads-up.  I think it would have been way funnier if she’d have come bopping into the restroom and then actually asked why Ang and I were in the handicapped stall together.

 Last but not least, check out my cool-beyond-words necklace, sent to me by Shirley in South Africa.  Is that not awesome?  I have the coolest readers.

The More Things Change, the More They…Change.

My, my, how things have changed in a year.  This time last year, I looked like this:

 butch001

Yeah.  That’s right.  Like a cancer thug.  You want a piece of me?  You think I’m trying to write a bad check at Big Lots?  Need to make sure I’m not impersonating someone else at Family Video?  Grrr.  Back off, Jack, before I take those hoop earrings off and open up a can on your behind.  Now give me that Sandlot dvd and step aside.

 

 

Fast forward to a year later and I look like this:

 me120208

Okay, maybe only slightly less scary because I have hair.  I have HAIR!  Yay!  You have no idea how glad I am to have hair again.  Especially since it’s cold outside.  Seriously, like, bald wasn’t bad.  I could pull that off.  And the super-butch buzzed look wasn’t too bad either.  But then all the in between stuff that I had going on last winter.  Yikes.  Glad that’s over.

And other things have changed this year, too.

 This time last year, me and The Foob pretty much went everywhere together.  Of course, now, he’s enjoying his retirement.  He’s got that fancy RV that he follows the Grateful Dead around in and all.  That is, when he’s not spending the winter in Florida with the rest of the snowfoobs.  But I cherish those times we had together—primarily because they provided me with so much material.  And so, as a tribute to our friend, The Foob, I present to you last year’s caroling foob entry, originally published December 3, 2007:

 santa-foob

Isn’t the Christmas season fun? I love all of the festivities this time of year. No other time is so full of joy, giving, and opportunities to rewrite tunes that everyone knows in my own warped little way. I triple dog dare you to join me in a little impromptu sing-along. Don’t give me that nonsense about how you’re at work and you can’t sing with me, you Christmas carol-hatin’ weenie!

All together now….

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m tellin’ you why
Santa Foob is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re peeking
Trying to see which one’s fake
Though he looks natural under clothes
He’s a Foob for goodness sake!

So, you better watch out
And look me in the eye
He’s callin’ you out
‘Cause you’re not too sly
Santa Foob is coming to town!

There—wasn’t that FUN?! Isn’t it reassuring to know that all my creative genius is used for good, instead of evil?

Retro…or Just Plain Wrong?

Is 80’s hair back in style?  Not late 80’s ginormous hair.  I’m talking about late 70’s, early 80’s hair.  The kind that required a big comb be stationed in the back pocket of your Jordache jeans at all times.  I ask because my hair appears to be regressing, and I’m hoping that its new look will just happen to be coming back in vogue.  Otherwise, I’m going to look like I never left 1983, or at least never wanted to. 

 As we all know, I’ve been through more hairdos in the past year than most people have even had since 1983.  Yet, I’m doomed to look like an outdated dork unless my 7th grade hairstyle is suddenly somehow trendy again.  Sometimes, I think that bald wasn’t so bad after all.  At least when you’re bald, people usually grab the clue that you didn’t actually choose to be that way.  Even when your hair is first growing in, it’s pretty obvious that you just finished up chemo, so you really don’t feel like a dork. 

 However, once you get a few months down the road, it’s not so obvious anymore.  Makes you feel like you need to wear a sign at all times explaining that your head is a work in progress.  “Please excuse my light bulb hair—6 months ago I was bald.”  I’m way past the light bulb stage now, but my five inch long locks have their own set of issues.  They’re at the place where leaving them curly results in Richard Simmons hair.  Yet, trying to straighten them requires more patience than I would have even if I used my entire life’s allotment.  Besides, I’m a homeschool mom, remember?  I’m running on the half cup of patience I had to borrow from the next door neighbor as it is. 

 Lately, I’ve been trying to use a round brush the approximate diameter of a can of pork and beans to create a sort of in between look.  I’ve found that if I round brush it under while drying, what I end up with after some goop and manipulation is a sort of generic Everymom look.  That’s okay, I guess, but I recently decided to try round brushing it up instead.  In my mind’s eye, I was envisioning some kind of cool retro flip thing.  What I ended up with instead was my 7th grade hair, except instead of being parted in the middle it’s parted on the side. 

Maybe I should just own my 80’s hair, regardless of whether or not it’s actually back in style.  You know, I could just jump right into that whole look with both feet.  After all, it’s no big deal to starch my shirt collar up, right?  And, I’m sure I can find a pair of penny loafers somewhere.  If only I still had the purple parachute pants that went with that shirt—dang it!  Because, of course, I’d still fit into them, right?  I mean, my driver’s license says I still weigh 118 lbs, and that’s an official government document, so it MUST be right. 

