Friday, July 22, 2011

More Fun with Cancer

OK, folks, today promises to be a very challenging day for me on a number of levels so I giving you some specifics to share along with me today. Cheer me on, rally me home, 'cuz I know it will go better for me if you are all behind me!

First of all, much of my hair fell out last night. There is still enough there that I will have to do something about it today, either continue sloughing it off or just shave it already, because the sporadic pink (no, I'm not really sure why they are pink, they just have a pinkish tint to them) tufts are beyond disturbing.

You know, when you contemplate the actual losing of your hair, you don't really consider the actual moments of when it is physically dropping off your head. You think of how chic you might look if you happen to have an attractive scalp and how bold you may be in proclaiming bald as beautiful with scarves and shiny oil, but you don't really ever think of how each of those hundreds of thousands of individual hairs are going to come detached from your head and how that prolonged separation might affect you.

Once you notice the tufts dropping, do you help them along? Ignore them in hopes that they'll hang on a few more days? And how to do this while hoping your kids (and worse their teenage friends) don't get scarred for life?

Well, I have no answers, folks, but I will share what worked for me rather peacefully last night. I put on the Sound of Music, darkened the room and de-tuffted into a giant pile while I sang my way happily thorough "My Favorite Things", "Do Rey Me", and "I Am Sixteen Going on Seventeen". By the time we got to the puppet show, about 60% of my hair was in a pile, I looked a little like a crazed Jack Nicholson in the Cukoo's Nest with my hand madly running through my hair and an insane look in my eye, but it was painless for me and the kids didn't notice a thing except my cheerful and likely irritating singing, which they are totally used to anyway. So, probably not your most conventional method, but worked for me. By the time I had removed all I could for the evening I had my night cap in place and all was well.

As for the remaining tufts, I will see what to do. Shaving concerns me a little because of the radiation irritation on the scalp, but we shall see. I believe there is a specialist at the wig store at UCLA who can help me break through to the other side successfully.

On another note entirely, something has gone terrible wacky in my stomach over the last few days. For no clear reason, my abdomen has distended (and I mean really distended--I look like I am ready to give birth any minute to a full term baby which happened to grow in the span of about 40 hours). My children were astounded, thinking they were suddenly getting a sibling, no joke. This is not a normal side effect of the brain radiation or the medications I am on as far as the two doctors who have seen me in the last two days can ascertain, so I get to go to the hospital today for pokes and prods and scans to see what the heck is going on in there before I actually pop.

Could be fluid, could be blockage of some sort, we shall see. I am not in any pain, and it is a good thing I am so used to looking and feeling pregnant because I am just going with it. What else can one do? The waddle, once you've had it, never leaves you, it turns out!

Nonetheless, I can't imagine there is any really good or positive reason that this is happening, so I give this to you, along with my balding woes, to think good thoughts for me and say more prayers that this will all go well so I can get back to the business of cheerfully spending time with my family rather than doctors (who really can be great, but enough already, OK?).

Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted.


Debbie said...

Reading the past two days... and always saying I would never post anything...You are amazing! I have never met anyone like you and probably never will! Such a blessing you continue to be! We all need to take a step back and really truly listen to your words...they are true and extremely meaningful. Thank you.

Sarah said...

I wish you luck today! You are amazing! I am with you in prayer.
Love, Sarah McCormick

Anonymous said...

Good luck!! Our thoughts and prayers are always with you. xxoo The Bertenthal clan

Anonymous said...

Please try and feel my hug from Marin. Praying for you today. Love, Maura

Karin McAdams said...

I'm thinking that the pregnant look, with no baby involved, is pretty scary. Holding you in the Light for sure.
I remember the hair falling out, and I was way less creative than you. It took a couple of days, when I was all the time brushing off hairs and shaking them off the pillow. I'd already laid in a scarf or two, so I went to that; very unchic, but so would I have been bald. I know you'll carry it off with aplomb.

Anonymous said...

You will look great bald! You'll carry it off whatever you do.
Love what you wrote about confession. I admire your humor and grace. I will pray that you can just settle into treatment and focus on your kids and your life! When I can't sleep at night all my hail mary's are for a total cure and peace and healing in the meantime! Keep us all posted. Mel

antonia said...


Yes, I will pray for you today.

Thank you for sharing these difficult moments; it helps me appreciate much more what you are going through.

God bless you Suzanne,


Allaire said...

Prayers and healing and coping and love and light to you! The Sound of Music....perfect...Climb Every Mountain! I will climb for you, Suzanne!

Angela said...

Never seen or had the desire to see sound of music but u make me think maybe I am missing something. I pray for you every day friend =)

anna lisa said...

Dear, dear Suzanne,

You are living proof that His yoke is gentle and His burden sweet. It is hard to live in this culture and get the fact that He gives his most special cross to his favorite friends...Crushing on its face... but he doesn't gift it without that dose of crazy love which makes one sing like Julie Andrews!! LOL!

How sad for those who don't know this divine secret.

I just love, love, love that snarky quote of St. T of Avila who tells Him off a bit,remarking back to Him when He tells her this,that if this is how He treats His dear friends, no wonder He has so few!!
(I think I quoted this before, but I just can't resist!)

Yes, he delights in our humanity too.

I bet He laughed!

But her life is an endless song of that crazy love in the midst of "war"...

Without faith, cancer is an iron fist. But with the love of the bridegroom, you prove that it can be borne with grace, tenacity and tenderness.

You're a secret weapon!


Anna Lisa

Michelle said...

hugs and prayers.

jen said...

Love you Suz! XOXO

Gene said...

I will keep you in my prayers. I have gotten updates from Mary Giesler and wanted to let you know you are in my prayers.

If you ever have any questions about brain cancer fight, I have been through this with my wife as she had Brain Cancer (not metastcized breast cancer) as well as Breast cancer. I am familiar with the Decadron as well as anti seizure medication, migraine pain medication, Lovenox (to fight blood clots) and nausea medication.

I really understand it is very tough for you. I am willing to talk with your husband if that would be of any help too!


Gene Gourdeau

Gypmar said...

Oh my goodness. The Sound of Music story had me laughing and crying at the same time. I think I recall from Fiddler on the Roof that you wear a kerchief very well.

Thank you so much for what you share on this blog. It has been an enormous blessing to me.