Here comes the hair!

Okay 🙂 I have a smile on my face because today’s post is about NOTHING important. You know how lovely it is, I assume, to think about unimportant things as opposed to those scary-oh-shit-this-isn’t-happening-it’s-all-a-dream sorta stuff. None of that today.

Instead this is about hair. Not the loss of hair, but the growth!

Christmas 2010 – sooo long ago, yet very vivid in my memory, I was cracking jokes about reverse balding as my monk-like hairdo slowly began to spread in wisps of light brown hair over my bare head.  It was almost worse than being bald, because bald can be sexy, cool, edgy, hip . . . but random wisps around my crown with a bald patch on the top is not sexy. I covered my head more in those days than when my scalp was completely bare.

Christmas 2011 – not soo long ago, but a bit of a memory by now. The hair had grown back across my head, and while it was about an inch, it was cute. Downside was that I had a massive V-shaped hairline, exactly like my brother’s, and it wasn’ exactly feminie. But the hair was coming. . . ohhh baby, it was coming!

Spring 2012 – I shake my head and bangs fall before my eyes, over my eyes, hanging all the way down BELOW my eyes. HAIR. HAIR. HAIR. Beautiful, glorious hair. No matter that it flipps out to the sides like some Archie Comic character. No matter! It’s hair!

And I predict that by Christmas of 2012, this stuff may just be styled into a proper bob. It may even have BLOND HIGHLIGHTS.

Okay, I’m abusing the use of capital letters. Okay, I’ll stop. BLOND HIGHLIGHTS!!!! Okay, I’m done.

[Zsolt just came upstairs and massaged my shoulders. . . oh my goodness. Every home should have a Zsolt.]

Anyhow, it’s still a little strange and crazy, but it’s coming in. No way do I look bald, and it took about two or three months after treatment for it to fully grow in and cover the head. Short hair looks gorgeous on women, by the way, and I truly believe each and every one of us can rock this look.

Sometimes I look at women who are 2 or 3 years out of treatment, and I literally ogle their hair.  It’s almost hard to focus on their conversation. (Is this how men feel about breasts? No wonder they get distracted.) For some reason, the importance of hair is so deeply ingrained into us. It’s associated with health, with femininity, with sexuality, with glossiness and – really, it’s deeply linked to identity.

And honestly, I’m almost kinda nervous to grow it out into a bob, to dye it blond again, to go back to that look I had before chemotherapy (though I love that look). . . I guess I’m a little afraid I’ll lose it all over again. But I can’t be afraid of things just because they were associated with cancer. Can’t abide with the fear.

My wedding anniversary is upcoming. I will be excited for it. I will not freak out that I’ve got an oncologist appointment right around the same time (this is where the important stuff starts creeping into the conversation, and I promised not to go there today – so it stops here.).

Blond is good. Hair is good. And sweetness of all sweetness, it’s finally coming back.

Tamoxifen and Recending Hair

So yesterday I stepped out of the shower and my hair was slicked back (I like to imagine I’m that girl in the waterfall and lush greenery and my hair is down to my butt) and catch a glimpse of my face in the steamy mirror.

I just about gagged.

My hairline has a startling V-shaped quality.  It’s not actually noticeable when dry and styled (though I did think to myself the other day that there were some rather empty patches). But when wet and slicked back – it’s startling. Geez Louise!! What, am I going bald?

“You’re not going bald.” My mom tells me, “but your hair is thin there.”

Thinning in my opinion, because I think it wasn’t always like this.

“Your horomoes are going a little crazy,” she continues, “and it’s normal for women’s hair to thin when that happens.”

As part of my post-treatment life I’m taking a drug called Tamoxifen. It’s blocks estrogen receptors, so all my lady hormones are in a mess – which may explain why my hair is fading on the edges like a man’s. Augh! But at least (and I’m very thankful) I don’t have any other side effects of Tamoxifen, cause it can be way worse than just a little hair loss.

