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Make It Rain

ejourneys's picture

Monday was my day to get groceries in preparation for chemo later this week. By the time I got to the store it was near closing time, due to some unforeseen delays.

First, I had slept in, which is a good thing.

Then, my scalp started feeling tender in the early afternoon. I gave it a gentle rub and watched strands of hair float down to my lap. A bit more rubbing and a small clump dislodged.

Aha!

I had been waiting for this. My oncologist had warned me -- twice -- that I would lose my hair. According to what I've read on the cancer forums, hair loss (alopecia) can take several days, leaving bare patches. (Here's a good explanation of what happens.) One of the chemo nurses had recommended that I buy cheap panty hose, which I could cut and wear on my head at night so that I didn't shed all over my pillow. I've got the hose beside my bed.

Once my hair started falling out, I took it as a challenge: How much could I dislodge through rubbing alone? I was doing some leisure reading online. Every now and then I broke from my reading and rubbed. It felt oddly satisfying to watch my hair accumulate on my lap, drifting down like the contents of a snow globe in vivo. Honestly, I thought it was pretty cool.

By the time I was done, rubbing alone had dislodged more than half. If anything, I was surprised by how much hair I actually had, because I am used to it being thin. For thin hair, it was certainly taking its time jumping ship.

Even with so much on my lap, I still looked like this when viewed from the front:

That scar on my upper chest is the still-healing insertion point for my chemo port. I'd had that surgery 20 days earlier.

The top of my head told a different story:

Time for scissors. First, I gathered my fallen hair into a bag:

Then I took my scissors into the bathroom, snipped off as much as I could, and bagged that, too:

A week earlier, not knowing when alopecia would hit but knowing it would be soon, I had taken a baseline shot of my hair:

Here's what I looked like after rubbing and snipping. Front:

Back:

Top:

My shower dislodged just a bit more hair; I think most of that had already fallen onto my skin. I had purchased chemo caps weeks earlier. Now I could finally model them -- from Hello Courage (left) and TLC (right).

I've ordered more great prints from Hello Courage.

I had heard thunder while showering; the skies had opened by the time I was dry. My excursion to the market would wait until the storm had passed. By that time it was dark, which meant I could venture out in a T-shirt rather than long sleeves. I set the fancier cap on my head and gave my new look its premiere outing.

My larder is now stocked with "chemo food," which should tide me over until I recover from my infusion later this week.

Monday night's workout was 60 minutes of my fastest time yet on the mini-bike (20.4 mph), done to the kickass, prepare-for-battle music of Jeremy Soule's Guild Wars soundtrack.

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