Now, you might be concerned that I’d be an embarrassment to my family, but fear not.  Why, Hubster still has a pair of Eastlands.  He never has quite left the 80’s himself.  And just the other day I taught Mini Me how to peg her jeans.  We’re all set!  Look for us next time you’re out and about….we’ll be the ones drinking New Coke and driving a K car.

Holy Scare-Hair, Batman!

Went to see Dr Birhiray yesterday—that’s pronounced Beer-Hurray, in case this is your first visit here.  The appointment was pretty uneventful, except that I had Hubster take a new picture of me and Dr B, since in the old one I’m bald.  Unfortunately, I forgot the camera, so Hubster used his cell phone to take the picture, and doesn’t know how to get it off of there.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to post it sometime in the near future.

It also occurred to me the other day that I haven’t uploaded a picture of myself recently.  After several months of attempting to straighten my hair, it’s finally gotten to the point that I think I can walk around with it curly without looking too scary.  Or maybe it’s just that my slothful nature got the best of me and I couldn’t handle having a hairdo that was so doggone involved for crying out loud.  And besides, I’ve always thought it would be fun to have an afro, so why not? 

At any rate, my ‘do these days is kind of a cross between Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees, and Richard Simmons.  Like, you know, old school Richard Simmons, not middle aged Richard Simmons with the ‘fro over thing.  (Though he’s got a mighty impressive fork, dontcha think?) 

 Think Whitney Houston, from about 1986, before Bobby Brown slapped the curl out of her hair-except white, and with no talent. 

That’s the look I’ve got going. 

 

 

Hubster keeps saying things like, “Your hair’s kinda crazy.”  (He doesn’t adjust very quickly to change, you know.)  And I’m all like, “Yeah, I just made it that way—I like it!”  But, otherwise, I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it.  I think it’s just too large and in charge to ignore, and really, what kind of jerk is going to be hatin’ on a cancer girl’s 1 year post-chemo hair growth?  So, pretty much anything anybody says is going to be positive.

My curly hair and I will be reporting for surgery tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM.  Ugh.  6:30.  Without the benefit of coffee.  That’s just wrong.  I certainly hope Dr Grasee is a morning person.  I’m sure not—I can’t even complete a sentence first thing in the morning, let alone perform surgery.  Add that to my top ten list of reasons I’m not a doctor.  Right alongside the fact that I’m the absolute least sympathetic person you know.  Really.  Most of my appointments would consist of me telling my patients to suck it up.  “What?  Your arm hurts?  Well, it’s not bleeding, so suck it up.”

Fortunately for me, my doctors are all way nicer than I am.

Getting an Earful

Prince called and wanted his 80″s hair back, so I had to find a new ‘do.  You may recall that I’d previously attempted to use a flat iron without much success.  Oh sure, the hair was straight, but not in a good way.  It’s been a few weeks and my hair has grown since then, so I decided to give it another shot.

The flat iron, for those of you who don’t know, looks like a pair of electric hair tongs.  Spring loaded, it stays in the open position until you insert a piece of hair and squeeze it shut.  Then you pull it away from the head, allowing the hair to slide through the two sides, effectively being ironed along the way. 

I’m sure that for people with naturally straight hair, this is a very quick and painless process—making their hair super-straight.  But naturally curly hair doesn’t want to give up its identity that easily.  And so, each small piece has to be ironed again, and again, and again. 

This is where the process starts getting dangerous for me. 

You see, I have a very limited amount of patience.  Especially for things like ironing my hair.  Unlike Hubster, the engineer, with infinite attention to detail, I just want to get it done and move on already.  Hubster doesn’t iron his hair, but you can bet if he did, ALL of the individual hairs would be independently straightened.  In fact, their straightness would probably be measured with a tiny, calibrated hair straightness measuring device.  “Quadrant C-16 has 2 degrees of camber…”  Do you have any idea how LONG it would take him to get ready?  Sheesh!  It already takes forever, as he has to inspect and cleanse every pore individually, and brush each tooth 652 strokes.  I can’t imagine what the results would be if he did more than run a comb through his hair.

But, that’s not me.  I’m all about get it done and move on.  Mini Me will tell you, that I sometimes label the cockamamie ways she goes about doing things as “grossly inefficient.”  Get it done.  Move on.  And so, when it came time to iron my curly hair into submission, the repetitiveness quickly wore on me.  It was especially difficult to straighten those pesky, curly parts that tried to hide behind my ears.  Those pieces are shorter than the top, and hard to capture in the electric hair tongs.  I quickly lost patience.  My movements began to gain speed, until the fateful moment when…

YEEOOUUCH!  I did not grab my hair.