Anyhow, you can’t notice when it’s dry. And I’m still growing it out, so maybe those places will eventually decide to stop messing about and grow in too. Who knows? All I think is that in 2 to 5 years, I’ll be off this Tamoxifen and remembering what it’s like to be estrogen receptive (and totally cancer free).

For now I need to place fighting cancer above thick hair. But nevertheless it was a surprise.

Anyhow – despite my slow-to-grow hair great things are happening. Tonight I’m going to a LookGoodFeelBetter, this weekend is the Mirror Ball, and I’ve also got a pass to the Breast Quest Film Festival.

Awesome, or awesome? Totally awesome.  

Post-chemotherapy physical

And finally I can relax. The past few days have been jammed packed, so it’s very good to lay here in bed and talk with you. Outside, in typical British style, the sky is grey. For Canada winter means snow and ice and deep freeze. In England winter means grey and rain and wet. I could take either climate, but my apartment grows mould with too much humidity and that is not fun, nor healthy. Sooner than later we’ll ditch this accommodation.

Anyhow! Good morning! Today I’m doing a body check. It’s been a little over one month since my last chemotherapy treatment. So head-to-toe inventory:

Toes: Still painted and enjoying the result of a post-Christmas pedicure with Mom. The ladies are lovely in their pale green varnish, though if I could go back I’d have gotten a hot pink instead. During the pedicure, despite the tingling that had occurred during chemo, there was no discomfort. And since then no tingling has returned. This is a very good thing for which I’m thankful. Paxlitaxel did not disable my toes.

Shins: Leg hair is sparsely returning, though not as Amazonian and fierce as it once was (it was like a black jungle). Due to winter and my new adoption of legging/tights beneath my dresses, I will not be shaving this season.  But it doesn’t even matter. I’ve now got my father’s legs (what every woman wants), totally bare of hair.

Nether Regions: aka The Lady. Five shots of Zolodex threw me into menopause and took away my menstruation. It’s a dry well. Unfortunate for several reasons (use your imagination) but the greatest worry is that my period hasn’t returned. Right – here is the thing. If chemo knocked out my baby-making abilities, then the periods will never return. If the Zolodex is simply taking time to wear off, it’ll return eventually. Some women get it back immediatly, others wait months – like even up to half a year. I’m not too worried, just sick of the hot flashes.

Belly: Happy. It hasn’t had a needle in over a month. Yay! I’d like to maintain the trend.

Boobs: Or boob. Whatever. Chest. Apart from my bi-weekly meltdown with fear of reoccurrence (something I really need to work on) things are great. At the moment my skin is a rich cream colour, and the scar is still red, and will likely become redder as radiotherapy progresses, but for now things are okay. My left nipple still intimidates me. I try to ignore it.

Hands: Improving daily. The extreme sensation has reduced significantly, and it’s only my thumbs that feel the discomfort. Mind you, my nails have all suffered. Oh they are UGLY. Like rotten teeth. Hopefully this disgusting mess grows out quickly. Although, as a reflection of what happened within my body during chemo, it’s quite revealing.

Face: Smiling. It’s good to be done chemotherapy. Oh, and my left bottom eyelid is essentially without lash, and I suspect my eyebrows have further thinned since I’ve returned to England. Cursed allergies! This apartment has got to go. (or rather, we need to go from the apartment)

Head: Give me a head with hair! Long beautiful hairrr! I get hair-envy, and wonder what Freud would  say about that? I look at people’s gorgeous heads of hair and crave. I crave hair. At the moment it’s thickening up on the side and back, but the top front is completely sans new growth. Hopefully I’m reverse balding, but there is a fear that I’ve simply gone bald at the front of my head. That would suck: Bye bye bangs.  AH! No way! It’s got to grow back.

Overall: I’m doing great & feeling good. Sure I get tired, but this little island between treatments has been an excellent holiday destination.

There you go – body check complete. This is the body of a post-chemo babe, and it’s coming back nicely. Yes, the hair could grow more quickly (and more evenly) but I’m thankful nevertheless.

Have a lovely day and thanks for reading this self-fixated post. Next time I’ll talk about the killer whales, which has a further reaching meaning than stuff like leg hair, pedicures and reverse balding.