Sunday, August 1, 2010
Round Two - No Hair! August 1, 2010
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 lip...it'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 saddle...at 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!