In this last week or so, I have had a few women come in the store and they are getting ready for their first round of chemotherapy. Purchasing head wear and trying on wigs because they know they will be losing their hair. I have been thinking of what to write for this blog, nothing has really grabbed me. I looked back at the book I wrote to see what I was experiencing at this time 4 years ago. Interestingly enough, I too was going through the same thing.
Written February 16, 2013
So it begins: real, noticeable side effects are starting. I dodged the nausea and the mouth sores, but the hair is starting to go! It’s been almost three weeks since my first round of chemo and the hair is now falling out. The good news for me: I have a ton of hair so it will take a while. The bad news: Les says he has enough pets that shed! At least I hit the litter box.
The hair loss is only noticeable to me. No one will really be able to tell, unless they are cleaning the drains in my house. I knew this would happen, the doctor said she had only seen one patient that did not lose her hair. The patient was morbidly obese. The doctor knew the chemo wasn’t working, but if she increased the dosage the patient would have died. It was reassuring to know the chemo was doing what is was supposed to do.
I called my sister. She’s a hair stylist, and she was more that ready to shave me. I think I will wait until the tufts of hair are gone. She’s bringing her razor home over the weekend for back up! Too funny. Right now I am kind of excited. I have a great wig and lots of head gear, so I am prepared. I think perhaps when I am completely bald I may have a slight breakdown, but until then I am doing good.
Overall, this treatment deal is not too bad, other than my lack of energy. I am fighting a cold, which with any luck means my blood counts are at a good level. I am going to the gym 5 days a week and I even make it to boxing once or twice. Life is static right now and I actually have no complaints. To top it off, it’s a long weekend so that is one extra day in bed for me. Fabulous.
Next week I will undergo round two of chemo – 2 down, 4 to go. I anticipate there will be no nausea this time. I assume after this round, my hair will drop very fast, but if that is the only fallout (ha)I am up for it. Take that cancer.
Looking back now, I realize how quickly that changed. As my hair fell out, it hurt and my scalp was so tender. When I finally went to get my head shaved it was directly after my second round of chemo. I went to the salon my sister worked at – huge mistake. As women with long locks were having their hair coloured or styled, I was having my head shaved. My sister and I were bawling. I highly recommend doing this in private or after salon hours. And, just so you know, I am happy to shave your hair for free at The Unexpected Gift – in private.
The next round was not as easy as the first. I assumed incorrectly.
Written February 24, 2013
I hesitate to write today. I think chemo is affecting me in a cynical, hypocritical way. I suppose life throws heavy punches at you, you rethink choices you have made, decisions you could have thought out better. Time spent on frivolities that are not necessary. I am rambling and I am cranky today. Everything hurts, I am queasy, and to top it off I am bitchy. Good combination for a Sunday with the family.
This morning at Griffin’s hockey game all the moms were chatting. Like women do, I am guilty of this myself, they were talking about their looks. Short hair, long hair, I like my hair blonder. We are never happy with what we have; I wish I had straight hair; oh I would give anything for your curls….ahhhhh. This is what we talk about! Out loud! I moved away from the group, as I knew I would pull the ‘I have no hair’ card and I did not want to play it. At the end of the game, the conversation continued. I get it, I understand the discussion; have been a part of it, but right now it seems so inconsequential.
I look in the mirror at my patchy scalp, but I still see me. It is not just a face, or hair and skin, it’s a whole being. What shines in our eyes, what makes us smile; the people we surround ourselves with, make us who we are. It’s too bad we do not realize it sooner in our lives so that we can concentrate on what is truly important – our overall health. Not working out so our bodies look good, but working out so that our bodies are healthy. Being who we are, not who others want us to be. Does it change at some point in our life? Do we grow up and realize that we squandered valuable time on insignificant stuff? I am trying to figure these things out. I do not want to let time go by and miss anything.
Oh Tara you write so beautifully and you’re kinda funny too :). No one told me it would be so so painful loosing my hair, I felt like I had been hit along side my head with a bat and it lasted for a few weeks. No one ever told me how raw or naked I would feel without my hair, I guess somehow I hid behind it. No one ever told me how great a cool shower or warm breeze would feel in a bald head once I embraced my warrior like baldness. No one ever told me I’d be spotted like a leopard for a fairly long time and that I wouldn’t like this look very much. That convo at the hockey rink, I’m sure I was there and at so many of those kinds of conversations that no one but a cancer patient will understand feels. Thanks for doing what you do Tara and doing it so well. Xo