Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chemo log 7 hair, hair, every where

I am nearing the end of my second chemo cycle. Time has a way a going at warp speed. Blogging seems to be something I just fantasize about having time for. I am lucky my symptoms do not seem to be too severe at this point in my treatment. Sleepless nights and the need for naps seem to be the greatest side effects thus far, logic tells me these two go hand in hand. I will check with my doctor this week about being able to take natural sleep aids like melatonin or magnesium.

Adjusting to life without hair has been rather smooth. I have taken to going out with just my bald head, it is also way to hot. One benefit of no hair is never waking up with a bad hair day. The downsize to shaving my head is that a very short stubble remained, maybe around an 1/8 of an inch. Some how I reasoned in my brain that cutting it short might prevent me from losing this hair. What it actually prevented was me watching longer pieces of my hair making this mass exodus from my head. I guess for my psyche and plumbing that is a good thing. The fact remains that I had a full head of stubble falling out (currently 1/2 remains). This stubble has transformed into splinters of dark coarse Asian hair that I need to remove from my body and clothes with a lint brush. The ironic part is that my thinning hair feels like a Velcro patch, that's right folks anything I put on my head clings to my hair in a weird and uncomfortable way. This makes bandanas and hats feel strange too. If I lay on my pillow "against the grain" of my hair it tugs and pulls. I also have a new super power, it's like "spidey sense", my head is a giant cluster of nerve endings that have never really been exposed to a wide variety of sensations, maybe it's like my third eye. My first shampoo was down right erotic, every draft breeze, or heat pocket I sense immediately. Sunblock has been added to my morning routine, my newly exposed scalp gets a dose of 55 SPF, I can't begin to imagine how horrible a sunburn would be. According to Dr. Vu I should be avoiding the sun altogether, my chemo makes me susceptible to "very ugly brown spots" that can occur from the sun. He repeated this phrase to Jen and I multiple times at my last visit so he must be very serious about it, I will just have to take him at his word.

I went swimming for the first time since my surgery. I didn't really swim I just prepared my arms for the idea of swimming. The amount of changes my chest and shoulder muscles have gone through became very apparent. Not only do I have my own personal flotation devices, the muscles all around my expander's are SOOOO tight. Dr. Berardi put 100 cc into my right expander which makes us even, sort of. There is less tissue on this side so the implant sits higher. All I want is balance the only way I am going to achieve this is through some very painful massage. The recent fill left me in so much muscle pain I had to take a percocet just to be able to sleep. I could barely bend over to tie my shoes. Now knowing my body as intimately as I do I think some of the pain I had post-surgery was due to the expanders and reconstruction. This stretching of the pectoral muscle over my implant caused a lot of the pain I had getting in and out of bed. For me the pros still out way the cons of reconstruction directly after mastectomy. My breast mounds still have my skin (less the nipples) over them, I look down and see familiar moles some how they are comforting. I do however feel my physical recovery from the surgeries may have gone quicker had I not elected to have reconstruction. Emotionally the expanders have given me the freedom from mastectomy undergarments and prosthetics. This meant for me an easier time accepting all the changes in my body. There is a higher risk for complications due to infection with the expanders, all things one needs to think about when making a decision like this. I never thought about any of this when I made the decisions for my surgery. I wanted to streamline everything and figured my body would figure it out. I got lucky, my surgical team encouraged this route and it turned out to be the right path for me. The great news is my trips to Phoenix will be reduced, I am almost up to my desired "size" and will not need to expand much more.

Enough for now I need to get some sleep.............

catch up on some blogging, drink water and breathe.......

1 comment:

  1. Hi sweet pea: Ask anyone who has had implants - they hurt!! A lot!!! My friends have had them and are always amazed at the pain - even though they were told it would hurt. The up side is that once over, they say it was the best thing they ever did for themselves, ever. So there. You won't regret it. My friend just had chemo and lost all of her hair too. We live in a hot climate also and she never wore a cover after she got used to the bald look. It did all grow back and very curly. It is much prettier than it was before. So there, again. I love your blog as I loved your brothers when he was in Iraq. Glad you are both safe and have lots of love in your lives. Thank you for sharing all of this.