When an Overload is not an Overload and the Hair is Gone

First published: February 14, 2013 in Health

Last Updated: March 14, 2013 9:10 pm Tough to read? Print this! Tough to read? Print this! Email This Email This
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Oh yes it’s Valentines Day today – a day when we all show those we love a little bit more appreciation with little or big gifts. So -happy Valentines day and enjoy!
It was finally time to meet with the surgeon and hear the results of pathology and lab tests. I want to make sure that I acknowledge this wonderful man who has patience rarely seen in others .

The news was not the one I was hoping to hear.

I was hoping, but deep inside I pretty much knew and was somewhat ready to hear an unpleasant verdict. The tests were positive on the lump and the really bad news was that lymph nodes showed active cancer cells. Not a huge amount but enough to immediately start treatments.

That meant chemotherapy, something I was hoping to not have to go through. And once again, the surgeon took time to explain every single detail of everything possibly involved and then some. That is why I used the title of “When an Overload is an Overload”.

Starting with the surgeon, followed by the oncologist, couple of nurses, an assigned cancer centre rep, pharmacist … My head started to spin around and I realized that I was getting totally overloaded with information and instructions. It was kind of scary -I developed a bit of a fear that I won’t do everything the right way, that I will forget the next steps, that something will get missed….
But I soon realized that the system is amazing -it won’t let you screw up! Instructions you go by on daily basis are clear, well documented and sort of organized behind your back. And you get everything in writing -and I mean everything.
The next meeting was with an oncologist to start talking treatment plan and details. The result: total of 8 chemo sessions, two weeks apart, followed by about 4 week break, then a surgery to removed more lymph nodes, then healing time followed by daily radiation treatments for 4 more weeks. As long as the lymph nodes are clean, so will I be -and that will be the ultimate result!

I started the chemo -and that is quite an experience. The chemicals are injected through an I’VE and the process takes about 2-3 hours. So you get to read, play games or take a nap. The only painful part is the start of the injection and it is quite bearable. Also -there are some very good anti-nausea medications – and that certainly helps.

The big surprise was the way the nurse outfitted herself before injecting me -for her protection I was told. That is quite shocking, because you have to think about just how dangerous the chemicals are ,when a heavy protective wear is needed. But that didn’t really matter -it had to be and has to be done!

My only side effect in spite of the mess was nausea – not severe but enough to interfere with what I need to and want to be doing every day. And then of course -the hair….. I’d like to say -going, going, gone, but it was more like -gone ! I thought it was a good idea to have a very short haircut first to make it easier. And I don’t care what anyone says -or even what I was saying to everyone -loosing your hair is quite upsetting.

You do feel like crying every time you touch your head and end up with handful of hair. And it is almost hard to believe just how much hair we have! I would end up with a full hand of hair several times and still had a lot left!
This was what my hair looked before the cut to as short as possible:

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And the this is what ended up on the floor:

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And here is the result:

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I must say I did enjoy the very short hair -but I really only got to enjoy it for couple of weeks, because after the second chemo treatment, my hair did start coming out . I couldn’t believe how painful it was! For me anyway.

I literally spent the night sitting up, because I could touch my head to the pillow! The next day, my good friend Colin, who is an excellent hairdresser came over and shaved my head. And that was that -now I have a plentiful selection of hats and scarves and having fun with not having a bad hair day :-)

Here are pictures I took during my second chemo treatment session with the permission. Of my nurse:
This is the protection wear -no wonder if scares people!

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The injection is done into an IV and 4 of these tubes are dispensed -we affectionately call the the Red Devil:

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And everything is monitored carefully:

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And now I have pretty much brought this story to the present time. Of course there were situations and experiences that happened and I will add them as they come to my mind.

Hope you are enjoying my stories and will continue to do so.

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