I grabbed my ear.  Yup.  Clamped that puppy right in between those electric tongs, I did.  And while I quickly pulled the flat iron away, the damage was done.  Burns, both front and back.  Of course, with my hair being so short and all, there really wasn’t a good way to hide it.  Especially from whoever happened to sit on my right.  Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh, it’s probably not that obvious.  I bet people don’t even notice.”  Oh yeah?  Every single person I’ve told this story to has had the same response: “I was wondering what had happened to your ear.”

It’s a good thing that I’m well past that self-conscious, afraid-to-look-like-a-dork stage of life. 

I’m glad I have enough hair to iron, but I’ll be even happier when it’s long enough that I can let it be curly.  This hair ironing, ear frying stuff is just grossly inefficient.

Welcome to My New Home

I keep getting compliments on my hair. And people keeping saying, “It’s coming in curly!” Yes, that’s because I have naturally curly hair. Sometimes I think I must have been darn forgettable prior to chemo because no one seems to remember what I looked like. Not only are people incredulous that my hair is coming in curly, but they actually tell me, “I thought your hair used to be straight.” A couple of weeks ago I asked Angie, “Hey, did I exist before I was bald?” You know, chemo has really jacked up my short term memory (more on that later…unless I forget to write about it) but people, even *I* remember what my hair looked like!  Sheesh! Of course, this is at least partly rooted in the belief that when people do chemo their hair comes back in different. Personally, I think this is a bunch of baloney. When you hair is a half inch long, any amount of wave it has will make it seem curlier than when it was longer and stretched out by its own weight. And if you used to color your hair, then of course your new sprouts won’t be the same color. Sometimes people say it comes back I thicker, but really, how would you know? You just spent the last 6 months bald!   

Last week I had my stitches removed, and met with Dr Birhiray. The last time I saw him was after the Tribune Star interview, but prior to the article actually being published.  I’d told him about it, and he asked me to bring him a copy next time. So, I took a copy when I went for my check-up. Dr B insisted that I autograph it, as if I am really some sort of celebrity. He’s probably got it listed on eBay for 99 cents right now with 2 minutes to go and no takers.   

I also griped to Dr B about not losing any weight. After weeks of working out, I weighed in one measly pound lighter. Of course, it doesn’t really help that my appointments are always right after lunch. And since we were running behind, lunch consisted of Steak N Shake. So there I was, griping that he’s making me fat with all this Tamoxifen, while the smell of cheese fries still yet lingered around me like a deep friend aura. But the way I see it, I’d have had those cheese fries if I weren’t working out, so the fact that I have been working out consistently should definitely overcome one meal at Steak N Shake.  I should still be ahead of the game. And I should be ahead by more than one stinkin’ pound!  

About that memory loss thing…you’ll be amused to know that I did indeed forget to write about it. It was only when I went back and read through what I’d written that I said, “Oh yeah!  Memory loss!” Welcome to life with me, post-chemo version. While it can be frustrating, it’s actually kind of amusing to me because it’s just so ridiculous. My long-suffering hubby can attest to the resemblance I bear these days to Dory from Finding Nemo. The only thing that has kept him from losing his mind is that he knows me well enough to finish most sentences for me. Still, that doesn’t help when he asks me to do something and I say, “Okay” and then immediately forget.  I guess it’s a good thing he loves me. 

There are some folks who will say, “You can’t claim chemo brain anymore.” Oh yeah?  Come hang out with me for a couple of hours and see if you still feel the same way. Ask any of my friends how many times I say things like, “Did I already tell you this?” Sure, it’s not like the very slow mental processing I had going on while I was actually doing chemo, but neither is it normal brain function.  At least 70% percent of the time I can’t think of the words I need to complete an intelligent sentence. My conversations are peppered these days with thingamajigs, doojiggers, and watchacallits. The names of people either completely escape me, or are crossed up with someone else. For example, the other day I commented to Mini Me, “Man, Emeril’s trying to kill me!” She said, “Emeril’s trying to kill you?” I just busted out laughing. I was actually not talking about Emeril at all. Instead, I was talking about Gilad, the exercise guru, whose dvd I’d done the previous day.  How on Earth I crossed up those two, I’ll never know. Mini Me astutely observed that indeed Emeril is the very opposite of Gilad.   

Clearly the synapses are not firing correctly.