Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My blood counts came up and I am off "house arrest!"  So happy to be able to get back to a somewhat normal life for the next couple weeks before starting Round 2, which will be July 10.

There is a lot about cancer that no one tells you.  Perhaps it is because people either don't want to admit they have diarrhea nearly every day while on these drugs or that the pain and anxiety that comes with so many of these tests, infusions and transfusions is at times overwhelming.  Perhaps, however, it is because people just don't want to hear about it so no one talks about it.  Whatever the case, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that I never knew.

Losing my hair is a great example of this.  I understand that everyone loses their hair and I was prepared for that.  I cut my long hair shorter and shorter over the months and weeks, had bought several cute hats, scarfs and wigs and had really tried to disconnect from my hair.  So when the day came this week when I was in the shower and noticed handfuls of hair coming out, I was not surprised.  What did surprise me was that it didn't all fall out at once.

I am not really sure what I expected, I guess more like a scene from a cartoon where all the leaves of a tree just fall to the ground at once leaving nothing but an empty tree trunk with limbs.  Nope, that's not what happens.  It apparently takes days for the molting process to complete and the hair comes out all willy-nilly, some from here, some from there.  I have patches of baldness all over my head.

The first day it started coming out Jody was at work so I called my son, Hunter, to come shave my head.  He came over and we made a plan but first I wanted to reassess the situation and make sure I wasn't jumping the gun. He and I went into the bathroom and standing in front of the mirror I started grabbing my hair to see if any of it would come out.  Oh, it was definitely coming out.  The bottom of the sink was soon covered.  Hunter was laughing, as was I, but each of us for different reasons.  Hunter because he really thought the look of surprise on my face was funny every time I pulled more hair out, and me because it was a nervous reaction. I just kept pulling more hair and more hair until finally I reached up, grabbed onto both sideburns, pulled down, looked at Hunter and said, "These are my sideburns!"  Hunter laughed so hard he nearly fell over.  I was so grateful he was there.  He finds humor and sunshine in nearly everything.

I decided that this was a big moment so I Skyped Jody and Face Timed Adam, unfortunately I couldn't get in touch with Jordan, so we made a video to send.  Hunter then shaved my head. It was surprisingly underwhelming.  

I feel good, every day is better.  I am getting stronger and trying to keep moving and stay active.  I am grateful for the time I have had to heal and for the patience it took of others while I did just that.  My Mom was awesome running my grocery and prescription errands and Hunter was fantastic at being totally available every time I called in need.  My main caregiver, of course, did a wonderful job of taking care of me.  He didn't laugh at me when I jiggled from all my water weight, held my hand when I wasn't feeling well and kept me company as I was shut in the house.  I am forever grateful for your care and love, thank you, Jody.

During these past couple weeks, it was especially good to hear from friends through calls, texts, messages, etc.  Thank you for continuing to support me.  I know it is easy to get busy with your life and put off reaching out as we all do, but for those of you that did, you really helped make a tough time more bearable.  I love you all.

ANGEL UPDATE:  My UPS man made a delivery to my house while I was in the hospital. My mom happened to be there taking care of Tucker.  She retells the story that when she answered the door the UPS man made a comment to which Mom's response was, "I'm her mother."  He then apparently went on to ask about me and told Mom to tell me, to "Kick its butt!" 

That may not seem like a lot, but it really meant so much to me.  This man, a stranger to me with the exception of dropping off packages occasionally, really meant it when he said that he would keep me in his thoughts and prayers.  I appreciate more than anything the sincerity of his words. It is a tremendous feeling to know that strangers care and are concerned for you.  Perhaps we could all take a page from the UPS man and give a minute to a stranger as you never know what effect you may have on that person's life.

Lynda Wolters