Sunday, August 1, 2010

Round Two - No Hair! August 1, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Hope you're enjoying the beautiful "middle" of summer! In Crescent City (or just outside where we live), the day started with a marine layer that burned off around noon. it's brilliantly sunny right now, in the high 60's...yep, you should be jealous. I know it's at least 80+ in Sacramento and surrounds. Am sorry for you bakers!

I've made it through three weeks of chemo - the second dosing round, plus a week - and am doing better this time. When I met with my oncologist before this dosing, she made some changes to try to reduce the "crash" I had on the Friday after the first round. She thought (and I think she was right, not that it matters) that part of being totally out of commission on that first Friday was due to the steroid withdrawal that kicked in. So, she reduced the amount of steroid I took post-chemo and it seems to have helped. I have more energy (can you tell?), though did spend most of yesterday sleeping and resting.

Here's the big news: no more hair. It started to fall out exactly 14 days after the first chemo and came out in huge handfuls. I got my hair cut really short a couple of weeks before I started chemo to make it even easier to handle, but was still surprised at what a big mess all those hairs make. By Thursday, I looked like Brad Pitt in the movie where he ages backwards (not cute though; just old and wispy). Took to wearing scarves and suddenly EVERYONE who didn't already know what was up is looking at me funny and asking Jim questions behind my back. As Jim says, now I look sick.

Attached is a pic so you can see what the shaved look is like - not my best look, though I think I have a strong resemblance to my brother Mike. Scary for one of us, hey Mike? The good news is that shaved feels so much better than not. Really. When it started to fall out, my scalp felt like I had a second-degree sunburn and the hair actually seemed to hurt right at the scalp level. At least now there's no tugging and the sunburn feeling is receding.

About the picture: Jim insisted on putting a pillow behind me for "background." That makes me look like all I do is lounge in bed - and, really, I make it to the bathroom and the couch! And, the red spot over the left side of my's been there for a few years and my docs and I have treated it like the other brown, sun damaged spots on my face. With the chemo, however, this one spot has turned into a red, scabby thing. Jennifer says it may be a pre-cancerous something that's getting some treatment with the chemo. We're "watching" it at this point. Just what I need, right?

BTW: the dogs and cats don't notice any difference with or without hair. But, Booker and Salvadore (our parrots) are quite skittish. They seem to know that it's me at some level, but the combination of no head "feathers" and scarves/berets have them all confused. They never did like me in hats anyway. Who's smartest? I personally never use the phrase "bird brain" as a derogatory.

Am hoping to be able to work this next week until I leave for the Bay Area again for round three. This time, I'm going to drive myself down and Jim's going to take care of house, pets and his own work! If I had to do it today, driving down alone would be difficult - I'm still really wiped out. But, I think by Thursday I'll be back in the least I was the first round. Joy is going to drive me home after the chemo/Neulasta as I haven't mastered enough energy to do that one yet.

Continued thanks to all of you for the love, cards, good wishes, gifts, and help! I wish I could see you all and spend time with you - but just don't have enough energy. I'm 1/4 through the chemo part! Yeah! Am thinking about what great trip might be in store for Jim and me when all this is done...ideas welcome!


  1. Hi, Sue... love your new doo! (And your amazing sense of humor preserved through all of this...)

    Many people tell me when their hair grows back after chemo, it changes... for the better. Some get curls they never had before...

    Poor birdies. They know when your feathers fall out you can't be feeling that well...

    Take good care of yourself. Thank you for the updates, and please let us know if there's anything we can do!

    Love Jody and Greg

  2. We really hate to see you having to go through this, as there is nothing we can do to help. I really love your new hairdo...have considered doing that myself...without the chemo. Anyway, always thinking of you & praying for you. Thanks for the updates.
    Joe & Marie

  3. Well, I for one think bald chicks are sexy! I loved that one in the original Star Trek movie.

    Keep getting better. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Kick Jim in the butt for us.

    Best wishes,
    John and Donna Pritchett

  4. KC said that you are the new princess, so I am sending princess love! You look beautiful, you are smiling.
    Rene, friend of Mike and KC. And sender of princess love!

  5. Sue,

    You know you're always beautiful to me. (But what would these pictures be without Dad's "posing.") Just want you to remember every day how much I love you and that you're in my heart all the time.

    By the way, I think you have the face for the bald head, but do we get to see a couple's shot?

    Love you and Dad both so much!

    P.S. I'm thinking Greece, Italy, Prague, somewhere in Europe...

  6. Sue you fabulous woman!

    I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at your picture and comments. You are my hero and I was SO glad to see you a few weeks ago.

    My love and thoughts are with you babe! And your husband, what's his name?, too.

    Don Whiteside

  7. Susan--You are a wonderful, brave and beautiful woman. I want to offer my services with anything! I make monthly trips south and could easily taxi you to anywhere in the Bay Area you need to go. I can even hang out and help you.

    And it's not quite Europe, but the door to my flat in Carmel is open anytime you and Jim want to take it over for a weekend, or week, or...

    Richard and I send our very best to you and are looking forward to having you over for dinner again when you're up to it.

    Laura Wiens