October 1, 2019 - The Fog is Lifting
Today is a good day. I have spent the last week, well, actually eight days in a state of nausea. We were told that the effects of chemo are cumulative, and it is proving out to be true.
But, today is a good day. It is the first day I have not needed nausea meds since my chemo infusion last Monday. My head feels clearer, my thoughts are less scattered. They tell you that you will get "chemo brain" while on chemotherapy. It is true. It is a real phenomenon. Ask Dr. Google if you don't believe me. In fact, I asked him for you. If you are interested, here is a quick link brought to you by the Mayo Clinic that explains it in detail. With chemo brain, you can't conjure up the simplest recollection, something that would roll off of your tongue is now suppressed in a fog. I liken it to pregnancy brain, but foggier.
The short-term memory recollection is frustrating. Jamie may argue that this occurred before chemo. He used to chalk it up to me being blonde. We would laugh. Especially because I paid good money for being blonde.
Why am I talking about being blonde? Well, everyone knows that a few weeks ago, I cut my hair really short, preparing for the big event of hair loss. So, last Thursday, I took it further and had Sarah buzz me with the #2 clippers. Jackie was with me and documented it with pictures, but I must admit, I was too chicken to post and share. I'm pretty sure it was vanity. I'm very certain it was vanity. It wasn't because I didn't look bad-ass with my G.I. Jane crew cut, because I did. In full transparency (is there any other kind), it kind of sucked that my buzz cut was NOT blonde. I have spent $$$$ of dollars on highlights pretty much my entire adult life to be blonde. I do realize that my hair does not grow blonde. But, at a moment when I am vulnerable, I get to see pretty dark hair. It was rather shocking for someone who has been blonde for, say, ever.
Yes, I know this post is borderline cray-cray. I have breast cancer, and here I am talking about hair color. Just hang with me...
**Side note: If you have had cancer and chemo, or know someone close to you who has, almost everyone cites this as one of the most traumatic events in this crappy journey.
The Thursday buzz cut was necessary. My hair started falling out in earnest on Saturday. NEWS FLASH: your hair does NOT fall out all at once. This may be obvious to some, but I was not processing this fact. In retrospect, this makes perfect sense to my less foggy brain, but on Saturday, I was not having it. My expectations were totally wrong, and all my fault. I really didn't consult anyone on the details and intricacies of cancer hair loss. So, instead of waking up Saturday with a shiny bald head, I ended up with a strange head of hair. When I took a shower Saturday morning, a LOT of hair came out as I washed it. It was very sobering to see your hands covered in your hair and then watch it swirl down the drain. I am so thankful that I decided to get a buzz cut and not have to deal with clumps of long hair swirling down the drain. But, at the end of that shower, I was left with patches of dark hair in weird places on my head. Hair does NOT fall out uniformly. Who knew?
Some may ask, "why didn't you just shave it bald?". That does seem like the easiest path, but it is not recommended. If the hair follicles are dead and not "growing" new hair, the last thing you want to do is leave hair in a follicle below your skin. Those hairs need an itsy bitsy bit of length to properly fall out. Again, OVER TIME, not all at once, LOL. That is now noted. Lesson learned.
In addition to the drama trauma over the weekend, my head hurt. My scalp hurt. As the hair fell out, the better my head felt. I was willing my hair to fall out faster, if only for relief. Here comes Dr. Google to the rescue.
Did you know that a lint roller has many uses? Thanks to Dr. Google, I learned it was an exceptional way to aid your hair falling out. A lint roller?!?! Who knew?!?!! In fact, if you roll it gently over your head, it will help those suckers fall out. I do not have pictorial evidence, but just visually imagine Jamie gently rolling a lint roller all over my head. It was quite a sight! It was quite effective!
So, as I sit here on Tuesday, I am still not shiny bald, but almost. More importantly, my head feels so much better.
I haven't worn any of my wigs because my head has been too sore to try. Frankly, I didn't want to get any little black hairs in my fabulous BLONDE wigs. Vanity strikes again! However, if I continue to feel better this week, and I should, I will give my girls (aka wigs) a test run in public. That is a little exciting, but mostly scary. In the meantime, I have been going au naturel or wearing beanies.
Today is October 1st, the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the month of pink, the month of reminders to get your ta-ta's checked. Get your appointments scheduled.
Here I am. I have Breast Cancer. I am Bold.