a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Posts Tagged ‘hair loss’

Hey, those fancy movin’ pictures are nifty!

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/04

Seriously, I should have prepared something instead of trying to wing it.  It’s never pretty when I try to wing it.  🙂  But, hey, that’s me up there, being my usual awkward self, trying to thank people and rambling on about hats and hair instead.  I am blessed with the best friends in the world, the best family in the world–and hey–I am also bless with meeting the best total strangers in the world.  If you’re reading this now, just feel free to assume that YOU are awesome and move forward with your life secure in that knowledge.

It’s Day 4 of the Boobiethon and they’re going strong over there–there’s a tweeting contest happening right now that you should totally try to win, and of course, they need both boys and girls to donate pictures.  My dear friend Pete is auctioning off one of his gorgeous pictures for me, and I am beyond overwhelmed by all of this.  I feel like I keep repeating the same thing over and over–thank you, thank you.  But, it is sincere and it is from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you.  Thank you to everyone who’s donated, thank you to everyone who’s passed my site along.  I feel so completely undeserving of such amazing support, and I look forward to the day that I can pay it forward.

I am so lucky.  I am.  I can never say it enough.  Thank you.

Posted in a little bit of c | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Combustible Lemons.

Posted by wendy on 2011/05/04

Tomorrow is Chemo #8!  I can’t believe it’s my very last chemo.  There is a surreal haze surrounding me this week.  The final chemo, and then next week, I leave for 2 glorious weeks in England with M and I keep thinking…”Really?  REALLY?  That’s madness, because I cannot be finished and I am certainly not well enough to travel!”.  And, yet…there you go.  Done and leaving.

In the realm of “Are you kidding me?”–I am lamenting the very recent loss of my eyebrows and eyelashes.  (they’re not entirely gone–there’s just enough left of each to look really, really stupid.  grrr.)  I’m a bit disappointed this didn’t happen earlier, because I was kind of thinking that the end of chemo meant this would all start growing back (and it IS growing back on my head–I have a very fine layer of down covering my head at the moment), and I was so relieved that I, at least, kept my eyebrows.  Ah, well.  There goes my ability to look surprised or super angry. Unless I draw it in, and if I do that, I’ll have to decide on a mood and keep it all day–and where’s the fun in that?  Maybe I need to invest in some stick-on eyebrows so I can switch it up as my mood changes.

I’m bald.   I have half of an eyebrow over each eye.  Most of my eyelashes are gone.  But, I have to shave my legs every. single.day.  There has to be someone I can complain to about this, because I am so planning to give all these damn lemons back:

Posted in a little bit of c | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

I yam who I yam! Who yam I? Popeye? Oh, hey, he doesn’t have any hair, either! Although, my forearms aren’t nearly as large.

Posted by wendy on 2011/04/09

One word titles are so hard to do.

I had a comment on a shot of me wearing my wig in which the question was asked “Why hide who you are?”.  I had to think about that comment a bit–because I DO choose to wear a wig on the days that I don’t feel like being ‘the bald girl’.   When I’m wearing my bandanna, I am immediately recognizable as a chemo patient–hell, I was approached twice yesterday by people who wanted to know what kind of cancer I had–I am happy to tell them and to talk about my experiences when this happens, but seriously–my life could quickly become The All-Cancer Channel if I allowed it to be.   We call this the “little c” around here, not the big one.  I don’t think wearing a wig ‘hides’ who I am, I actually think I am more me, more Wendy when the wig is on.  I look into a mirror and I see ME again.  Losing your self-identity is so easy to do when little bits and pieces are constantly whittled away by an illness.  My wigs (all of them) have helped me find that ownership of self that is so important to me.

I am not defined by cancer.  Period.  It’s actually a bit insulting to me that anyone would want me to carve out who I am around my illness.  Some days, I wear a wig, some days, I wear a bandanna.   I am learning that I am always me, inside–where it really countsno matter what my outward appearance is to the general public.

Has cancer changed me?  Yes.  Obviously.  You look your mortality in the face and it is bound to change you.  My perspective, my priorities, they have shifted.  But, I refuse to make this the most important thing that has ever happened to me.  I’m not going to allow that.  There are so many other wonderful things in my life that are important.  In fact, I see what IS important so much more clearly now.  This cancer is a blip, an interruption, an unwelcome interloper.  My son is important, my love is important, my family is important.   I’m going to get through this, I’m going to beat it, and I’m going to get back to the things that do define me.

pfft.

Posted in a little bit of c | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Oh. Seriously.

Posted by wendy on 2011/04/01

You know, there are so few upsides to the entire chemo thing.  Of course, one of the biggest downsides is that you lose your hair.  Now, I would venture to say that an upside of losing your hair is that you tend to lose ALL of your hair.  ALL. OF. IT.    I haven’t had to shave my armpits since, oh…January?  I can’t remember.  And, there was this glorious period in which shaving my legs was a distant memory as well.

HOWEVER.  In the past 2 weeks,  shaving my legs has once again become a daily chore.  To which, I say….”Really, Universe?  REALLY?!  Of all of the hair on my body to start growing back like gangbusters–it had to be on my LEGS?”.  Yeesh.   I mean, I was  actually ENJOYING that bit.  I know life isn’t fair and all that, but it really does feel SUPER UNFAIR that my legs have more hair on them than my head.

