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All The Small Things

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

For the first time since last August, I am finally allowed to polish my nails again. Purple! No particular reason other than it matches what I'm wearing for a function this evening.

I remain amazed at how much it hurts to acknowledge all the things that are off-limits during chemotherapy and treatment. While individually they are small things (no metal silverware or jewelry, no cold food or drinks, no nail polish or hair dye, no scented lotions or perfumes, no take out food, the list goes on), those things have become a little like my scars. It's not a vanity thing. But it is a constant reminder of all the things I don't have control over in this fight, including what I do or don't do with my own body. 

Whether or not I was going to color my hair, I am seriously thinking of dying it turquoise next week. Just BECAUSE.I.CAN.

I hope now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, the reminders won't make me so deeply sad. Perhaps they will remind me of how far I've come and what's been accomplished instead of all that has been lost and how much that hurts. And for now anyway (and Light willing, forever), I'm still here and cancer is not. So **** you, cancer. You may temporarily steal my nail polish and my taste buds and a foot of my small intestine and my hair and my tactile sensations and ability to stand without tipping over and my ability to use metal silverware like a real adult, BUT YOU WILL NEVER TAKE MY FREEDOM!!!! (insert Braveheart war cry here ;)

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1634
Joined: Jan 2013

I definitely think that you should have the mindset of being grateful that you have made it through the worst of times with stregth and not bother yourself with regretting what you couldn't control. That part is all behind you now, look upon it as a growing experience, and move forward. Being sad over what couldn't be controlled is a waste of your time and energy. 

Don't be a stranger here. The wisdom you gained through your treatment can be shared with those who arrive new, with all the fear that that holds. 

I am so happy for you. Stay NED girl, and hold your banner high. 

 

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

I sure am doing my best to keep a positive attitude.  The truth is, the fear of recurrence is always there.  I wonder if it will subside with time, but for now it's a close companion.  I DO plan on sticking around here.  Not only to help others, but to continue the journey with the folks who were kind enough to hold my hand through mine.  I don't know if I am blessed and healed, or if there are more challenges ahead.  I do know that I am lucky to have found such a group of kind, knowledgable folks to share this with.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2297
Joined: Oct 2011

now that I am 2 1/2 years NED.  I still get a little anxious around scan time, but nothing like it used to be.  I don't ever use the "C" word tho (not cancer, the other C word!), because I'm way too superstitious.  Being in remission is good enough for me.

So you will get there!  It just takes time and patience.  We've go through an awful lot with this stuff.  It's bound to take time for our minds and hearts to heal.  But I have a feeling that purple nail polish helps!

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

My understanding is that purple nail polish helps EVERYTHING ;)

Momof2plusteentwins's picture
Momof2plusteentwins
Posts: 467
Joined: May 2012

Laughing

I colored my hair during treatment, no one said that was off limits. 

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

I'm not sure what chemo regimen you had.  The chemotherapy pharmacist at the cancer center (Roswell Park) met with me to discuss the expected side effects of the FOLFOX chemotherapy, as well as things to avoid.  The list was fairly extensive.  Most would not necessarily interfere with the treatment (minus some vitamins and supplements), but could have unintended effects.  For example, I was advised against coloring my hair because my skin would be extremely sensitive and hair color could be very irritating.  Also, the chemotherapy would weaken it, likely causing extreme breakage and the color it turned out would likely not be the color intended due to the chemicals in my hair from the chemo.  So I might THINK I was going blonde, but might end up metallic orange.  Which probably sounds way cooler than in practice.

Interestingly, the one thing they did NOT advise against even though I specifically asked about it was sugar.  I was worried that sugar would feed the cancer cells, but the doctors assured me that EVERYTHING we consume turns to sugars in our bodies.  Obviously moderation is important because weight gain and excess sugar can cause OTHER health issues, but as it pertained to cancer, there was no need avoid sugar.  This actually ended up being a really good thing, because one of the only things that would soothe my mouth during treatment was to chew juicy sugared gums (like Bubblicious).  Mint gums or sugar free did not have the same soothing effect.  So I ended up pretty grateful for that.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1634
Joined: Jan 2013

I wasn't told not to colour my hair (not that I had planned to) but I can totally understand why they wouldn't want you to mess with the chemicals.  During my chemo (FOLFOX) my head was so sensitive that it hurt to put my head back onto the couch or down on the pillow. It  hurt to brush it and wash it. 

I was lucky that the whole cold sensitivity and metallic taste from silverwear, wore off after the first few chemo sessions, so I was able to enjoy my silverwear. 

My Oncologist also says the same thing about sugar. Everything in moderation. Still, I think its good to cut down and get most of your sugars from fresh fruit and vegetables. 

