Since my last fretful post, I decided it was time for a trim. After 10 salon-free months, I was happy to pay a professional... even if there was hardly anything to cut.
Who's Going to Cut It?
I could have just gone back to my good barbers! Don was wonderful with my initial hair shaving and a few good trims. But he is not a pro. My buddy, A.D. from Richmond Barber Shop shaved my head last October with such warmth and patience. But now I need someone who can work with me to find flattering short cuts... for women.
My Wig Trimmer
Then I got on Facebook and felt worse. I allowed myself to look at the FB page of a friend who died of breast cancer a few years ago. I looked at her photos, as if she could offer me support with her brave smile. But it made me sad to see her. It was a little scary too, to see a little of me in her photos... smiling with her bald head or new hair growth. I had to stop looking.
She understood I wanted to grow my hair longer, but she helped me feel confident about what I have on my head now. "I don't know... your eyes really stand out with your short hair!" And she seemed sincere.
There wasn't a ton of my hair on the floor when Christina finished, but I felt like a huge weight had lifted. Most people probably wouldn't see much difference, but I felt like a new person when I left. I just felt less sloppy after things had been trimmed and evened up. Mostly, I felt relieved to know I now have someone I think I can trust in the months ahead, to face this hair growth thing. That is, if I decide to grow it!
Bad Hair Day... EVERY DAY!
No Big Deal
The waves moved in about a month ago. Now, when I reach up and feel the top of my head, it feels totally foreign. There's a spongy, springy, bouncy feel. Honestly, it does sort of amuse me when I give it a little pat.
But the finger wave fashion is just not something I feel I can pull off. Maybe if my hair weren't gray. Maybe if I wore a slinky dress with fringe. Or maybe if I took up smoking, I could look cool, with finger waves.
This would all be much easier if I had a friend who shared my post chemo issues. That's what I get for being super independent and not seeking out support groups or exchanging numbers with people I met in waiting rooms. I'm on my own now.
The buddy system helped 30 years ago and I I could use it now... even without the fun reward at the end.
Shopping helped! Don found a ridiculously fun instrument that he insisted I needed. It amused me to no end. I found some nifty, clip-on ties for $2.50 each, which we wore on an evening hike. The rubber boots seemed to complete the outfit.
So I found out that I do like bows, just not hair bows. These (along with my hat) take the focus right off my hair! Time to think about other things!
Actually once I talk myself into cleaning, I don't mind.
In fact, one summer When I was 16, I asked my parents if they would pay me to be "maid" once a week. I worked from 8 to 5, cleaning the entire house for our family of 6 for $15.00. I complained in my diary, but also noted... "I don't mind having a long period of time by myself. There's no brainwork involved, so I have a lot of time to think." I still sort of feel that way.
But it's the bigger spaces that I've recently dug into. The garage! Do we need 5 basket balls? It felt good to get started. I was reminded of days as a kid, when my dad would get on a cleaning streak and the whole family went to work in the garage or yard. Cleaning in a group, is a whole different thing. I miss that.
Did I Finish?
I've made progress, but the garage is not done. That's because I have things like bottle cap collections that need to be played with. (I wasted a lot of time!) I like to give myself an excuse for hoarding, since I used bottle caps with my Kindergarten class for math and science games. That was 35 years ago.
Cleaning the Cabin
I plunged in for a totally different kind of cleaning at our cabin in the Texas Hill Country. We don't have clutter there... just cobwebs and dust. It's exhausting work with ladders and long tools. (I broke my mega tool!) I sort of like this kind of cleaning, with no big decisions.
My hair is actually so crazy these days that I should be hiding under a scarf or hat, but I refuse to wear the things that remind me of my chemo days. So now I'm figuring out where to donate my cancer-themed stuff.
So I closed the wig up inside its box and put it on a high shelf, out of view. I hoped to avoid the same bad luck that happens when you leave your umbrella at home... causing it to rain.
Good-Bye Knee Brace
I did however get rid of the 20-year-old, $1000.00 knee brace from my ACL surgery. Hopefully I'm not tempting fate.
Here's a mighty fine throwback photo of that brace... and my mom, washing bird poop out of my hair...on Mother's Day! I miss Mom!
My Support Team
So there was no joking with nurses. I was not chatty. When the nurse said the doctor was running late, I begged to please be given that pre-surgery cocktail a little early. I wasn't kidding. I didn't have my usual humor, but I did have Don. Poor guy was once again thrown into the role of caregiver. I laid on my "bed" waiting to be wheeled away and tried to appreciate that. I took my old donkey from the bag and had my cheering duo pose for me.
What was that surgery anyway?
I mentioned a cancelled surgery in a December blog. I had to cancel that surgery when my insurance wouldn't cover the surgery center. I put it off until symptoms wouldn't allow.
