Saturday, October 20, 2012

I am no wonder woman!

So much time has passed since updated my blog, I'm sure I'll be leaving some things out.  I foolishly thought I would write more frequently, having more to say, once I started back on chemo.  What was I thinking?!

I was NOT remembering how crazy the shop is in September & October.  And I was not realizing how much having to go for chemo once a week would take from our work time, and out of me.  And let's not forget it's football season and Danny is head coach of the KFL Junior Texans, which is like having a 15-20 hour per week part time job on top of his 50+ hour Pink Ribbon Shop workweek ... which means I am responsible for all the other kid-running, appointments, etc.  I AM TIRED!!

A little history from the past couple months ...
Like many chemo patients do, we ended up shaving my head once my hair started coming out in handfuls and combfuls.  It was so bad that at a windy high school football game one night, I really thought it was going to start blowing away!  Once I mentioned it, my David said "If that happens, you can wear my hat."  Such a sweetie!  My hair didn't blow away under the Friday night lights, but the continual shedding of hair just got to be gross.  Everywhere I looked, there was my hair.  After the shaving, it was pretty shocking.  Even though I had been through it before, and knew what to expect, it was hard seeing myself that way.  I looked like an alien.  I didn't care for wearing a wig the last time, and this time around I had decided to not waste my time and money getting one.  I was planning to "rock the bald look!"  But being bald has proved much, much harder this time around.  I have surprised myself by not handling it well.  At all!  Firstly, my head is small.  Proportionally too small for my body, I think.  Secondly, a few days after the shaving, my scalf developed an itchy, pimply, all-over rash that I couldn't possibly even think of baring in public.  I researched the issue online and diagnosed myself with folliculitis, a condition of the hair follicles that can occur with chemotherapy-induced hair loss.  My chemo nurse suggested I try some sort of exfoliative action with a washcloth and follow that with a mild moisturizer.  That didn't work at all.  Next I tried T-Gel therapeutic shampoo made by Neutrogena.  This was recommended by some forum writers, and it had evidently worked well for them.  T-Gel had an unusual scent that made me smell like I just visited the dog groomer's!  And it didn't work at all on my condition.  It was time to see a doctor.  My new oncologist at the MD Anderson Woodlands, Dr. Coscio, referred me to a MDA dermatologist.  Dr. Drucker prescribed Clindamycin solution and another, mousse-like med to apply to my scalp.  These have worked really well to clear up my rashy head(!) though not completely.  Sometimes I do feel up to "rockin the bald look," but it's still a little outside my comfort zone.  I find that if I wear a head wrap/scarf for any length of time, I get a headache.  Even with the soft cotton ones.  At home, work and in the car I usually go naked-headed.  My family doesn't mind, my coworkers understand, and in the car I feel somehow protected behind my sunglasses, as if no one can see my bald head while I'm driving!

Weirdly, I actually have new hair GROWING on my head!  It's not good hair ... it's sick chemo hair!  Very light and sparse fuzz.  (I asked Danny to please tell me if the fuzz is gray, as that would just cause me to lay down and die ... He was quite puzzled as to how that could bother me, considering I'm virtually bald, LOL.)  Anyway, some people have commented on the fact that I have hair that's growng, and I gotta admit, it's doggone strange, and I haven't had an explanation for it until I asked Dr. Drucker.  The derm doc says it's because the chemo only attacks hair at a particular stage in the growth cycle, and that it actually takes 3 months for the chemo to get it all.  I certainly don't remember that from last time.  I remember losing ALL my hair, all at once.  This time, I've had to shave my legs since starting (though I think that'll be the only time.)  And I still have most of my eyebrows and eyelashes, which helps me look less like a cancer patient by being able to wear mascara.  Scratch that, it makes me FEEL less like a cancer patient ... no matter what I do, I still LOOK like a cancer patient.

Also, I find myself obsessively shopping online for every head wrap, head scarf, bandana, and chemo hat known to womankind!  I've tried several styles and have found a favorite, but I don't feel really good in anything.  You just can't hide baldness ... without a wig ... which I am now considering getting.    I didn't think it would be this hard!  Perhaps my problem dealing with the hair loss is because of the distinct possibility that I will always be on some sort of chemotherapy.  That maybe my hair will never get to come back.  This chic who was planning to ROCK THE BALD LOOK is no wonder woman after all ...

Speaking of wonder woman, I'm discovering LOTS of ways that I am NOT her.  As I mentioned earlier, my life is not able to slow down.  Not sure if it's that or the chemo, but probably a combination of all things that are just wearing me out.  I am non-stop, early mornings to late nights, almost every day of the week.  Sometimes its just too much.  I take comfort in the fact that these things will pass.  If not, we'd have to hire more people at work and consider cutting back on some of our kids' commitments and activities.  It's just a rough time of year.  Breast cancer awareness month, football season (youth and high school games) plus chemo equals stress stress stress at both home and work.

Enough for now!  Gotta go get ready for tonight's events.  Thanks for reading.