a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Posts Tagged ‘hair’

There is a fine layer of dust all around me

Posted by wendy on 2011/12/10

It’s been a while since I updated here, and really–that’s so lax of me, because years from now, I’m going to look back on this blog and think…what happened to November? And…since I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, chances are, November of 2011 will be a mystery to me unless I document it. ūüėČ

So, without further ado, in November of 2011…

…I started a new job and I LOVE it. It still affords me the time to do my online social media gig, it’s bringing badly needed extra income into the household, and it gets me out of the house and into real, actual clothing every day. I was getting far too comfy in my jim jams, people. That had to stop.

Stoopit hair will NOT do what I want it to do!!! GRRR.

…I went home to Michigan and spent Thanksgiving with my family. I don’t even have words for how awesome that was. M flew over, and we road-tripped it up from Alabama to Michigan. Giving him a tour of the highways and interstates of my youth was so much fun. He met my Dad and my Grandma and he slipped right into my family like he’d been there all along. We left Saturday morning and on the way back stopped off to spend the day doing a bit of urbex with some really good friends of mine in Detroit. Many amazing and awesome images were made that day.

…I have watched in a bit of glee, but mostly horror as my hair continues to grow into cute little curly rings around my head. I remember people telling me that my hair would grow back curly and maaan, that made me all angsty and angry, because I have never wanted curly hair. And, I will admit now that when people said it to me, I thought “Nope. Not me. NOT MY HAIR.”. Because even after all this time, I am still firmly convinced that I can pretty much make my body do whatever I want it to do through sheer force of will. I wonder if I will ever learn that I cannot do that? I kind of hope I don’t. Stubborn optimism is not a bad trait to have, I think.

…I would like to say that I’ve been emotionally and physically preparing for my surgery next Tuesday. But, what I’ve really been doing is avoiding thinking about it.

…I have lost friends and gained friends. It all equals out in the end, and if I’ve learned nothing else this year, it is this: If it is toxic and/or makes me feel bad, I do not want it. Period.

…I have gained a very unwanted 10 pounds–I’m not going to the gym like I should, and the tamoxifen has a way of making me feel very, very lethargic. It’s frustrating, but I’m not going to freak out over it, because I know it’s a temporary way of being. I’ve started a new job, I’m taking drugs that make me tired, but, it’s only been a very short time, and I will figure out a way to work around it and get back where I’m used to being.

Time. I have like to think I have that now. It makes me smile.

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Relief and Gratitude and a House Guest

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/09

I have a mouse. ¬†He is freaking adorable, but he is not allowed to live in my house so the game of Catch or Kill is on. ¬†I prefer “catch”, but if I have to resort to “kill”, I’ll do it, because mice aren’t very good house guests at all. ¬†They use your good towels on their muddy feet, don’t put the little wrappy thing back on the bread, and put empty cartons back in the fridge. ¬†I’m pretty ruthless about empty milk cartons.

I’ve spent the last week in a kind of frenzy of gratitude and excitement and fear. ¬†The fabulous people who particpated in the boobiethon netted me $2,555. ¬†You know, ¬†the ‘thon has taken its fair share of flack over the years, because Komen was the main recipient (and for the boobies)–but, in case anyone ever tries to criticize them because the women who need it don’t benefit–send them to ME. ¬†Send them here: ¬†¬†I am a breast cancer survivor and the Boobie-thon has just paid for the next 4+ months of my COBRA. ¬†I don’t have the proper words to say how much this has meant to me. ¬† I’ve tried thanking everyone who donated to me (I think I thanked a few of you twice–haha) and it feels like it was just this¬†litany of “thank you, I’m overwhelmed, and OH MY GOSH!”. ¬†hahaha. ¬†If I babbled to you, I apologize. ¬†I really was completely overwhelmed. ¬†Thank you Mel for doing such a fantastic job as the organizer, and thank you Statia, for nominating me. ¬†I love you guys so much. ¬† I’d be remiss not to mention that Pete’s image ¬†went¬†up to $350, and my very good friend Jason is also auctioning off a shot for me (it ends Tuesday). ¬†I have such amazing friends. ¬†I really do.

Don't freak out--I was stopped at a red light when I snapped this.

There is a sense of relief that this little bit of attention is kind of over for me now, though. ¬†I have to admit–I felt like HIDING a lot last week. ¬†I have no idea how I suddenly became The Shy Girl, but oh maaan—I just felt so completely undeserving of all of the kindness directed my way. ¬†I couldn’t look at my stats, because I’m so used to the 20 or so people who read this and when there’s suddenly 700 views on your blog…it’s scary to feel so opened up and vulnerable. ¬†I’m not used to it. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Overwhelmed.

Physically, I’m doing really well. ¬†The hot flashes haven’t gone away completely–but, they have subsided. ¬† I think I had one yesterday. ¬†Hurrah for Effexor! ¬† My hair–much to my chagrin–is very curly. ¬† DO NOT WANT. ¬† Seriously, I actually had a moment yesterday in which I missed my wigs desperately. ¬†I feel terribly ungrateful for disliking my hair, because–helloooo, at least I have hair, right? ¬† WHINGING! ¬†I should stop that. ¬†I’m just super lazy and hate fixing my hair every day. ¬†Seriously I do not get how short hair is easier. ¬†Ponytails are easy. ¬†Massive amounts of hair gel are not.

What a difference a week can make!!! ¬†For reals, people–my biggest complaint about my life right at this second is that I have to fix my hair. ¬†I’m going to stop and just enjoy that for a minute or two.

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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:

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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.¬† ūüėČ

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.

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