The Perks of Being Bald

Believe it or not, I have actually enjoyed some benefits of baldness the past few months since going through chemo (read about that here).

  • Cost-saving: no salon cuts or colors or expensive products
  • No. Bad. Hair. Days. EVER.
  • No cursing the humidity, rain, wind, fog (see above)
  • No hat or bed head
  • Showers are *super* fast
  • No time spent styling
  • When it’s really hot, the car ac hits your SCALP and cools you like INSTANTLY
  • You don’t have to shave your legs. Ever. (cuz the chemo makes you bald *everywhere*)
  • No chin hairs!
  • You can drive with the windows down and not worry about messing up or tangling your hair

So many perks to baldness. And yet….

Way back in the beginning of September, about a month after getting my head shaved, I was getting weary of the head scarves I was wearing every day and I knew they were not going to cut it once the cold weather came. So my daughter and I checked out a local wig shop.

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There were a GAZILLION options. And people had been saying things to me like “ooh, you can really have fun with a wig – go crazy!” But…I didn’t want to be “crazy.” I just wanted to feel like ME again.

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I finally narrowed the options down to one…although I couldn’t try it in the color I wanted, so I had to order it just based on the style and HOPE the color that I selected from a teeny tiny little sample was going to be right. Plus, the name of the wig was Hunter, which is one of my wonderful past dogs.

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Then I waited. First the wig shop made a mistake on the insurance form and the claim was denied. I spoke to the insurance company who said well THAT’S a mistake, of COURSE you’re covered…have the wig shop people send a corrected form and we’ll expedite the process. Then I waited again. Eventually the insurance responded to the claim…denied again! WTH??? Now my work’s HR person got on their case…I mean, REALLY got on their case…and FINALLY, just last week, after two months of nonsense..I finally got my wig!!!

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It’s taking a little getting used to…it’s certainly not like having your own hair, and I won’t even wear it every day…but at least I can when I want to! And I finally feel like ME again, and that’s what I wanted.

PS: this was the surprise I mentioned in Sunday’s Week in Review post!

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It’s Not All Good

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So. I have to talk about The Cancer today. Through most of this time I think I’ve been pretty good at keeping my Game Face on. I am not by nature a perky, positive person. I consider myself more of a realist and prefer to face *all* things, good and bad, and not pretend bad things don’t exist. But I *have* really tried to find the good in the situation…to find some beauty along the way…small joys, blah blah blah.

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But yesterday I hit a brick wall. With all the rashes and diarrhea and queasiness and infections and sores and exhaustion and other joys that I have mostly kept to myself…the thing that I’m having the hardest time with is…losing my hair. I knew it was going to happen. I knew the particular chemo drugs I’m getting have that as a side effect. But I still hoped I would somehow escape it.

Nope.

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You know how a little hair always comes out in the shower? That’s normal. But yesterday…it just wouldn’t stop coming out. Big clumps and handfuls. And tears. Then when I tried brushing it out…it wouldn’t stop coming out. My brush was full of hair, my hands were full of hair…if I touched hair, it was coming out. I finally just wrangled it all into a messy bun and called it a day.

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I don’t know if it’s really noticeable yet because pulling hair back into a bun is sort of like a glorified combover (ha ha) but I’m sure in bright light it’s visible. And is only going to get worse.

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I’m afraid to take a shower this morning because so much more is going to come out. I’ll just wash my bangs in the sink. And hope for the best.

So I’m seriously stressing out about what I’m going to put on my head. I KNOW there are 12,000,000 options…but I don’t really see anything that looks like ME to me. I don’t feel sick, I don’t want to LOOK sick. I don’t want to look like someone ELSE. I’m not a hat person EVER – not in the winter to keep warm and not in the summer to shade my face…so this concept of having to put something on my head in the morning and leave it on All Day Long – at work, shopping, etc, just feels so awkward and foreign to me and I DON’T LIKE IT. I DON’T WANNA. WHAAAA.

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There. This is my time I’m allowed to be mad and sad and bitchy and complainy. I’M ALLOWED. I don’t want anyone trying to cheer me up, cuz you CAN’T. No one’s words can change the way I’m feeling. I’m terrified and angry. And I’m just gonna roll around in that for awhile.

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So, now that I’ve alienated half of you (ha ha), I can proceed with my outfit. I LOVE this dress. It’s by Rachel Roy via Gwynnie Bee. It’s dark dark grey and feels like velvety slinky silk. And it has this cool drapey effect on the front that hides EVERYTHING. It’s light and flowy. It’s EASY. Which is exactly what I needed yesterday.

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And we found the perfect location to shoot – this abandoned movie theater. Crumbly and littered…and yet even it had a little spot of wild flowers still growing. Even when I only WANT to focus on the ugly, I find some beauty. Damn it! Ha.

