Monday, July 4, 2011

The Buzz

I am shedding like a Golden Retriever. The floor of our bathroom is a mess of grey and brown hair. It's on my clothes, it's in my eyes and on my face. When I shower I lose so much hair the water can't get it off my skin. The 14th day after chemo hit and, man!, they weren't kidding about the hair taking a hike! I am dying to shave it off but I am worried about trying to do it myself (god, can you imagine?). Besides that, Nick and the kids are in Oklahoma for the weekend and I think it would slightly freak David and Ava out if they came home to me with no hair.

I've been sitting a lot with this today and realizing that there is a rhythm to the readiness of getting things over when you are standing on the edge of a big change. Part of me is really ready to get the port put in and get on with the treatment, although I'm glad we are waiting and testing and trying to figure out why I got this blood clot. It's the same part of me that wants to shave the damn hair already. For as unprepared as I feel to face some of these things, the anticipation is worse. This applies to the reality that in a week I will be shooting myself in the belly every day with heparin, which for a needle-phobic person like myself is akin to, I don't know, putting one's hand in a rattle snake bag. So I sit between the anxiety that comes with anticipation and my mother's no-nonsense "get it over with" attitude, not knowing which way to swing sometimes.

This weekend I elected to stay in Ann Arbor by myself rather than get a last minute ticket back to Oklahoma for our annual 4th of July celebration with my family. I needed a little head space, needed to buy some new clothes, drop off my wig to get cut (still on the to-do list), find some hats and cotton scarves (half-way done, need help on that one!), and send things back to people (dishes, gifts, etc).

I also really needed to be able to sit and think for a bit, re-arrange my brain and heart and mindset around this chemo phase. Chemo is so less tangible than surgery or reconstruction. At my stage of cancer, it's not as obvious why you are doing it as you are treating something that *might* be there instead of something you can touch, feel and see. Watching friends and loved ones go through chemo (and, frankly, still die), I have only seen chemo as a barbaric thing that lays waste people's physical and mental being. I have to keep reminding myself that breast cancer is not lung cancer, that this step helps me be here longer, that my disease is not my mother's disease or Bruce's or Julie's or... This is a different treatment and I know that, but I can't seem to shake the sinister feeling that chemo gives me.

My friend Kim gave me some really good insight the other day that has really helped to shape my thinking today. She told me that I had to stop thinking of the chemo as a caustic, poisonous invasion of my body and instead think of it as healing nectar. Yes, nectar that makes you feel like shit, but a nectar to welcome in to do its work so that I can live a long and healthy life. That is a major adjustment in my thinking, honestly, but one that I know deep in my heart is important. I know in order to make this work I have to ask my body to welcome this substance, to take advantage of what is can eradicate, to allow its presence to do its job. While I think my body doesn't love the chemo, it hasn't reacted to it in all the worst ways (yet? please no.). So I am going to spend today getting in touch with that idea and visualizing how that matter of acceptance could work for me next Friday.

So the next post will be a picture of the shaved head. I've been reminiscing on my fascination with Sinead O'Connor and Grace Jones as a teen. Who knew I'd be mimicking them at 40? Forty and sporting a buzz cut. Call me GI Jane.

1 comment:

  1. So many firsts to face down. Just take them one at a time if you can. I wonder if you could take the heparin with a push IV...I had to take antibiotics that way for a few days once(followed by the heparin to prevent a clot in the IV) and it wasn't nearly as intimidating as giving myself a shot.