Archive for September, 2011

The Big Shearing….

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I have dreaded the hair loss more than anything. Genuine grieving and anticipating great thrashing about when it happened. So my head did in fact tingle and the next thing I knew, just like the Red Chemo book said, i was finding lots of hair on my pillow. Yuck. But the big turning point for me was just when it really did come out in handfuls. I mean that is very damned creepy. All I could imagine was a mange look. So I called Edward as I mentioned earlier. Len took me in Monday and it was just fine. Edward and his friend Chuck were there and Holly too. I didn’t feel at all exposed. I just said when I walked in, “I’m gonna be cryin’ here pretty soon.” BUT I didn’t. The fact is this was realllllllly the smart thing to do. I controlled it and it was some how liberating to have it done with. Yes, I have an egg shaped head and yes, I really do look like the guy in the Six Flags and Dr. Pepper commercial. I must learn to dance like him.

First Edward shaved it with a #3 guide on the clippers. He asked me if I was ready and oh yes I wanted it done and fast. So buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, off it went. Then he did the #1 guide with the clippers. It is about 1/16th of an inch long. I look just like my brother and he looks just like my Grandpa. He says I look just like Daddy. He never knew Grandpa. DSC00300.jpg

Len did a great job of chronicling the drama, I think. Honestly I am not crying in the 2nd photo….although I did cry at the end because I was so touched by Edward’s kindness and sensitivity. He did it all with so much dignity. Thank you sweet man. The last photo was before he braided my favorite, trashy girl wig and sent me off into the world liberated. Since I won’t be able to get my hair colored for probably months he said we can just go to lunch. I will miss him sorely, if not.

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DSC00358.jpg Now here is the rest of the story: Taking a shower with no hair feels verrrrrrrrrrrry, verrrrrry cool. Almost kinky cool. I may never go back to tresses. I wore the short wig during a walk day before yesterday and it gets pretty darned sweaty under there. I took it off and threw it in the back seat and it looked like a wet, long-haired nutria…and probably smelled like one too. The long and short of it is some times I wear it in a scarf like I think Grace Kelly would want me to wear it and then a big hat on top. And some times I just wear my new hooligan look as I did at Mah Jongg on Tuesday. That’s the story on hair or the lack there of.DSC07293.JPG

Yikes I am loosing Momentum

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2011 by drycreekherbs

The first week after chemo was a blur….in retrospect not awful but not good. I slept too much and I was jittery-nuts from the stinkin’steroids. Tomorrow I am going to ask Dr. R if I really need that much. Please God, not more. I cried all one Sunday afternoon for no apparent reason except I felt like I had the flu but I didn’t. Then I was furious with myself for being whiny. And yes every day I felt better. My hair did start coming out and I didn’t like it one bit. Very spooky weird. I called Edward and he told me to come in Monday and he would meet me at the salon even though closed…privacy. Very thoughtful.

So I am going to hit the highlights as I began to feel better. I think I said earlier that Foy drove down last Wednesday and took me to lunch. I can’t remember how long it has been since we laughed so much. It was just the kind of purge I love. And although I know I said this in another entry–Foy always comes through and I love him for it.

Saturday night we went to Christ Church’s supper club at Susan and Bill’s house. It was great to be out with such nice people and I drank almost a bottle of prosecco…amazing since I have had no interest in alcohol…I also wore my wig…the long one.

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Then my sister in law brought my Mom up to see me…actually Brother Bill came too which was a surprise and nice–I just wasn’t expecting him. I KNOW my Mom and knew she would be lookin’ for any little thing to worry over. So I made myself up like a Coopie Doll with lots of jewelry. She reminded me of a mother cat who leaves the litter then comes back and has to give the kittens a big goin’ over because somebody might have touched one. She was like that. I got a real goin’ over! THis trip was huge. She turned 90 the day after and in no way is travel easy for her. Very difficult in fact. BUt she kept saying, she just wanted to see for herself that I really was ok. It was good.

Billy provided fabulous comic relief when he donned one of my wigs. I really thought Mother might die laughing. It was perfect. Then as I showed her my new fedora and she was smitten. Quite a 90th birthday portrait I think. She has always loved a hat. She is beautiful inside and out. The single constant in my life has been my Mom. I adore her and get weepy stupid when I think of her.

