I started out the work week on Monday with full head of hair. Our office is closed on Mondays, so I only worked a half a day. It was a beautiful day so I decided I should get some exercise. I work across from a lake with an nice walking path. I enjoyed communing with nature and soaking up the late afternoon sun. I saw ducks, geese, squirrels and herons on my walk. I was hoping that I would boost my immune system by walking. On Tuesday, I started to panic about my impending hair loss. A little of it started to come out when I was brushing it. I left work to go to A Special Touch in Annapolis to pick up the wig that I ordered. It was fairly crowded when I got the wig. Everyone there agreed that it was a nice color! I was grateful that I had the wig on hand – it was like a security blanket.
On Wednesday morning I had my next blood test. I was pretty nervous to hear the results. I went into the Infusion Center to get my labs done and then went to the oncologist’s office to wait for the results. Success! White Blood Cell count 5.0 or 5000!!! Yea! What’s my prize?!! I get to have chemotherapy the next day! After that I had my first Reflexology session. Linda, my nurse Navigator, kept encouraging me to use the free services offered by The Center for Breast Care and I finally agreed. Melinda was very kind and warm and she explained that many women have been helped by reflexology during chemotherapy. It helps to reduce stress and balance the body. She told me that NIH had funded a grant to study the effects of reflexology on breast cancer patients. It was so successful that they funded a second grant to teach caregivers how to perform reflexology on their friend or loved one. We were in a darkened room with soothing music playing in the background. Melinda gently but firmly applied pressure to my feet while I laid back and relaxed. At the end, we practiced deep breathing three times. I was sorry it was over! I was very happy to have taken advantage of this awesome service!
I left there and went to work for the rest of the day. I guess 4 hours is better than no hours! Then I left work and went to meet my sisters and nieces at the Annapolis Mall. My baby sister was shopping for her first maternity clothes. Her birthday was at the end of the week and we were helping her pick out some outfits with her birthday money. . So nice to have something happy to look forward to!!!! We found some cute clothes on sale and suddenly she actually looked pregnant! We are always happy when our “shopping angel” comes along! She even found out that her favorite diaper bag was on sale online. We had a nice time that night – I wish we had taken a picture of all of us together – turns out that was my last night with a full head of hair!
The next morning, on October 25th, I got up and took a shower. My hair immediately began to come out in clumps as I tried to rinse out the shampoo!!! It was all tangled and a mess. I got most of the soap out and dried off. I had to cut my hair at my ear level to get all the tangles out. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have a bald spot on top! I looked at myself in the mirror and shed a few tears at the impending loss of my hair. Then I dashed the tears aside and kept going because it was time for my second chemo that morning! I was extremely grateful that my best friend since 1st grade, Maureen, was coming to go to chemo with me. I knew that she would make even this day fun. I am so blessed to have her in my life.
I was very grateful that I already had a scarf to wear that morning thanks to my sister-in-law, Debbie!! I would have felt awkward without it. I wasn’t quite ready to wear a wig yet. We laughed and a had a good time in spite of everything. After we got back to my place we visited the farm animals. Then Moe had to rush home and change. One of our classmate’s fathers had passed away and the viewing was that night. I rested up and then my sister, Dana, my faithful chauffeur, picked me up so that I could go to the viewing too. Five of us met at the funeral home and showed our support to our friend and then we went out to dinner. It is always nice to get together with old friends – even at difficult times – maybe especially at difficult times. Then it was time for bed – tomorrow would be another busy day.
The next day Dana and I went back to Scalped Salon and Spa and met Grace. She was very kind and asked if I wanted privacy while she shaved my head. I told her it wasn’t necessary, so we began. Dana took pictures and we laughed and joked as she worked on my removing all of my hair. Here are some of the pictures she took that day.
I at least I had made it over one huge hurdle – a rite of passage for someone undergoing chemotherapy. A few days later, my head started to feel very prickly! It actually hurt to lay down my head on the pillow! It made it hard to sleep. I guess my hair had started to grow back. Earle finally shaved my head again and it was smooth and much more comfortable! I’ll bet that is something Earle never thought he would do for his wife!!!