the next day

December 7, 2006 § 8 Comments

The day after my first chemo treatment I was scheduled to meet with my Oncology Social Worker, Hester Hill. Hester earned her stripes in not one, but two battles with breast cancer. When she talked to me about hair loss and counting down the days, I listen, slacked jawed and nauseous.

Somewhere between 14 and 21 days after my first treatment, they tell me I will lose my hair. The betting group puts money on day 17. December 4th + 17 days = December 21st. There is no elegant exit or dramatic moment when my hair falls out at once. Instead it will come out in patches when touched or brushed. I can look forward to a constant shed. I’ve arranged for my cleaning lady to come every two weeks.

Pretending to have some control. I have an appointment to get a haircut. Not the usual cut and color, blow dry and fluff with styling gel and a touch of hold. This haircut will be an inch or two shy of a buzz cut and if Ed will see me I will be his first client on December 16th. The plan here is to minimize the subsequent molting on the new furniture.

For the record, there is so much practical advice out there about losing your hair, sleep with a towel, throw a screen over the drain, do spare the plumber unnecessary trauma.

After Hester’s appointment, I was in for a shot of bone boosting Neulasta, standard treatment when dense dosing chemotherapy. That’s chemo every 2 weeks vs. 3 weeks. No surprise I opted for the express lane as long as they accept my ez-pass and white cell count. If this phase can be over in four months rather than six months, I will do my best to tolerate cannon balls in my belly and debilitating fatigue.

Hair loss, bone-boosting shots I forgot to draw blood for the genetic test yesterday. Yes, I just walked out of the hospital happily by-passing the parking clerks because cancer boys and girls get 3 hours of parking for free. I went home. I must have called someone. I forget whom. I must have cried to someone, I forget whom. I went on line to research wigs. I got into bed and cried, Frannie lent me her softest pillow to hug. That helped.

After learning that my health insurance company will give me a $500 allowance to buy a wig, I’m actually looking forward to the adventure with DD and LB in tow. For sure I will try on the dreadlocks, the blond bombshell and the blue black asian number. Pictures forthcoming.

Love, Momo


§ 8 Responses to the next day

  • Penny says:

    You are truly remarkable. What a privilege it is to read this blog. I love you and think of constantly. Positive thoughts ….


  • Faye says:

    I read and cried. Someone asked if I had made comments after your blog. How could I. What could I say? Did I feel afraid that it could be me, no. Yes but scared for you. What can I do to help, what can I say that won’t upset you? Here, where I live people just die- no one talks about cancer – except if you have muney and most don’t. They have no special unit or testing facility. Maybe the one hospital that warns you not to leave food because of the rats.
    And if you get sick here is about spirits and Obias. How much simple to blame someone in your village.
    Maybe blame me, maybe I was mean when you were 10 or 8 or 6 and I wished you ill. Oh, how I wiIh I could take it away. I am so sorry- and I love you.

  • Caryl says:

    I know a very good looking orthodox Jewish woman who responded to my rude question of “hey, what’s with the wigs?” with a “I’m wearing one”— obviously i had no idea— shall we contact her and find out how one gets fitted?

    And small world…Carolyn Ross is a friend of mine as well— and cousin of another close friend, etc….

    Keep up the attitude— and the beeutiful writing. Will be happy to share my “Modge-Podge” with your when the urge to collage strikes.

  • julie ozaydin says:

    Art and cancer, cancer and art. Funny how cancer can be an inspiration of sorts. It is all LIFE.

    Your words are beautiful and inspiring. My eyes well up with tears or else i’m belly-laughing. My creative act in those days was caring for the newborn Henry, doing loads of laundry, making another smoothie or a plate of steamed broccoli over pasta, just a smidge of asiago. I so appreciate that you are creating a docmument of your experience.

    Lots of practical solutions for the quirky effects and side effects… If you’re taking Zofran(ondansetron) for nausea, we( and mostly Lisa) have some thoughts on that one!
    Much love

  • Nina Schwarzschild says:

    HUGS to you.

  • susan says:

    Hugs to you. Can’t wait to see the dreadlock wig photos. Love, Susan and Rick

  • David and Claire says:

    Your grace and wit are truly moving. As Julie says in her note, we’re either crying or laughing, or perhaps both together. You are very much in our thoughts.

  • Edie says:

    a friend of mine, Erin, got 2 wigs when she went through chemo – one very much like her hair, and one the blonde she thought she always wanted to be. The blonde one bordered on (tasetful) floozie and was very fun because of. she got her own hair now..
    tragic. yes. ability to look it in the face as you are, to blog about it ( is it a verb?), perhaps is antitragic, definitely powerful – not unlike seeing the toxins, then washing them out with tender fluids.
    put on your wighat baby..thinking of you,

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