Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hair Today

playing cars

Whew, where were we? Oh yes, with me on my first day of chemotherapy, high on steroids, and in love with everyone. That was sort of awesome. I was a real Dexy's Midnight Runner. Wednesday night my sister got to town, so of course we went to Target and closed the place up. As we were leaving, I shouted, "Shut her down!" And they turned off the lights. Then we took my mom to a tequila bar, just for one drink. That was our absolute limit. We stuck to it, and as we left these guys smiled at us and said, "Don't get into any trouble, ladies," and I thought, "Dude, you have no idea what kind of trouble I represent. Just my uninsurability alone would keep you busy many a long, long night."

So then, the bad news: couldn't stay on the steroids forever.

And now, the good news: I have yet to feel really bad or nauseated from the chemo. That is, I know, a great boon. I'm hoping my luck holds. I mean, it's Sunday night, I had that infusion on Wednesday, it seems like I should have been upchucky by now? On Friday afternoon, feeling cautiously optimistic, I said, "Why don't we just head up to to the mountain house for the weekend?" Others packed and drove. I took a pharmacopoeia of meds with me, just in case, and lots of reading material. Now we're back and we had a lovely time.

Saturday morning I woke up early and felt a little. . .unsure. Then I remembered that Ativan wants to be my new best friend, and I took a half tab. Then I took another half tab Saturday evening. And that's been my schedule. It's got me feeling a little flat, but not really sedated either. No queasies! So I'm going to stick with this plan for a few days.

Lots coming up this week, including some physiotherapy for my arm, which has decided to give me no end of botheration in the last week. Details, whatever. I have a crack support team arrayed to take me to appointments, laugh at my jokes, and watch "Arrested Development" with me on Netflix. (Amy wanted me to say that she needs to be blogging too, but she's in my kitchen making her trademark sticky chicken.)

Oh, and the whole real point of this post was to tell you about telling Laura about my possible (probable? certain?) hair loss. Last Tuesday night, the day before my first chemo infusion, before anyone arrived, we were sitting in the sun room and she brought up an old friend of hers from preschool days. She said, "Remember how Faith had really short hair, like a boy?" I thought that she had heard me discussing the hair issue and that this might be her way of bringing it up. So I jumped in.

I said, "Well, you know how now I have to go a few times and get extra medicine for the tumor they took out of me, to make sure it doesn't come back?" I reminded her what a side effect is, and I said, "One of the side effects of this medicine they'll give me is that it can make some or all of my hair fall out."

Her mouth fell open. Absolute shock. She said, "You're going to be bald?!?" I said, "Well, maybe, yes, but not forever, and not all at once. I will have some scarves and hats to wear, and if all my hair falls out, I'll get a wig to wear until it grows back." She didn't look upset, exactly, but I realized that she'd had no idea and this was totally new information to her. I added, "You know, it's not that big a deal, it is a bummer but the hair will grow back." And I watched her. I think that, much more than when I told her about the surgery, this was a moment when her feelings could have gone either way, and it was all down to how I was reacting to it.

I just repeated myself a little: "When and if it happens, it is not going to seem like such a big deal. I'll just get myself a wig and wear it." I could tell she was still processing.

And here is a big parenting lesson that I learn over and over: when you are telling something new, surprising, or big to your kids, and they stop asking questions, stop talking. They are at a saturation point and they need to work on what you've said. Don't answer any further questions that they aren't asking, just clam up and wait.

Then she said, "Hey, I think you shouldn't tell Hank this is going to happen, and then when he sees you with no hair, he'll be so surprised!" And she laughed. I took that attempt at levity as her desire to close down the conversation for the moment, so I said something like, "Whoa, that might be too much of a surprise for him."

Then we went along with what we were doing, but when Mom and Dad came in a little later, Laura rushed to the door and said, "My mom is going to be bald!" She wanted to be the first to tell. And since then we've talked it over a few different times, with talk of wigs and whether or not she can get one too. I think she and I will both be fine with the whole thing. I'm sure you'll hear more about this later, gators.

As of today the hair is hanging in there. I am really enjoying it, truly.

And here's Amy and her niece up at the mountains. I hope y'all had lovely weekends. Sorry I'm all like, "me me me and what about me some more?" I need to get around and get properly caught up on what y'all are doing. xoxox-B

Amy and Laura

27 comments:

Beth said...

FIRST!!! I've never been first before. I feel so honored. I loved your parenting advice about saturation-- that is right on. I always have trouble stopping my running mouth, though, because I fill discomfort with lots of blabbering.

Amy looks fab in that photo, and you look lovely in the one with Hank. I'm interested to hear more about this arm business... what is that? Just from the lymph nodes?

Viki said...

I'm glad your not having any side effects. I hope it keeps up. Once they give you your exercises to do for your range of motion, make sure you do them. I didn't start mine soon enough and it took longer for me to get my range of motion back. Your daughter seems like she's going to handle this well. You are doing a great job talking to your kids.

Coffee with Cathy said...

But we want to hear all about you, you, you. That's why we're here. Continued best wishes and love and good-est luck with that upchucky thing.

Coffee with Cathy said...

P.S. Becky, if you want some new-baby preciousness, go to my blog and see pics of my brand new nephew, Splinter. You will love him!

Keely said...

Yay! I'm glad that was the case - I was thinking of you and thought perhaps you were too sick to post.

I think you should let her get a wig as well. Maybe a pink one.

Michele said...