Weeks in Review: 68-74

Week by week it doesn’t feel like I do much…in fact, I’m doing a whole lot of Not Much. But when I looked back at the past 6 weeks since I last posted a Week in Review…yeah, there’s some stuff. So I’ll share.

I finished radiation. 28 treatments. That really felt like an accomplishment. I hope to never be back for more.

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I got my appetite back.

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I was so sure this baseball tee dress was going to be a win. But it wasn’t. I thought it would be cottony but it was more polyestery. And too long.

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This floral silk Lucky Brand top from Gwynnie Bee was a win.

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Nope.

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Got my blood clot filter taken out.

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I left on a jet plane. I did come back again.

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Florida! I stayed overnight with my daughter in her cute Tampa apartment.

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Cool bathroom where we had brunch.

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Katie found Tommy.

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I found the ocean. I floated and bobbed for hours. A manatee swam right past us!

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There was a beautiful sunset every night.

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My fambly ❤

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My grand-niece Annabelle is the sweetest.

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My boy was happy I finally came home.

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I got a present!

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And started real chemo.

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Meet Bruce: IV site gone wrong. One of several unpleasant issues. 9 days out from Treatment #1 I’m back to feeling almost normal. Just tired.

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Caleb got some new meds and feels good.

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Janey had a bath.

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And today I will be…PACKING…because my exciting news is I’M MOVING!!! More details and pictures to come….

Week in Review: Weeks 64-67

Wow, I’ve essentially lost the month of May. May was the bulk of my radiation treatments – I still have seven left to go so they’re reaching a little into June as well, but hopefully I’ll be able to reclaim some of June for myself. I’ve been too tired to do much of anything, but here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks.

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I photographed our 5k Jack’s Run for Autism up in Port Washington. It was like The Windiest Day EVER. We couldn’t hang signs or put out balloons to mark the course or anything. But the runners didn’t seem to mind. Those athletic types don’t let *anything* stop them. Respect.

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And then I went for my first chemo treatment. Scary. They kept referring to it as an “all day treatment.” SCARY. But in reality, it was a lot of prep, counseling, two hours of IV hydration and anti-nausea meds before and another two hours after…and the actual chemo was only one hour. But it *was* a long day of not really knowing what to expect so I had my bag well-stocked with activities, snacks, water, super soft kitty blanket, book, etc.

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I was anxious all day waiting to feel awful…but that really never happened. I felt *queasy* for the next week or so but never really nauseous. I will be repeating this procedure on Monday. Hopeful for same outcome.

Ugh. This dress. Not good. It went back to Gwynnie Bee immediately. You win some, you lose some.

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I brought some lilacs in from outside our office door. They smelled so so so so good. And I haven’t killed my succulent terrarium plants yet! Yay Me!

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Caleb is such a sneaky-peeker.

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I found a rock on the beach that looks like a heart. Or a butt. You choose.

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Ahhhhh. I need more of these.

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Don’t work too hard, Caleb.

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Sunrise outside my door.

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How fun is this beachy cake? I just looked, I did not touch.

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A family from the school brought me this card. They’re having their own struggles and yet they took their time to do this for me. HUGS TO YOU.

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My kooky kid.

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Her kooky mom.

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Sunrise out my girlfriend’s door.

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I dog-sat last weekend. They’re a tough pair to handle. Not.

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We had lots of lovely porch time.

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Some things never change.

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Ruh-roh. I killed one of the succulents. It rotted away. I think I overwatered. I put a turtle in its place. That will be harder to kill.

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Here is a pic of me at 10. It was part of a video I just saw for the first time, so I apologize for poor quality due to screen grab. I guess my father filmed this back in 1970? Isn’t it weird to see pictures of yourself from the past (well, duh, all pictures are from the past but you know what I mean) that you have No Recollection of? You know it’s you cuz you can SEE you, but. I have no memory of this day or this dress or even my father having a movie camera! And this is funny, in 1970 girls were not yet allowed to wear pants to school. But we were wearing dresses this short (you can’t see the groovy white Jan Brady knee socks I had on but they’re there). How did THAT make sense??

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For some reason this “I Am the Champion” muscle man bicep pose was my go-to photo pose around that age. Who knows. That’s my sister, cheery in yellow.

And there you have it. This month was a LOT of laying around, staying close to home. Hopefully I’ll be able to venture out a little more this month. Fingers crossed!

On another note, I have STILL not switched out my winter clothes for summer! It’s been just cool enough that I haven’t needed to. Maybe this weekend. I kind of think that was the same last sentence from my LAST Week in Review post!

xoxo Bettye