I’m going to start writing down stuff. Have said it to myself a million times. Have been urged by friends a million times. Committing ideas to paper, or worse, to websites seems so difficult. Thus, I decided if I just take baby steps something might get done. Something might come out.
Here we go.
RULE 1. I only need to write one sentence a week.
RULE 2. No other rules or expectations.
I’ve been avoiding writing because I should be writing about mortality, morbidity, joy, love, family, friendships … But that’s scary stuff. Thus, HAIR is the first baby step.
My hair started falling out YESTERDAY. Just yesterday! Shit shit shit. Was hoping to avoid this. Maybe I still will, partly, but every time I turn my head I feel itchy strands falling down my arms. It’s gross. Washed my hair last night and big clumps came out in the shower. Fists full of wet hair lodged between my fingers. Had to scape the hair off the drain four times to avoid flooding the bathroom. As I said, this is gross.
I’ve only had two iv chemo treatments so far. I decided to spend an extra 2 hours at each chemo session TRYING to save my hair by wearing a freezing cold cap plastered to my head. It’s called a ‘cool cap’ and is designed to reduce hair loss. “Results vary.” It’s sort of barbaric. First you get your hair good and wet. Then you smooth some conditioner on top — that’s so that it’ll be easier to get the damn cap off after you’re done. Next you put on a cap that looks like gummy worms had blue babies all over your head. Not done yet! Next is the outer, insulating cap — it keeps the cold temperature nice and tight next to your scalp. This has to be strapped on NICE AND TIGHT. Maybe others have better luck with this, but I end up with my jowls forming a muffin top over the chin strap. Finally, the whole arrangement gets tightened a little bit more with the bungie cords. Now we’re cookin, now we’re ready for TREATMENT! You get hooked up to the cooling machine half an hour before your chemo doses are scheduled. There were lots of warnings about how, you might feel pain, you might get chills, you might get dizzy, etc. So I was super prepared the first time – thermal mittens, fleece jacket, two scarves, and heavy socks. No chills at all! Sweating from all my preparedness instead. Never felt even slightly cold. But the pain, whoa!!! Did’t think I was gonna make it thru the first ten minutes, but I did, and after 25 minutes the pain was actually manageable. The chemo dosing only took ten minutes. Then the nurse presses a button on the cooling machine to count your final 90 minutes, NINETY MINUTES, of time spent trying to reduce your hair loss. Finally, you’re done, sort of. You have to wait 5 minutes to let the contraption warm up a bit. If you feel any pulling, wait another five. After all, you just spent a not inconsiderable portion of the rest of your life trying to save your hair — and we don’t want to F it up by taking the cap off too hastily! Okay, really all done now! The cap is off. Your greasy hair is plastered to your head, except for the frizzy ends that escaped treatment. It’s quite the look. When you get home yes, you can wash it! But only with baby shampoo. And NO STYLING. NO STYLING! No hair dryer, no hair irons, or curling wands, nothing. Not even product! ‘Au natural’ is your new look, baby! Congratulations, you’re now done.