If you colour your hair turquoise, please post a picture  .

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3479
Joined: Apr 2010

It's just manicures and pedicures that they tell you not to because of chance of infection from too vigorous scraping of nails and cuticles. But polish is fine, I went out and bought polishes to wear even though I normally didn't.

I also wore perfumes amd scented lotions, just not to chemo infusions due to possibility of others having allergies, not because it was bad for you.

I also wore the heck out of my jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, rings etc., and certainly take out food, I don't know how many times I had burgers from the burger joint or KFC, at my chemo infusions.

The hair coloring I was told was a no no, so I didn't do that, as well as pedi's and mani's (sure did a pedi when I was off chemo for awhile, my first one ever, so nice) I feel bad for you that they gave such a list of not to do's, because that isn't the norm, and I hope others don't think it is and end up limiting themselves from life's little pleasures so much.

Enjoy everyone of them, now that you're off chemo!!

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1634
Joined: Jan 2013

Jewelry was very important to me, especially when I had no hair. I wanted to look pretty and nice clothes and jewelry did the trick. 

Even when I went to the shops or popped out to pick up meds, I made sure I had on a nice pair of trousers and top, with matching earings and necklace. 

And now that I am feeling better, I do the same.  

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

I find I actually still can't wear metal jewelry.  The cold from it is quite uncomfortable still, and it doesn't seem to subside even after the metal warms against my skin.  I keep hoping this effect will go away sooner rather than later.  It's interesting that I've been able to resume eating and drinking cold things, but touching cold things or cold water is still quite painful :(

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1634
Joined: Jan 2013

 I wanted to look pretty and nice clothes and jewelry did the trick. 

I just re-read my last post, which makes it sound like I consider myself to be 'pretty'. HA! I've never been 'pretty' and certainly not when my head was shaved. I must proof read my posts and choose my words in a more careful manner. 

Lets just say that jewelry and nice clothes made me feel better about myself. There you have it. 

 

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

I call shenanigans!!!  You are TOTALLY pretty, not to mention one of the most beautiful people inside AND out I have ever had the good fortune to meet.  SO THERE! :-D

danker
Posts: 769
Joined: Apr 2012

If that is truely your photo, you are indeed pretty-in fact beautiful, especially with hair.  LOL

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1634
Joined: Jan 2013

Now it seems like I'm fishing for compliments. HA!

Thank you, Danker and Lady Skye, your words mean allot to me. And no, I'm not fishing for compliments, I have had self esteme issues ever since I was left at the hosptial as a baby. Damage runs deep. 

Saying that, I can honestly say that since being diagnosed, my self confidence has blossomed. I feel so alive. 

And yes, Dan, the picture was taken two weeks ago by my oldest son. We were out on a bird watching trip in the mountains and I was ridiculously happy. 

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

I didn't think you were fishing for compliments.  But lucky me, it provided the opening to tell you anyway :)

Yolllmbs's picture
Yolllmbs
Posts: 238
Joined: May 2014

Youve been absolutely beautiful to me!  Apparently I'm not the only person to believe that!

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

I hope folks don't limit themselves either.  I was quite surprised by how many things I was told to avoid during chemo, and honestly, I felt a little like a house-bound recluse.  It was a long winter here, and so the cold and the oxy didn't play nice.  I couldn't go out to eat or be around crowds (I became neutropenic on the chemo, and so my immune system was crap).  

The lotions and perfumes and hair dye and nail polish and all that was on the list due to how sensitive they anticipated the skin becoming.  Any of those things could be further irritating, plus additional chemicals for my body to deal with.  And I have to tell you, with how painful the neuropathy still is, I can't IMAGINE using nail polish remover with that sudden influx of cold.  I'm pretty sure I would still jump right out of my skin.  I guess I should have though about that before I put it on ;)

traci43's picture
traci43
Posts: 448
Joined: Jul 2007

It is hard to stop doing things you enjoy or are at least considered adult like using silverware.  When first diagnosed in 2007, I too stopped nail polish and dyeing my hair.  But when I started having recurrances, I decided screw it and found a natural, oil based hair dye and kept dyeing my hair with no change in the amount of loss compared to chemo without dyeing. For me, that was just a few more hairs in the hair brush each day, but not bad.  I rarely paint my nails anymore but still try to keep my toes done regardless of whether I'm in treatment. 

Really its whatever you are comfortable with and based on doctor's advice.  I had asked about dyeing my hair and they did warn me it may be more prone to breakage.

I hope you don't have to go back in treatment and can begin enjoying those things you had to stop during treatment.  Traci

TheLadySkye
Posts: 100
Joined: Oct 2013

Thank you, Traci.  I hope and pray every day that by some miracle I might be healed from this.  I pray for all of you too.

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