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OK I Was in a Huff.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2011 by drycreekherbs

Here is how lucky I am: I have friends who don’t mind a bit letting me know when I am off the mark. I barely have to ask. So, I was wrong and I am a twit on occasion. Tell everyone you think might want to read my nonsense. I should be flattered that someone or anyone would read it. And as pointed out to me, it is on the internet so it is public. But you can be sure I will think before I write…really that isn’t true. My Mom’s favorite thing to say to me all my life — “Think before you speak!” It didn’t really take.

I am wearing a little fleece cap to bed now. I really want to write about my Mom’s visit and the great shearing saga but it is late and I can’t wait to finish State of Wonder.

I am not in a huff.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I love the posse and my friends who I share this site with. Last week I think I wrote that I hand selected who I give it out to….Ok….no beating around the bush. Please ask me before you pass my journal site on. I am 99% certain I will cheerfuly say , “Yes!” but pleeeeeeeeease ask me first. I had 5 separate episodes this very week where I learned that the site had been given out. Two times it really wasn’t ok with me but there you have it. Knowing how public the internet is, there really is no guarantee of privacy….still most people don’t just stumble on to it. I did have one very nice woman who did stumble on to it and she asked me if she could give the site to her friend with breast cancer. It is my journal and it is my bald head that will be in the next entry and it is sort of like having your picture taken in your underwear. Enough said.

Today’s Entry: Do Not Disburb and Mad Dog Rantings

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2011 by drycreekherbs

1202989601_f.jpgThis is a forewarning that the following I am posting is for me, me, me and my therapeutic journey. I hope IF someone reads this they will just realize during this entry, I am not interested in encouragement, loving advice, the power of positivity, stories about Ghandi or other superheroes, etc. It is unlikely I would starve myself for the greater good. I would save a child, an old person, or critter from getting run over. That may be where it ends. A long time ago I decided to share this space with people I hand selected that might find it curious or entertaining. Little anecdotes, travel lore, exceptional photos of me not looking my age and so on. And, at the end of every year I publish into a book…my diary.

Somewhere in the archives– I wrote about occassional dark thoughts but I never did write any and I have no interest in revealing a BIG SCOOP. I mean I have some secrets (mostly high school misadventures) and setting myself up for judgement, pity, and ridicule by barring my complete soul just isn’t gonna happen. Most anyone who reads this knows I am rich in character flaws. The Preamble continues: I am a Miss Malapropism, always using words incorrectly but kinda similar; I never met a punctuation mark I thought needed to rule supreme; and hmmmmmm, oh yes, in general, I am factually incorrect most of the time. Whew that felt good. So if I see myself really getting odd(er) and thinking I can’t cleanse my mental/emotional palate, I will yank this journal right out of cyberspace or leave this one and start another…called the Abyss. Damn, I am on a roll.

Ok, so why am I ranting? I have almost forgotten. Since the first chemo treatment these things have happened.

1. I have felt pretty good, wretched, discombobulated, and emotionally numb. Now let me make this absolutely, 100% clear. I have not one doubt that this is going to be just fine. I won’t die of cancer. It was, just for the record, always been the one thing that scared me —-less most of my life. So I have it. I think it is important to say this because I DO have a very good attitude about cancer. I had a pretty good week. Sunday, I came home, sat on the chaise here on the screened in porch, and wept for hours without any reason what so ever…well, I did at some point feel like I had swine flu with no symptoms. I mean it was an out of body weirdness. Thank you God, that passed. To Len’s amazing credit, he would come out every hour or so to make sure I hadn’t thrashed myself to death. He IS sensitive.

2. YIKES…..there must be 30 coyotes just beyond the trees having howlin’ fits. Len is herding in the cats.

3. I am walking pretty routinely again. I haven’t exceed 3 miles most days….one day 5. I have lost maybe 2 pounds but it is because my mouth feels like I have been suckin’ on a penny.

4. Things I loooooove: Blue Moon Beer, over ice, and diluted with water by half. This is my all time favorite, thirst quenching drink ever…best guzzled in the morning! I also love Souper Salad so I can eat what I want and not too much. I sometimes just have to have a fried egg sandwich! Tonight I had a very tasty sandwich–peanut butter & honey, chocolate sprinkles, sliced bananas, and walnut pcs. I am particularly interested in trying this grilled…Babs says panini makers are awesome…I will get one. i eat vegetables and fruit every day.