I got the okay, this time around and psyched myself up. I cleared my calendar, which was frustrating since I'd finally gotten back to a volunteer schedule. I told family and a few friends, but this was not a status to be announced on Facebook. I have already reached the maximum number of prayers you can ask for on Facebook. Plus who wants to read, "Send prayers, Y'all! I'm having hemorrhoid surgery today!" Yep, that's the unspeakable subject, that I swore I wouldn't blog about.
This little surgery was not related to my cancer, but it has delayed my "Done with it & ready to move on!" phase.
I'm on day 10 of a 2-4 week recovery. I knew what I was getting into and luckily things have gone a lot better than the post-op horror stories I've read about on the internet. I haven't had any agonizing trips to ER and I haven't screamed so loud that I worried my neighbors. I think I should thank my doctor for prescribing the right drugs and I should thank myself for being a good patient and doing my job. I've taken 4 baths a day and stayed on a strict diet that includes none of my comfort foods. No dairy means no cheese and ice cream! No wine and no coffee! And in order to let my drugs do their work, I've put up with many days of wooziness. I've staggered like a drunk woman. I've gotten carsick trying to read and I've seen double on TV. But that has passed.
Now that I'm not foggy and horribly uncomfortable, I'm able to ponder this odd recovery period. (Google it because I'm not wasting space) I wouldn't wish the first week on anyone, but the second week has allowed me to enjoy my secret passion... being a hermit. Even during 8 months of cancer treatment, I didn't allow myself the luxury of being this much of a hermit. Having an embarrassing health has meant less support, but also freedom from make up and hair worries!
In fact, the timing of this has been perfect. I have had some very creepy-curly hair growth in the past weeks. I plan on wearing hats for a very long while.
Actually, I'm no longer feeling numb toes, but I was two months ago. I was surprised when the neuropathy from chemo actually returned after radiation. It wasn't bad, but it was a reminder that I had recently dealt with cancer. I hate being reminded of that. But the other day I had to be reminded that the neuropathy is gone!
Chinese Foot Massage
When you live in Houston, you have over 100 options for foot massage spas. I checked out the reviews and picked this place in Houston's huge Asian neighborhood. Maybe this photo looks a little eerie, but I was a lot more comfortable stepping into this room with 8 lounge chairs, than I was entering a Chinese Foot Parlor in China a few years ago.
Helps to Have a Friend
A lot of girlfriends do pedicures together, but it's hard to find a friend who wants to go on a mysterious foot parlor adventure with you. Luckily my friend Milissa was visiting from Chicago and she was pretty darn game. In this photo, we were ready to go, with feet in tubs, dark lights and traditional music wafting through the room. I'm glad I found the nerve to ask my foot therapist (in whisper) if she would take our photo.
Ready for Surgery
I may look like I'm ready to go under the knife, but I must tell you, that sheet covered recliner was pretty darn comfy compared to all the medical tables and beds I've experienced this past year. Also, I am wearing clothes. I was wearing a pinkish shirt and rolled up sweat pants under that sheet. Speaking of pink... what about those pink walls? I sure hope we didn't disturb the two getting their foot massages across from us.
I need to mention that the 1-hour foot massage was only $20.00. I also need to mention that our 1-hour foot massage was not just feet. First my feet were put into a wooden bucket of not-quite-scalding water. Then magical hands went to my head and pressed on my forehead and wiggled my ears and massaged my scalp. After my shoulders, I felt the hands return to my feet for good period of time. Luckily a towel was placed over my face, or I would have looked at Milissa and laughed... especially when my therapist burped.
Okay, I did remember my cancer twice during the hour. The first time was when the therapist went to work massaging my head. "Oh yay!" I silently cheered, when I realized my head was no longer sore. 2 weeks ago, my head began to mysteriously ache, just as my hair began to suddenly grow curly! (I try to plaster it down now) My head only recently stopped being super sensitive. I'm so glad I didn't have to sit up and shout, "STOP!" to that pleasant head massage.
When our therapists finished whacking and chopping our clothed bodies, we grinned and tiptoed back through the foot room. We tipped well and left happy.
This foot/shopping adventure reminded me to be appreciative of a number of things. I no longer have achy feet or scalp. I have short hair that handles massage abuse. And I have an amazing friend who was up for a not so traditional girlfriend outing!
This is the change in 5 weeks. I'd be fine with the curls, if their growth was more predictable. It really is getting a little wilder every day.
Inspired by Grandma Meyer
Cancer to Covid
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 17, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me.
Coronavirus and Cancer! Both are evil, but neither can totally get me down... if I vent! I hope with Covid, I run out of complaints before 200!