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.

Hair regrowth

Christmas is over! And now life moves on. But it was a lovely holiday filled with family and quiet and all the good things for which I had yearned. Who says a little nostalgia is a bad thing? This Christmas has been soul food.

Up next: 2011! Another year, another decade, fresh from the garden and ready to be savoured. And speaking of gardens, I have a lovely little patch of growth all around my head. Hmm, maybe that sounds gross. I’m not talking actual moss or anything. This is hair – real hair.

An excellent description of my hair growth would be ‘reverse balding’. It’s coming in, middle-aged-man-style.  There’s some dark fuzz around my ears, bridging up to my crown and fading as it crosses the top of my head. The peak of my hair (closest to forehead) is still yet to grown, but up top it’s a fuzzy mess of random baby hairs.

The hair garden is growing, and I’m quite pleased. The nurse had mentioned to hair growth during the latter part of chemotherapy. She said it would grow in as baby hair, but that would stop after the first cut. No way no how are any scissors getting near my new locks, but I look forward to the day when this mess can be styled.

Sometimes I’d look in the mirror and simply not see myself. Losing hair was in many ways losing my femininity. Funny, you think the breast would have done that – and it did to some extent, but the loss my hair was so obvious. First of all, women aren’t meant to be totally bald, that’s a job for men. Secondly, women aren’t meant to have middle-aged-man style bald heads. I look like a fuzzy monk. For a long time it was discouraging (mixed in with hormones and chemo drugs), but now I’m looking up. Things are growing back. Even if I still look like a baby chicken, or a man, or a monk . . . it’s growing back, baby! There’s hope in my reflection. I’ve never been so glad to see my mousy brown hair colour. Whew! It’s coming.

Yay for new hair. 🙂