5. I also looooooove my posse and family. They are incredibly smart to look or ask the right questions before launching into almost any here’s how I can help you….I am incredibly good about telling people what I want and don’t want!

6. This is BIG: Yesterday I went to a Look Good…Feel Better program at Seton Northwest Hospital in Austin. Kandy at the wig shop hooked me up with them….it was such a healthy experience. Four other women. Two older and I….one of them a tough cookie who has cancer again for the third time. Two younger women…one maybe 34 a stay at home mom, the other a 20ish exquisite Indian woman. It was all about make up and they give you very high end cosmetics and show you how to apply them. Now keeping in mind, I am painted woman, and I learned a few tricks. But I learned so much more about what the American Cancer Society can and will do for you. It is fabulous. Cleaning, gas money, cooking, rides to appts, wigs, etc. I am not even touching it. Here is what I needed and got. I got to be around ‘girls’ learning about make up and not sharing stories too much. I needed to be around them because I didn’t know them, I won’t get to know them, and they were enormously comforting without any reason….and a real good kick in the butt for me.

7. My braid wig is cool.

8. Every day I wake up different and with a different side effect. Today I am covered in a rash but I feel awesome. Cassandra, Dr. R’s nurse said to call her tomorrow if it gets worse.

9. I went to see the Debt today. i reeeeeeeallly liked it.

10. In 13 days, this is the 2nd I haven’t slept like the dead for a couple of hours during the day.

11. My scalp is tingling…they say that is the beginning of hair loss. I have cute scarves and directions on making cool turbans but-not— out of t shirts. Kinda Grace Kelly looking.

12, I am done.

Fixed Entry: Two Shocky Filled Days–Treatment and Buying Wigs!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 by drycreekherbs

Darn, drat, and damn. I spent nearly four hours doing this entry yesterday….In my opinion, it was so perfectly clear and linear….a total representation of how I felt. I smugly published it and it went into cyberspace and I didn’t even know I lost most of it. I called Mom and I couldn’t understand why she seemed not to acknowledge the photos etc. They weren’t there. So I have been able to more or less find the text but I will need to piddle around with this entry for more hours than I need to. I think I really am getting Munchhausen. Everything in my mind is about this mean-assed cancer. OK. I am starting over…It isn’t really sequential any more but this is how it began.

PREAMBLE: This is the email, plus more me-isms that I sent to my ’39 most intimate friends.’ The photos are sort of my photo documentary until I start looking really haggard then I will use old glamour shots!

This is an extended version of what happened starting on Thursday. I made a call to my Nurse Navigator late Wednesday and discovered there might have been a little slip up getting me in. Grrrrrrrrr. Hells-bells, I have cancer, I want in immediately. OK, already. So, the past few days have been very wild in my head, at least. Some who might actually read this will find it to be waaaay too much information so I say just do a quick scan and I won’t be in the least bit offended…..others of you loooooove details and want more….so it is really hard to get it right and maybe pretty darned egocentric to think you want to know any of it, for that matter. Yikes, a lot of pressure, huh? Mary K, who is my Queen of Analogies, says I do not have to apologize for anything as this is MY OPERA. She IS brilliant. Not only is it my opera, but I am the diva about to do one great aria! Santa Fe Opera Company here I come!IMG_1848.jpg

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Here is the scoop: Thursday was the big learn-all/decision day. I took a fast, firm choice for chemo because, Of COURSE, the expensive test which is designed to tell you exactly what to do put me right in the stinkin’ middle of the undecided zone…I had no intention of equivocating so I said, “Let’s roll!” Dr. Rudd agreed and I went for my first chemo treatment within an hour I think–before I could change my mind. Admittedly, it was an emotional roller coaster for me because of the guaranteed hair loss and just knowing I am signing up for some poison but for the greater good.

I am a tough bird and will do just fine. Len, Susan Lawson, and Nurse Navigator are in charge of listening to major stuff. I am getting my Aggie War Hymn tape ready to help me steel the way…I used it when I was working on my doctorate and I do believe it did the trick. I am so so so so glad to be doing something in terms of treatment and the right thing for me. Len is a Prince among Men.

