Going,going…...So I’m shedding like a catahoula leopard hound in summer. I’m trying in vain to hold on to the stringy remnants of my once long, flowing blonde hair, which took years to grow I might add. My second AC chemo treatment was last Thursday, and, as promised, the countdown begins in earnest to shave day. I’m just not ready yet, even though I’ve known for some time that this was coming. I guess I was hoping that I’d be the one who stunned them all for my ability to maintain beautiful hair despite their poisons! Guess I’m a mere mortal after all…with an awkwardly large part. At least I live in the urban hipster funk capital of the world, so I did go out yesterday and snag some cool hats and scarves for the inevitable follicular demise. Ahh Asheville! Where else can you walk downtown and see a man juggling a skewer, a basketball and a 4 pound ball of chain across the street from a hippie purveying coconut juice in the shell? I love this place.
This is what’s left of my long blonde mane 5 days after my second round of chemo. Not terrible but certainly not good.
The adriamycin (affectionately known as the “red devil”) is dripping as we speak. I’m at the oncologist’s office for my second chemo session of 8. I get Emend first, which is the anti-nausea drug and makes me a little sleepy. This is followed by steroids to prevent allergic reactions, which hops me up. I feel kind of like a career drug addict..I need downers..no! too much! I need uppers! Then comes the poisonous red kool-aid. Yay! Just the sight of it now makes me a little queasy. I keep expecting an emaciated cancer-stricken koolaid man to bust through the wall..and then collapse. Finally, we have the cytoxan. That just sounds like fun, doesn’t it? They told me on round one to be sure to drink lots of water to get this out of my kidneys and bladder as soon as possible to prevent damage. That’s gotta be a good sign! So..We drip for about 21/2 hours and then we wait to see how things unfold on “As The Stomach Turns”. After the first round I got a little nauseous around dinner time and this continued for about two days. And I just felt really tired. I even napped, which is soooo not me. But it was actually kind of ok. I’m hoping this round won’t be worse, but I’ll keep you posted. Keep your eyes out for Kool-Aid man!
I was going through my purse cleaning out receipts and such, when I came across a little slip of paper with my handwriting. I realized that I had written it last April while sitting in a doctor’s office. Sometimes things run through my brain while I’m out that strike me as odd or memorable, and I jot them down on some minuscule scrap of paper for later reference. On this particular day, I was getting an iron infusion for chronic low-grade anemia in hopes of boosting my endurance for half-marathon training. What struck me as ironic and prompted me to put it in words was as the fact that this was an oncologist’s office. He was one of the few doctors open-minded enough to consider IV iron for someone not severely anemic. So here I was with a room full of chemotherapy patients, all of us with our various IV bags dripping while gazing out the window on the spring flowers. I could tell by the puzzled faces that the regulars were struggling to figure out what kind of new cutting-edge chemo drug I was getting. My bag was different from everyone else’s. I remember feeling like a fish out of water that day and being so grateful that this was not my life. Thank God I was healthy enough to run and never had to come back to this place. Only, I would come back to another place just like this one a short year later, and this time I would be one of them, my bag slowly dripping poison into my veins, my world upside down. This is where my story begins….