Friday, July 17, 2009

No More Hair!

Hey Guys,

For those of you who haven't heard yet, I am now officially bald! (well, except for a few stragglers that insist on hanging on & giving me a nice Alfalfa look when the light hits my head right)

(Tyler & I on our way to Ainadamar/Prom)
The Big Event happened all at once - unfortunately while poor Tyler was visiting. Last week, it had started thinning so I put off washing it until Thursday night's Ainadamar After-Party (I wanted to make sure I had a little hair to go with my awesome dress)... The next morning when I got in the shower, it all came out AT ONE TIME!!! For about 10 minutes I had a great "Little Old Man" look - about 20 pieces of inch-long hair scattered across my scalp. Needless to say, my mom was pretty shocked when I called her up to see it. Fortunately, she has the clippers and got right to buzzing the rest of it down to the scalp.

I was afraid that I'd be really traumatized when it happened, and I have to admit, there were a few tears - but all in all, I'm not hating the look. The worst part about being bald is that my head is ALWAYS cold! I haven't been wearing my wig because it's so hot outside, but it's freezing in my office! I've been wearing scarves occasionally, but they're kind of a pain sometimes (especially when I'm running around the building constantly). So far, I've gotten really good reactions about the new 'do... People (especially guys) seem to be fascinated with the fact that I don't have hair AND I'm not covering it up - the guys at the Opera (gay and straight) love coming up and touching my head (which I find hilarious and extremely unexpected)... It's also cool to be able to play with makeup and jewelry in a way that I wasn't able to when I had tons of hair... So far, the only person who seems to take any issue with my baldness is one of the Supernumerary Kids in Carmen - she keeps giving me weird looks, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't like my haircut...

On a different note, I started my second round of chemo on Monday (only 5.5 more to go!) and it went pretty much as smoothly as the first one. Well, after it FINALLY got started... When I got in on Monday morning, there was a HUGE backup in the Day Hospital due to a bunch of unexpected emergency kids, and I didn't end up getting started for about 2 hours after my appointment was supposed to start.
(Me & Tom)

After the chemo finally got started, though, everything was great. I was really happy to have a visit from Tom Jaworek and his mom (who is a good friend of my mom) - he's a couple years older than I am and is being treated at Children's right now also, so it was good to have him come up and say hi - we've never been in at the same time before... Also Molly and Dan stopped by with some games (that ended up not getting played), and it was fantastic to have Molly visit! She actually spent the entire visit in my hospital bed with me, which was awesome. Melissa came later on in the day, which was great - especially for my mom, who needed a break from the hospital room and was able to take some time to run down to the cafeteria and grab some food.
(Me & Molly!)

On the topic of food, Children's Hospital is great because they have "room service" that the patients (generally kids) can call and order from - it's a HUGE menu, with all kinds of kid-friendly foods that take me back to my childhood... Unfortunately, since it is a CHILDREN'S hospital, when you order off the "room service," everything comes in kid's portions... which gets EXTREMELY frustrating when you're 22 and have an appetite much bigger than the average patient. First of all, when I call, they always ask me for my child's information... and then expect me to order food for a kid... I generally forget that there will be a child's portion, and end up getting something like 3 fishsticks or 4 raviolis... not enough for a meal! The good thing, though, is that the cafeteria downstairs is FANTASTIC (although a little expensive), but we can also bring our own snacks.

...And even some more about food...

Originally, when I had my first treatment, I was given a short list of foods to avoid during the week that I was on oral chemo. The list consisted of bananas, citrus fruit, cheese, dark beer, and wine... all of which I was totally okay to stay away from - I hate bananas, I had mouth sores so citrus hurt, and I generally don't drink tons of alcohol, so that was cool to avoid. Unfortunately, because of the mouth sores, I lost my appetite and lost almost 10lbs in one week (don't worry, I've since gained it back)... Because of the weight loss, when I came back in for my treatment on Monday, they had a dietician come in to give me some options for healthy, high calorie foods (I was happy about this because I'd been eating a lot of high-calorie junk food, which was also making me sick since I was used to a healthy diet...) When she came, she also brought with her a list of foods that caused interactions with the oral drug I'm on. The list she had was MUCH longer than the list I had originally received, and includes things that are much harder to avoid. No foods that have been fermented or aged in any way (no alcohol, cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, ripe fruit, milk close to its expiration date, sausage, pepperoni, salami) and nothing that's been processed (lunch meat, meat treated with tenderizers, gravy, meat stock/broth, etc.) as well as a variety of things such as raspberries, avocados, chocolate, and caffeine (all of which I'm very disappointed about). Plus, I had to avoid all of those foods two weeks after I finished the drug - basically 3 out of 4 weeks of each cycle. We were immediately worried because I've been eating LOTS of those things and we were afraid that they had messed with my chemo.

Fortunately (sort of), we found out that while they won't mess with the chemo, they will cause a variety of other side effects that I'd been experiencing, but had no idea why - high blood pressure and plus, tingling in my extremities - all things that are kind of worrisome. So now I'm on a pretty careful diet of basically fresh veggies and chicken, with some extra stuff thrown in every once in awhile. I'm happy that I can still eat ice cream, because I'm worried that I'm going to lose more weight while I'm basically on this low-calorie diet for the next six months or so. The dietician gave me a bunch of high-calorie snacks and shakes I can make, which all sound pretty delicious (lots involving peanut butter, milk, and ice cream - I can't complain about that!)

Finally, I want to thank the Ross family for the BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers I came home to on Monday evening - they still look amazing, and my room smells fantastic... the smell and the flowers are wonderful to wake up to every morning! Thank you so much!

Also, I want to send good vibes out to Tom and the rest of the Jaworek family - Tom had his big surgery Wednesday, and Jacqueline called to say he was doing well, but I'm thinking of all of you and looking forward to seeing you guys soon!

Lots of Love,

ps - for all of you up in the Cleveland/Berea area, I'll be up at T in the P for a week or so starting August 2 or 3... give me a call/send me a message so we can get together!

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