It finally happened! My hair started to fall out last Tuesday, Nov. 30th. It was just a little at first. I could pull a single strand and it would come out way too easy. I started to worry because I knew I was going in to the hospital on Wednesday, and didn't want hair all over my room and bed, but I also didn't want to jump the gun and shave it off any sooner than I had to! Somehow I couldn't remember how quickly it came out at 16, so I decided to wait.
The hospital called to tell me they may, or may not, have a room for me on Wednesday, maybe Thursday. Supposedly a lot of people put off chemo over the Thanksgiving holiday (can we really blame them??) and it was causing a bed crunch in the cancer wing. So now I was even more concerned about the hair... to wait, or to shave...? Papa Skip was needing to plan which nights he'd stay at our place to help with the kids and when to go back to the hotel, making things a little stressful. To top it off, the hospital doesn't tell you when they have a bed available until several hours before. I know, it doesn't actually sound too stressful, but it felt like it at the time!
While waiting to hear from the hospital, I sat at the table with Skip and Adam and showed them just how easily my hair was coming out now. Within 24 hours it had gone from pulling one strand out to a small handful with one swipe!
|Brings back memories of my Dad's stache!|
Finally, Wednesday at 5PM I received the call, "How soon can you come in?" Oh no! Of course I wasn't ready! Hadn't packed, showered, eaten dinner, or decided on shaving! I said I could come in at 8 and that seemed to work for the nurses well enough. Knowing how easily my hair was coming out within such a short time of it starting, I decided to take it all off! Adam got out the clippers...
Papa Skip held the video camera while I pulled up a chair in the kitchen and sat the kids down to a snack (so they wouldn't step all over the falling hair). Within ten minutes it was done! All shaved up, like GI Jane or my personal favorite, Evey Hammond (V for Vendetta, thanks for the analogy Alison ;) Mykee and Evan were so cute! They kept saying, "You look like a BOY!" And laughing like it was the funniest thing around, as toddlers tend to laugh at anything remotely silly. We are a little concerned about the kids getting hold of some scissors and deciding they want to look like Mommy, so we're keeping the scissors out of reach for awhile :)
Everyone has been extremely kind in complementing my new look, thank you so much! I have to say though, I still don't know how to respond when I'm told, "You have a nice-shaped head." Can I really take credit for genetics?? But thank you all the same, it's nice to know my head shape doesn't make me look weird on top of bald!
|Adam's good luck charm|
|Doesn't the lamp add to the healing ambience of the room...?|
|View of NYC from my room|
The next step in the cancer fight is to get my blood back to normal healthy levels and get another CT/Pet scan to see if the tumors have shriveled up. If the scans come back looking good, I'll go in for 2-5 days (outpatient) to have my own stem-cells removed from a catheter that will be put in my chest (gross!). The cells will be frozen and I'll go back into the hospital (8th floor, private room- woohoo!) for a 6 day session of high-dose chemo followed by the actual stem-cell transplant and 10-12 days of recovery in a hospital apartment (to keep me away from outside germs that could cause serious illness).
I had a friend tell me the other day after reading this blog that I made cancer and chemo look easy (something about smiling in all of the pictures :) I think she knew it is not truly easy, but I've been thinking about her comment- it must look easy because I, along with my family, have been the recipients of a tremendous amount of assistance, taking all sorts of forms- from cards with kind words of encouragement, to baby-sitting two unruly kids, to washing my dishes and everything in between! The sincerity of the people surrounding me in sharing their time, money, affection, and talents has made this journey easier for me and my family to go through. There is no way to repay the kindnesses shown to us over the past month, but I can tell you all that I am extremely grateful for everything. With the steady outpouring of love, prayers, and support from friends and family that I've received in plenty, I know the events over the next month can't go anything other than perfectly well! So to all of you out there supporting me in my fight to kick cancer's butt, thank you for helping make it easy(-er) on me!