My eyebrows are still hanging on for dear life, and for that, I am completely grateful.

Whilst–I do love that word. “Whilst”.  Whilst whilst whilst.  Well, not so much now, because I just used it too much and it doesn’t feel like a word anymore.  Like pants.  Pants pants pants pant….wait.   What was I talking about?  Oh yes!  Whilst I am on a whinging kick, can I just say that I’m super upset that it’s freezing cold outside and I cannot take my cutely bedazzled and sparkly head out in public?

More sparkles. I feel like this would totally be appropriate for both ballet and beach.

 

Posted in a little bit of c | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

1 down, 7 to go

Posted by wendy on 2011/01/28

I need to write about this or I’ll forget–I’m already hazy on the detail of my treatment yesterday.   I don’t think it’s chemo-brain setting in, because I usually can’t remember what I had for lunch.  The memory has never been stellar.  😉

Dr S. said the treatment would last around two hours–all told, I was in the clinic 3 solid hours.  That’s a fair chunk, but not nearly as much as I was expecting, so yay.

Before I left the house, I used the numbing cream they gave me.   I put a dab on my finger–about half of what I’d use on my toothbrush if it had been toothpaste–then, I smeared it on all around my port (I forgot to get pictures–I’ll do that next time.  Oh future frantic googler, I am trying to get as many pictures here as I can, because fear of the unknown is the pits.).  I did not rub it in–it didn’t seem to want to anyhow.   I thought I was doing it wrong–and seriously,  that’s the one thing I did not want to fail at today, because this was my first port access, and I was nervous enough as it was.  Once it was smeared around, I tore off a piece of cling film and stuck it on my skin over the top of it (it’s to keep it from rubbing off on the way to the clinic–not very fancy,  but very effective).

Clearview Cancer Institute is full of amazing, caring people.  Some are survivors themselves–and getting to know them has been such a pleasure.  So, there’s always greetings and smiles and jokes at the door when I arrive (and everyone loved my new hairdo, so that was fun).  New hair, you say?  Well, honestly, why not at this point, eh? (all credit to M for the color choice–Smart British Boy!)

New 'do!

I had to get my blood pressure taken/weight (down 1lb!  eek.)/etc, but the momentous bit was getting blood drawn because they used my port.  OH MY GOD I LOVE MY PORT.  I LOVE IT.  Once day, I will write a sonnet to my port, and I will call it “Ode to My Port’.  There was no pain–I felt a tiny little…pinch?  sting?  No, not that bad.   A twinge, maybe.   That was it.  No needles in my arm, no tears.  Wanna see my port all ready for use?  OF COURSE YOU DO.  That’s why M took a picture of it.  I really need to paint little hearts and flowers all around it to let it know how much I love it and how sorry I am I ever doubted.  heh.

 

port
chemo port

 

When it’s not being accessed, my chemo port looks like a little disk under my skin.  When it’s being accessed for use, my chemo port looks like a little yellow butterfly on my chest.  A butterfly with a really long tail.  M and I were trying to figure out how to get a picture of me holding the tip up to my mouth so I could make a silly vampire cannibal joke, but before we got the chance, the nurse came in with my meds and tossed a metric assload of information at me about everything that was about to happen.   And, here’s where it gets a bit fuzzy, because there is so much they give you.  The best thing I remember is how non-scary it was.   They’ve got chairs and recliners all over the room for patients to sit in, blankets if you’re cold–and I had the added bonus of listening to M and A banter back and forth, which made both me and the nurse laugh at how silly boys are.

I don’t know what to call the little “tail” bit of my port-a-cath.  Hang on, I’ll go find out–oh hell, no I won’t–I’ll just get a better picture next time, because I like calling it the tail (OF THE BUTTERFLY–what?).  So, the tail has those little fiddly bits on the end for hooking up IV’s or shooting directly from a syringe.  I was surprised that a great deal of my meds were giving to me via a timed injection with the syringe, rather than through an IV.  I was given antibiotics and saline and a steriod and nausea meds and the two biggies, Cytoxan  and Adriamycin (looked like a huge syringe of red kool-aid, heh).  The saline injections were weird, because I immediately smelled and tasted them.  They didn’t smell of salt water, though–it was more medicinal.  No pleasant by any means, but not bad. It was, all in all–pretty pleasant.  Nothing hurt, nothing was overwhelming, I had M next to me holding my hand for the majority of it, A spent his time entertaining pretty much anyone who was there to listen.  I have such amazing men in my life.  I hope they both know how much I appreciate them.

The nurse warned me that Cytoxan can turn your urine red or orange–which is a good thing, because the first time I used the toilet after my injection, there may have been a bit of panic.

All in all, the first treatment is really, really easy.  In a scary way, because now I’m all “ooo..that was okay, I can do this.”, and I know that the effects will eventually catch up with me, and there will be moments in which I think “Oh, hey.  I can’t do this.”–but I will.  And I will hopefully be stronger for the experience.  I know I will be back in the happy little low-risk-of recurrence demographic, and that alone will make all of this worth it.

Posted in a little bit of c | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »