It's been a few weeks and I've had a lot of things on my mind. The new year has come upon us and I made a bold decision on New Year's Eve. Many folks have asked about whether or not I would lose my hair with the chemotherapy. There is one drug in my cocktail which has hair loss as a side effect; it happens to be the 5-FU which is what is in the 2-day pump. The first two rounds of chemo (which included the 5-FU) I lost about one third to half of the bulk of my hair. I had very thick hair so it wasn't really noticeable to anyone but me and my hairdresser. However, I had no new hair growth afterwards. So this time around, losing half of the half that is left was getting to be pretty ugly. I had reached a point where there was not much to do to hide the thinness of what was left except to put a hat on it.
I awoke NYE and realized that I was finally ready to make the transition to a more hairless existence. It had taken me awhile to come to this because I was not yet ready to start looking like a cancer patient. I've prided myself that in my time with this disease I have yet to bow down to it or have any outward appearance of being sick. I was "passing" as a perfectly healthy person. And there are many times when it is nice to go out, meet new people and not have to divulge my cancer in conversation. It's an old conversation and not always one that I want to have. I refuse to be defined by cancer, defined as a patient, defined as a sick person or defined by the pity of others. I want to be introduced and seen as Victoria. Once you've lost all your hair to chemo, and that very bald look is distinctive - especially on women, it becomes a first topic of conversation. I'm not certain that I'm yet ready for that to be the first thing that people think of when they see me, but that time is coming and there is little I can do except adapt again.
But in the interim, a couple of my girlfriends and I worked with the already bald spots and went for the mohawk. What's left is still thin and thinning. But it is like the ultimate comb-back-over and it looks intentional. So for a little while I'm trying out the badass punk chick look. I'm actually really enjoying it a lot and am hoping to keep it for a little longer. And when it thins too much, then I'll just get rid of the rest and rock that look the best I can as well. Luckily I've been buying myself hats since I was thirteen and have quite a collection, as well as lots of scarves. And I will end up with a wig or two just because they will be fun. Blue, the first wig will be blue.
Round five of six chemo sessions was yesterday. So I'm almost to the end of this round. Still tolerating very well and still lacking in too many physical issues. I'm recovering quickly once the pump comes off each time and by off-week I'm up to my old speed. I had company again for my infusion this session. It does make the day much nicer to have a friend keeping me company and helping the time pass quickly. I've also asked them to take the Ativan out of the pre-chemo drug mix. I omitted it last session two weeks ago and I felt so much more mentally focused throughout and afterwards. Omitted again this week to see if it made the same difference, and it certainly did. The Ativan is an anti-anxiety drug which also has great anti-nausea properties. As I haven't had any nausea issues this round I thought it would be safe to remove it from the cocktail. Removing it hasn't had any ill effects. And I certainly prefer having my mental facilities completely at my disposal. I just don't think anti-anxiety drugs and I are meant to be companions. When I've had them my brain is too zombie-like for my fancy. I am uncomfortable not being able to access all my facilities. Until there are nausea problems, I will continue to keep this change. Plus my insurance probably loves having less to pay for.
I've got more on my mind and have notes of thoughts to share. Another day. For now I'm going to start bingeing on the new season of Galavant. Happy, hilarious musical nonsense to brighten the cold winter night.