Friday, January 30, 2009

Chemo #3 Over!

Chemo #3 was yesterday. It was an exhausting day. Mostly because I have a cold, that, looking back, I had been working on all week. By the time I went home from work Monday & Tuesday, my eyes were totally bloodshot & it was all I could do to cook up a cup of Trader Joe's Harvest Grains for dinner (and omg, yum!). So I was especially tired & blaming it on the chemo, but Tuesday night I went to bed having that dry feeling behind my nose & Wednesday I woke up with a full-on cold. All in my ears! So annoying. I fell back asleep after sending an email to work that I wouldn't be in, and didn't wake up until 12:30! So I really needed it.

Yesterday I went in for chemo. It was fine. It was more exhausting than usual, but I guess that's because of the cold. But good news, my oncologist said the lump seemed smaller & softer than before, so hey! Alright! And I guess it does feel a little smaller & less distinct. I have to admit I haven't really been taking my own advice (feel your boobies!) lately, b/c I'm still uncomfortable feeling that side. The axillary dissection did some nerve damage to the skin, so I still can't feel soft touches on the skin. It seems like the skin can't feel, but the underlying tissue can, so I can detect deeper touches, but it's still uncomfortable (mentally, not physically), so I'm bad. Do as I say, not as I do! But anyways. Things seem to be going well, so hooray!

And now it's time for a nap. Stupid cold!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Long Time, No See!

I realized I haven't been on here in awhile! I've been busy trying to get my pictures organized on Shutterfly. It's sort of organized, and I've set up a whole site (who knew you could do that!) over thar. So far I've posted my pictures from the Liz Needs a Lid party. The first bunch are the entries from the Locks O' Liz contest - many thanks to Seth for working his Photoshopping (er, or whatever photo editing program he uses) magic on my still-behaired-head to make me look like this guy (remember him?). I spent a lot of time putting in smart & witty captions for the photos, and you can't see them when you look at the pictures in slideshow mode. If you click on the first picture, then you can see it & also you can advance to the next picture. Anyways, in case you can't read the captions next to the teeny pictures in the first picture, they are (top to bottom, left side first): "Jah no dread!", "I pity the wool!", "Tried to make me go to chemo, I said no, no, no!", "I'm gonna git you sucka!", Harrycanoe, and Tyler, too!", "Oh! Me so hairy!" The last of those is the winner of the contest for best interpretation - Brooke managed to make me look both skinny (thank you!) and either terroristy or like Abe Lincoln.

The next group of pictures are most of the gifts I got. I have to say, everyone, I am completely overwhelmed by everyone's generosity. All the hats & scarves & wigs! I really have a great group of friends. But I already knew that - this was just confirmation!

And special thanks to Candy for hosting & putting out a fabulous spread! I really really appreciate it. Everything was fantastic - here's to the hostess with the mostess! And here's to many more (non-disease-themed) parties at her awesome pad! Thanks again, Candy, you're the best!

Coming up: Thursday is chemo #3. Wish me luck! I'm still getting my period, apparently. How annoying! That was one of the things I was looking forward to. The other thing was that I was sort of hoping to lose my appetite - at least a little bit! Ah well, I guess be careful what you wish for!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hooray! Internet at Home!

Ok! After far too long, I've finally got internet back at home, thanks to Fernando at Verizon (can you hear the drums?). Which means I'll be able to actually post an update. I have much to tell! Pictures of my new wigs (thanks guys!) & a party at the-hostess-with-the-mostess (Candy)'s house last Saturday will be forthcoming. At some point. Btw, if you ever get a chance to go to Candy's house for a party - do it! She puts out an awesome spread. Thanks, Candy! So quick update: chemo #2 was last Thursday & I'm tired. Yesterday was a bad day. I did a lot of staring at my computer screen, uncomprehending. Bleah. I feel a bit better today, but still tired.

In the meantime, here's my dad mocking my condition.

I guess you could say I deserve it, given all the hours we rotten kids devoted to making fun of his receding hairline, but I don't choose to see it that way. I can't believe I beat both my brothers and my dad to baldness (although I still have some stubble).

And here's the bros modeling my new hair. I bet you never suspected I was related to like Billy Ray Cyrus' back-woods cousin.

