Posted Mar 17, 2009 2:07pm
Happy St. Patty’s Day – and let’s do a happy dance, because this morning I had my LAST radiation treatment!!!!
Because the radiation machine had broken down a couple of times, the schedule was off, and I had to go in at 7:40 a.m. today. Pretty early for my usual morning off, but completing that cycle was a fabulous way to start the day. The sun was shining by the time I got home, so I trimmed a few hedges and washed the windows of my studio room. This room was a life-long dream of mine that we finally fulfilled a couple of weeks ago when I realized no one had slept in our guest room since my Dad came out to visit for our wedding in 2000. I gave the queen-sized bed to my friend’s grandson who had outgrown his bunk bed – a useful resurrection for a piece of furniture had become a dumping ground for whatever I didn’t have time to put away.
We pulled up the carpet, put in a light-colored Pergo floor (LOVE it!), lined 2 of the walls with white base cabinets and melamine table-top, and voila!! I have a studio! I love having a place for everything in a tidy room where I’m proud to keep the door open. Best of all, my main work table looks out into my Buddha garden, which is just beginning to burst into bloom. It is the first time I’ve had a place to put all my art supplies in one place, and not have to take up the kitchen table every time I feel creative. I’m sitting in front of the window now with my computer, watching the garden come to life.
Just as I predicted, as the garden blooms, so does my head. About three weeks ago, I noticed the birds were visiting the garden more frequently, so I took my bag of the hair that I saved from my molting experience last fall and scattered it under the fig tree. You gotta give to get… I can’t wait to see what the nests under the eaves will look like this year.
Soon after that, my hair started growing back, and although it’s a little sparse, it’s about ½ inch long and getting thicker and more wavy (I think) every day. It’s darker than I expected, with a few thick, gray 2-inchers sticking straight out like antennae at random spots around my head. Very attractive; I’m not ready to give up the turbans yet.
Radiation wasn’t too bad; what really knocked me out was the cold I had for 2 weeks. By the end of last week my body was exhausted - it felt like mono-type body/brain fatigue, not necessarily sleepiness. I was able to sleep in a little over the weekend, so I have pretty high energy during the day, and don’t need to slow down until after I get home from work, when I crash. I'll bounce back quickly!
There are late reactions to chemo - since nails and lash/brow hair are very slow growing cells, about the time I started celebrating the emergence of my coiffure, my nails started shredding down past the quick. The doc said the new stuff coming in (about half way up the nail bed now) looks great, which means my new cells are coming in healthy! She also said most people lose at least half the nail, so the fact that the shreds are more or less hanging on a good sign, just creepy ugly. And difficult to scratch an itch.
As of about a week ago, my bottom lashes were stubs and I have about a half dozen strands on the top lids. Fortunately I wear enough liner & shadow so that it's hardly noticeable, but it sure looks strange in my magnifying mirror! In line with Mother Nature's sadistic sense of humor, facial hairs grow faster and stronger than lash hairs; actually, I think chin follicles actually suck the lashes/brows into your head, spin the fine hairs into thick bristles on the way down, and pull them out through the chin. Lovely.
Most of my brows fell out, too, but are growing back really quickly. Thank goodness I had permanent makeup done for brows & liner before all this started or I'd look like a lizard-face. THANK YOU Lori, for your wonderful gift of Revitalash – it’s really working. My new lash stubs are coming in thick, and Groucho Marx would envy my new brows.
When that started, I tried on some light false eyelashes one day, but by the end of the day they were too irritating and I developed a blinking tic that made me look like a flirty psychopath. It was very poor timing, too, because that night I had to borrow Dave's truck to pick up something at his Mom's house, which is in a somewhat rural area. I went straight from work, so it was dark. I mention this because my night vision isn’t so great these days. I still had on the lashes (irritating the left eye) and my reading contact lens (blurring distance vision in the right eye).
For those of you familiar with the area, you know the curved hill on highway 50 between El Dorado Hills and Bass Lake Road is challenging under the best of circumstances. As I started up the hill, I pulled into the passing lane only to find that they had started construction since the last time I was there. I hate those friggin' concrete barricades that leave a 3" shoulder on the left while I’m trying to navigate the passing lane – even more treacherous in the dark. To add insult to injury, for the next couple of miles there was a poorly repaired trench just off-center of the lane for the right wheel to keep dipping into. And I was driving Dave's truck, which is like driving... well, a truck.
To enhance the pleasure of my journey, a “big wheel” truck was tailgating me,while another blocked me on the right. Blinking and blurring, I had no choice but to grip the wheel and stay put until the barricades ended and traffic thinned. By then I was about a mile past my exit; I had to go another couple of miles to reach the next exit and turn around. I'm going to pass on the false eyelashes. Even MY vanity has limits.
This is absolutely the weirdest thing that has ever happened to my body. I wonder what “normal” will be like?
Nonetheless, celebrate with me and choose your favorite happy dance!
Where the Hell Is Matt?
Smarty Pants Dance