Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Business End of Breast Cancer

Party's over. Okay, I know I promised more pictures and secrets, but Valerie clearly is not reading the blog and hasn't sent the photos yet. Perhaps she's carefully screening them. (No, this is not a photo from the party. It wasn't that kind of party).

But the party is definitely over (the house has almost been restored and the Clarkes restored the scotch--they really didn't drink that much but Jack didn't want to be that guy either, so the whole family dropped off a bottle. Why were the kids carrying the scotch though?)

I didn't realize how darned clever it was of me to plan this party in the midst of all this cancer stuff. I was able to focus on something fun, like a party with pink drinks and food shaped like breasts, and sort of ignore the whole cancer part. But today I sat down to deal with the many details of chemotherapy. And man, it's a lot. I'm wiped out.

I'm supposed to deal with the hair issue, or, er, lack of hair issue before chemo starts--you know, go pick out a wig and get it cut, styled, whatever and start getting used to wearing it (supposedly this lessens the shock. I'm thinking it drags it out!). So that means soon. I'm basically 10 days away. I did at least go online to (yeah, there's such a thing...thanks Google ads) and Chris cheerfully helped me pick out a few scarves and hats this morning. And hey, they have "hair" that you wear under a hat (so no top part--not as hot or scratchy is the idea) which seems pretty clever for a more casual look (unless Aretha lets me borrow "the" hat in the next few months, which is definitely not casual). But we decided that for "hair" the selection needs to be done in person. How will I know if long red hair really suits me? Or dark Cleopatra hair? Scarves and hats were ordered--oh, and a sleep cap! Because otherwise I will freeze at night. I hadn't thought of this. My only complaint was they stick bows on a lot of the hats. I'm bald, I'm sick, and I don't do cute...why would I want a bow sticking out of my head? Who thinks of this stuff?

But now I've got to find time to go wig shopping. Where to even begin with this? Okay, I begin by figuring out who can go with me and be able to provide style advice but also humor and not collapse into a puddle of nerves (or tears, god forbid). I'm working on that. I also looked at my calendar between now and "C" day. Yikes. I've already jammed what feels like a month of client appointments into two weeks, and now I'm supposed to go shopping? My head won't even go there (pun intended).

I also calendared what I know about the chemotherapy "journey." So I blocked out the days on my work calendar that I'll be out for the treatments and the one afternoon of chemo boot camp. Then I started looking at the days (10 to 14) after each treatment that they say I will likely feel the greatest fatigue. Bonus days occur in the third week when apparently the steroids take over and I will have a sort of unnatural "high" and be full of energy. You know, right before they drip me full again and send me crashing back down, lightly. I also get blood tests from time to time between treatments. And I see the doctor a couple of times besides the chemo treatments (which are mostly done by the nurse practitioners). It's like I'm sick or something. My spring calendar is just a hot mess. Oh, and my secretary, who maintains my calendar, office decorom, most of my memory and a good portion of my brain, leaves on maternity leave March 6th. She's going to miss all the fun.

I did realize though that my last treatment will be April 30th which is sooner than I was thinking. So by the end of May my hair should start growing again. I can race Michelle's baby to see who gets a full head of hair first. And he has a "head" start, since not only is his hair already growing but his head will be smaller. (Still, I should have a good 2 or 3 inches of hair by the time I'm sipping mai tais on the shores of Lahaina come December). The radiation will start then in June and I should be "all done" in July. I mapped this all out today.

Chris and I also realized that he's supposed to be at his old high school speaking on "career day" on the 27th. The morning after the first chemo. I don't want him to miss it to stay home watching me sleep (or, um, retch) so I called in reinforcements. STACEY ALDSTADT will be the first official "babysitter." For that, she gets an extra party photo. Plus, look how "cute" this is:
Yeah, again it's all about Seamus. He has a way of doing that. (Where'd he learn that??)

And then again, there were the bills. UCLA's have started to roll in now. They seem to come in piles. And piles.

Yeah, I think I need to just go unwind with a glass of wine and a book... PAUL and LORI THIEL did give me "Cancer on $5 a Day" by Robert Schimmel for my birthday...


  1. "Here, Stacey, hold the dog for a second." *click*

  2. Hummm. It is all overwhelming. I know that for sure. No fun. Know that too. I had some success at Cameo wigs on Arlington if you want an expert fitter/stylist to try on a few for size etc. I learnrd to like mine and got out of the house so much faster when I didnt have to style the hair---Help you if you like.All sorts of hair places--not to worry.

  3. Yes, getting ready faster in the morning will be one of those silver-ish linings. I will go to Cameo. I will find the time. (I'm repeating this to myself now). Thanks, Helga!

    And Chris--Stacey and Seamus look like they were sitting there like that quite comfortably for quite some time. After all, Stacey had some of that pulled pork on her shirt.

  4. Seamus and I go waaaay back, but Chris is daddy. If you want someone to laugh hysterically every time you try another wig, I'm your gal.

  5. P.S. I really think you are one of the few women who could pull off a turban.

  6. I can get you a replica of Artha's hat at Mrs. Dewson's hat in San Fran. I saw it on Saturday!

    It was red...but that big ass bow...I don't really think it is you.

  7. Man...this thing needs spell check...or I should type slower.

    I meant Aretha's hat.

  8. That's my point. Bald head + "Big Ass Bow" = not right.

  9. I nominate T.C. to help you shop for wigs. I complimented her on her short haircut at your party. I was clueless that she had on a wig.

  10. Well then Zee, maybe YOU shoud go shopping with me. If you can't tell it's a wig, we'll know it's the right one!

  11. Ah. Wig shopping. I have a hard time picking out the "right" bra for myself. I don't know how long it would take me to get something (or 4 or 5) that is out there for all to see. You simply must post pictures of this occasion. If no other pictures make it to this blog, these HAVE TO! So, are you going for the "I'm feeling like a short wedge cut" look for one day, and then a "I'm feeling a bit Jessica Simpson" another? Or do you just get one and stick with that? I figure, if it's part of something your insurance covers, I'd go all out and have a "wig wardrobe" so to speak....


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