Sorry, guys, it had to be done!

And, last but not least, here's my niece, looking like an entirely different person - so weird! It's amazing what a difference a highlight & flat-iron job can make!

And the amazing part is that's the same wig! Sorry, cranial prosthesis!

Friday, January 09, 2009

An Elegy for Hair

My hair, my hair, my hair. I have always taken my hair for granted, I guess. I just always had fantastic, beautiful, thick hair. It's been a part of my identity in ways I never really thought about. I was lucky enough to not have to worry with such things as thickening or volumizing shampoos or conditioners or mousses. I still used them back in high school, but hey, it was the 80s. A friend called me Lion because of how big I would tease my hair. Ever since I was old enough to make the decision, I chose to have long hair. Or, at the least, be in the process of growing it out. And out and out and out, I did. In college, my hair was down to my waist. The first time I cut my hair of my own accord was after college when I decided I needed a change. I cut over a foot off. I only wish I had known about Locks of Love back then. And, just to emphasize how much hair I actually have, after cutting my hair off, I stopped having the headaches that would plague me from time to time back then. I would get several a year. After cutting it, I would get maybe one a year, if that. I started growing it out again almost immediately. By the time I moved to Bermuda, it was down my back again - not as long as in college, but still pretty long. Again, I was ready for a change, so I cut it shorter than it had been since kindergarten - almost a pixie cut (except it's too thick to lie that flat). That time I had heard of Locks of Love, so I donated over ten inches. Again, I started growing it out almost immediately. Last year, I decided it was time for a change again, so I gradually cut it shorter & shorter. I had been getting it highlighted (meaning I couldn't donate to Locks of Love), so there was no one big haircut that time. I had started growing it out (sans coloring) earlier this year, with the intention of getting it long enough to donate to Locks of Love again when I got my diagnosis. I guess I'm just happy that I didn't get it to that long point before it started falling out. The falling out has started, though, so I need to face facts. I'll soon be bald. I won't have my protective cover anymore. Nothing to hide behind. I cleaned my sink off, wiping the strands of hair off that are starting to fall, more and more every day. Soon there will be strands on my pillow, and more washing out with the shampoo. Down down down, swirling around the drain, falling on the counter, swept into the trash. At some point I'll have to pick up those clippers and take start cutting. Taking control of my fate, I'm sure some people would call it. Giving in to the inevitable, others might. I don't know if I'll feel if either of those are quite right. I just know I'm not ready for it. I guess nobody ever really is. And while I appreciate the various "I bet you'll be a good-looking bald lady", it doesn't help. Nothing really does. Nothing really will. Not until I'm either used to it or it starts growing back in. So in the meantime, I'll be that lady. The one with no hair. Oh, that poor woman, she must be having chemo. It must be cancer. Tut, tut, and all that rot. So adieu, cheaveux. It's been a fun ride. I'll see you on the flip side.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Woah, 2009 Already?!?

I've been meaning to write another post (God knows I had enough time with the back-to-back 4-day weekends I had), but somehow I just didn't. Well, that's a lie. I wrote one on my computer at home, but I still don't have internet there, and I didn't get around to going to the library to upload it. So here's a quickie post, during my lunch break & before my 2nd chemo on Thursday. I was tired for awhile, then I had a painful mouth for awhile (like I'd been eating really crusty bread - no actual canker sores, but a little torn-up feeling), then I had crazy heartburn for a few days. Now I feel almost back to normal, but now I'm starting to lose my hair. Not the hair on my head, surprisingly enough, but, uh, below the equator. Also under my arms. It's pretty gross. It'll be nice when all of that is gone (completely - who wants to be patchy? Anywhere on their body?), but that means that I'm coming to the end of the road head-hair-wise. Siiiiigh. I'm not happy about it & I'm trying to squeeze a couple more days out of it. But my scalp is hurting (like when you let down a ponytail after having it up all day), and if I tug at a lock, I get a lot more coming out than normal. So I'm wearing a little cap I made for the time being. I figure a) it's keeping my hair where it should be & b) it helps a little with the hurt, since my hair isn't sitting out there, susceptible to any random breezes. So keep your fingers crossed for me that I can keep it on for a couple more days. I'm not prepared to let it go yet!