These are the facts:
1. I have three more treatments–one every 21 days…the actual treatment is a nice cocktail of a fine, fine sedative given with the chemo drugs.

2. All sorts of things have to be considered during these 12 weeks. Mainly I have to be vigilant about fevers. If I get one of 100.5, I go straight to the hospital during week days–I call Cassandra, the oncology nurse, right away – -and straight to the office or the ER on the weekend or holidays and bump to the head of the line, so to speak, explaining I am taking chemo. I hope I never find out about that.

3. I have to drink truck loads of water because I must be kind of dehydrated and they had a bit of a time getting the teeeeeny, no-pain needles in my rolling veins. I was so internally fweaked that my blood pressure was high and that didn’t help. Fluids will puff those veins up. The nice sedative brought the blood pressure down.

4. There is some lab work done the day before each round of chemo so they can watch my white cells. I need to avoid contagions…guess Mexico is out for DOD! That breaks my heart.

5. I will need to eat by the clock to make sure I don’t lose weight; it might be necessary to eat with plastic utensils if I get a metal taste in my mouth.

6. Very nice Chemo treatment area and if I am lucky I can get a window seat that is verrrrrrrrry relaxing. They have internet and good TV; the RNs are adorable and perfectly suited to their work. There is a brass bell I get to ring when I get I my last treatment. Seems liberating.

7. They say the sicky stuff is easy to regulate…we will see. I think I will be ok. I can and will walk for exercise and rip-roar through each day. This really is just a speed bump.

Love- Suz

PS. I’m still wearing a flower for each hospital visit and carrying a pink umbrella (as an optimist for me and rain.)

PSS. OH- I forgot this part. I am going to get lessons on self-hypnosis–expect me to always be in a very zenny zone!

PSSS. Thanks you for your encouragement!!!!

PSSSS. Len and Susan Lawson, my rocks, were with me during the treatment….I don’t need a port so it was pretty straight forward. I am a pretty upfront gal when it comes to courage….I don’t know that I have any–so I asked Dr. Rudd for just a wee bit of something to take the edge off…..it worked great. Absolutely no thrashing about! It takes about an hour and a half…..no discomfort. All will be well in the end, according to Julian of Norwich, but just some inconvenience and discomfort–cognitively-chemo brain which I have probably had for years from wine; socially and emotionally–being bald or at least with funny hair with possibly no eye brows or lashes. Remember all, I am happily vain. I love girly make up and hair care.

Precious and dear Jackie went with me to see Edward, friend and stylist extraordinaire, in Austin on Friday. Although it was the regular color day, he did a cropping! I only had two minor melt downs…mainly because everyone was sooo darned good to me. There were some funny moments like Jackie reading to Edward from the Chemo Manual about how to care for my hair. He was a hero. He did a ‘Bob cut’ and will shave the rest off when it starts to come out in a couple of weeks. He said I could come to his house and he would buzz cut the rest and provide Mexican Martinis. This could work.
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DSC07244.JPGDSC07248.jpgAfter lunch we went to Steinmart for big earrings then to the wig shop. A very nice and helpful woman helped me with wigs, eye brows, scarves, chin straps, nets, turbans, you name it. I bought two synthetic wigs…both kinda trashy looking which appeal to me, of course. I am crazy for the real long one that I can braid, even with the tags hanging off like Minnie Pearl. Edward says that human hair looks much better but it has to be cleaned every week or so and probably colored so it won’t look flat. Also human hair wigs have to be styled every day. I don’t know and right now I am tired of me and tired of cancer so I am going to stick these photos in and quit!

Nice people want to tell me they reeeeeeally like my new hair cut–I will have it a week or two at the most before it is gone. I get kinda bristly because I think they (Damnit, I am 64 and I still care what they think.) are saying they like it better and I don’t care about that now. I care that my hair is about to be gone and not by choice. Carol says, “It is what it is.” I want to have a drink and go do a mean tango with a tall, dark, and handsome and swarthy devil….maybe Edward will cooperate!

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Whooooa….what happened to the rest of my entry from earlier today?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 by drycreekherbs

What about all the wig photos? Damn. Will have to redo it all tomorrow. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am testy.