Keeping my fingers crossed that the possible side effects fairy passes you by. Laura may think the bald look would be a good look for you. I know that would have been something my boys would have said. I'm sure that they would have found some sci fi character to compare me too.

Marie said...

You have always had excellent communication with your kids and now it is relly going to pay off.

I e-mailed your Dad last night to see how it was going. So glad it is good news! Love to all! XO

Betsy said...

I wish I could be there to feast on sticky chicken and make Target runs! Hey tell that no good shifty sister of yours I would love a phone call while she is state-side if she's up to it.

Love oodles,
Betsy

Lisa Lilienthal said...

I def think you should go all Samantha from Sex & the City and get a bunch of cool wigs, if and when. One of my favorite people in the world (and client) is going through chemotherapy, and he's been at it 8 weeks and still no nausea and very little hair thinning. And girl it looks like you have a lot of hair, so we might not even miss a few here and there ....

Cassie said...

I'm so glad you're feeling well! SO, SO glad. Cytoxan is serious, but Ativan is seriouser. Stay ahead of it and you'll be golden.

We worked our way through Arrested Development in the hospital and are now halfway through Friday Night Lights. I swear, the American Cancer Society and Netflix should have some kind of partnership or something.

Big hugs and if there's anything we can do please let us know!

Mad Woman said...

Ohh I hope the upchucking stays away. You don't need to be dealing with that as well.

You have such a smart daughter. I'm sure that you'll have many more conversations that surprise you.

Love the pics!

The Messy Mom said...

Wow Beth, you're first? I am just honored to be in the top 20 even that is rare these days ;)

Becky, don't apologize for the details or for making it all about you. We truly do want to know everything you have to share.

The Dental Maven said...

And may this positive trend continue! Glad to hear such good news, Becky.

Jenni said...

I love the photo of you and Hank, and the one of Laura and Amy. I'm so, so, so glad she's with you.

Hope the nausea stays at bay, and that your hair hangs in there too. I'm glad Laura handled it so well. She's an amazing kid. Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.

Bren said...

Like Keely, I was so afraid the silence was nausea induced, not mountain retreat induced. I'm very, very happy to hear otherwise. And like Coffee, DUH, we're here because we LOVE to hear about you you you. And I read that Amy was making "sticky children", which is also MY specialty in the kitchen, and also read it as such when Betsy said she wanted to feast on them.

Anyway, as always, fascinating to be in on your conversations with Laura. Much love!

Betsy said...

Bren, my favorite part are the sticky buns!

See what mayhem you encourage, Becky? Keep the updates coming!

Praying for no upchucks.

Maggie said...

The pictures of you and Amy/Laura are GORGEOUS. Yall are such lovely girls. I talked to you mom yesterday and told her to kiss you and Amy for me. I am so happy that you haven't felt sick. I hope the arm thing gets better. Love ya tons

Amy said...

More about you, you, you, please. It's why we tune in: YOU. You are the biggest news. Although if Frenemy Nbr should happen to make an appearance -- I dunno, maybe asking if your crew could watch N too since, you know, they're there and all and, no big deal if not, it's just her birthday dinner with Frenemy Husband -- well, okay, we'll stay tuned for that update too :) XOXO...

gretchen said...

I think you should go ahead and buzz it off now, then give it to Locks of Love. Kind of gives you the power, you know what I mean. And you can totally pull off the short hair thing. Short hair tip #1 - Always wear earrings. Kisses to all.

aimeewrites said...

Ooh, mountains, good idea. Pharmaceuticals, even better idea.

SO glad it's not hitting the tummy hard.

Another idea for your head: Rock the Rhoda look. Scarves are awesome. I almost bought you a Liberty of London one at Target the other day, but I figured you must have them all. Do you? Please do tell.

Dighti said...

My fiancée didn't lose his hair. We joked that he was just being obstinate because I had playfully noted that we'd be saving money on haircuts :p

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Throat lump. Ahem. Throat lump. Okay. Okay. I'm better.

So . . . I'm with Gretchen on the preemptive strike thing. You can SO carry off the Sade look. Because you're that pretty.

Lee Vandeman said...

I feel a little like this weird stranger popping in on your story but you just rock! You see Michele is the one that sent me your way not too long ago and I feel the need to pop in when I can and see how you are. And you know what? You just inspire me.

I'm all, look at this chick, all cruising along and facing life and its challenges and this damn cancer/chemo thing and I say to myself, What's your problem? You're letting yourself get upset over the never-ending single socks that stream out of my dryer?

Anyway - you give me perspective and you're just beautiful - inside and out - and thanks for letting me stop by and I hope I don't seem like a freak.

And yeah, that parenting lesson is awesome. I'm gonna remember that one.

Lee

mmeperpetua said...

Your daughter is amazing. "Buy that kid a pony!" amazing. As is your whole family, and you, obvs, but I can't get over how beautifully the two of you are navigating this together.

Sara said...

You gals are looking fantastic, I must say.

Very glad all is going pretty smooth so far. Let's go with more of that. Every time Mark and I ask, 'Wonder how Becky's doin'?' we both end up saying 'It really pisses me off that she's having to do this.' So...love and concern equals anger? If so, we're hoppin' mad for you to get well soon.

The Stiletto Mom said...

You, you, you is all we care about now so keep talking! I love the picture of Amy and Laura, both of them are just beautiful!

anna said...

Man, all of you are beautiful and portraits of health. I think that bodes well, personally.