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What I Gained & Lost This Week


The hair that came out this evening and my hats. The bandages are from the port procedure.



Well, since my last blog, I have gained and lost. I gained a port to make chemo easier to administer and I have lost my hair.


First of all, the port procedure. I had that done on Tuesday (yesterday as of this writing). It went okay, but it definitely wouldn’t make “My Favorite Things” list if I was Julie Andrews. It was done at a place on North Meridian Street in Indy, not at Ascension (St. Vincent).


To be honest, after I woke up out of the stupor I was under while the procedure was happening, I was cranky, and I really haven’t been cranky during this whole thing. Honest. But the tape they put on over the bandages was pulling at my neck and every time I swallowed, it felt like I was pulling something that shouldn’t be pulled in a body. Since I was laying down from the surgery, I wanted to sit up thinking that would alleviate the pulling on my neck, but Andy couldn’t figure out how to work the bed and there was no one around to help. When the staff did come, they said I could leave whenever I wanted, but I would need to leave in a wheelchair. By that time, I just wanted to get out of there, sit upright in the car and go home. I got dressed and stood around waiting for someone to come with a wheelchair, but after waiting several minutes and seeing the car right outside the window, I told Andy, “Heck with it, I am walking to the car.” Did I mention I was cranky, and irritable?


My plan had been to try a new place to eat after the procedure and to stop at a TJ Maxx on the way home. But, because I was cranky and irritable and wasn’t sure if I could stand swallowing with that stupid tape pulling at my neck, we just drove home. In silence, because if I haven’t already mentioned, I was cranky and irritable.


When I got home, I did something for the first time since this whole cancer thing started, I took hydrocodone and slept. I slept the whole rest of the day and most of the night. I slept the night in my street clothes, something I never do, but I did because I was cranky and irritable.


When I woke up this morning. I decided being cranky and irritable was for the birds and “ain’t nobody got time for that”. So, I took off the clothes I had worn for 24 hours straight, got a shower, and took off that stupid tape that was making me cranky and irritable. Andy helped me do it. The nurse at the surgery center said to wait 48 hours before showering and removing that dag numb tape, but I felt like my mental health needed more tending to than the tape, so I bucked the system. And boy, did I feel better.


That allowed me to get on with my day and make the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. Andy helped me with that task and we whipped them up in no time thanks to having the crusts pre-made in the pans ready for the filling and baking.


Then this evening, I was sitting on the couch, looking at a cookbook Kara Syx let me borrow, minding my own business, running my fingers through my hair. With each pass of my hand, several strands of hair came out. It wasn’t a total surprise because on Sunday, when I washed my hair, a large amount of hair came out. I knew the countdown was on before I would start having bald spots. So, this evening, as I sat on the couch, running my fingers through my hair, I figured I would just keep doing it until the hair stopped coming out. Well, after an hour, my hands were still full of hair with each pass. When Andy saw the pile I had accumulated, he asked if we should use it to stuff a pillow. Haha. That was a hard no. My Grandma Pell had a braid of what I could only imagine was her hair that she kept in a bureau drawer in an upstairs bedroom. It freaked me out then and left an impression that hair not attached to the head was something I did not need to keep.


It was enough hair gone that when I went to look in the mirror, I didn't look like myself. My hair has always been thick and although I still had hair, I also had bald areas. Not as bad as Andy's head, but still male patterned baldness.


Andy and I had talked about this day coming, what we would do and how we would maneuver the thinning hair. I knew I wanted him to cut it when it got thin enough to have bald spots and to just shave the rest off. So, that’s what we did this evening.


There have been lots of times when I have looked in the mirror and have kind of scared myself by the way my hair looked. Lots of mornings, my hair would look like Roseanne Roseannadanna’s- big and unruly. The last time I tried coloring my own hair, I would get a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think it was Ozzy Ozbourne with his black hair. I actually did jump in fright a couple of times with that hair fiasco. (I had to have the color stripped from my hair and my hair recolored that time, hence why it was the LAST time I colored my own hair.) But this evening when I looked in the mirror, I saw Sinead O’Connor. Not a look I have ever aspired to, but here I am. And I am not cranky or irritable about it.


I have several hats that I bought for the occasion and a couple that have been graciously given to me. Personally, I am not planning on getting a wig. I figure I am what I am and this is only temporary. One night Andy and I were talking about the impending hair loss. When talking about the prospects of a wig, he said, “What about a blond or red?” I responded, “I don’t think they would look good on you.” Haha.


Although this week I have gained a port and lost my hair, both are better than being cranky and irritable, and I am thankful that I lost the crankiness and irritability most of all.

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