NOW I look like a cancer patient

Here I am, in all my bald glory

Here I am, in all my bald glory

 

Clearly it’s been a while.  I don’t really have a whole lot of excuses, other than cancer card and Crohn’s card.  So Mom was helpful in getting you the run down, since December it’s been non-stop fun on our front.

Here’s the highlights since Dennis and my back-to-back hospitalizations in December:

  • Went in for my follow up scans post-gamma knife:  outlook not great
    • Moved forward with whole brain radiation
      • I’m now bald (and FINALLY look like a cancer patient, so getting mad sympathy, which I don’t really like, unless it comes with a discount)
      • A little/actually a lot tired
  • Still working, and trying to live a normal life
  • Dennis ended up back in the hospital for almost a week after I started my radiation
    • He got out
    • He’s still not great
    • We’re working on it
    • Yes, we’re making changes to our diet
    • Yes, we’re trying yoga
    • Yes, we’re seeing every doctor under the sun
  • I went to Portland
    • It was awesome

That’s the short and long of things.  My brain got zapped for 10 sessions over the course of 10 days.  The radiation treatment isn’t too bad.  The sessions are super quick, but smell like bleach and sound kinda like a bug zapper.

I did get to wear a Hannibal Lector mask for the treatment, which is better than screwing anything into my head.  But when they fit it to you, they stretch wet fish-net panty hose over your face, then let it dry.  As with most things, it didn’t bother me, but I asked the guy if people freak out during this process.  His answer, “oh yeah.”  I tried to tell him it feels similar to when you put panty hose over your head and make funny faces; or rob someone.  He DID NOT “know what I mean.”  (Side note: spell check is not recognizing “panty” as a word.)

So overall, not too bad, or inconvenient as I had most my appointments scheduled before 8, so I could get to work.  But each time they started the process I would wait in quiet anticipation for alarms to start sounding, and smoke to come out of the machines and my brain to get overloaded with radiation, and I turn into a super human (not decided on good or evil yet).  Sadly, that did not happen, yet…

The thing about radiation, is the fun (side effects) don’t generally start until after you’ve completed treatment.  The main issues I’ve had thus far: some issues with memory, fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, some headache, little funky appetite, and random nausea.  Oh, and memory.  Did I mention that?

Hair loss is something you expect to happen when you’re diagnosed with cancer, so I just got to keep mine a little longer.  But embracing the bald, and had a lot of fun while it was coming out by the handful:

Animals doing their best Trump impressions. Bubs, not believable. Nike, I think she's got it.

Animals doing their best Trump impressions. Bubs, not believable. Nike, I think she’s got it.

Fatigue can be different for everyone, for me it makes my body sleepy and lethargic, but my mind is sharp, and basically processing at the rate of a person on meth.  I’ve come up with some brilliant plans (mostly involving variations of recipes, or decorating a house I don’t live in) while laying paralyzed at around 2:30 AM.  I don’t have the energy to get up and do things, but my mind won’t stop thinking about the most random things.

When I do finally get up, I start perseverating on things like cleaning out ALL the dust from ALL the corners of the house.  Or cleaning out the space between the floor and the baseboard under cabinets.  I know, my mind is pretty specific evidently.

I’ve continued to do my infusions, and will have my 6/7th infusion on the 18th.  No scans on the books yet, but I’m certain they’ll let me know when to follow up.

Dennis continues to struggle with managing symptoms of Crohn’s.  We never know what’s going to send him into a vomiting/bloating nightmare.  So, we limp along together, hoping not to get sick at the same time.

So there’s the medical run down.  I’m certain there are things I’m forgetting (did I mention issues with memory?)  But really if you will indulge me a little, I’ve been trapped in my own head for a while now, and I’d like to take you down a rabbit hole, so maybe my brain can get some closure on these crazy thoughts, and end this crack-like perseveration on, well, everything.  And to be honest it’s so much, I couldn’t possibly start here.

With that being said, I’d like to make this my Lenten commitment.  I would like to share my thoughts here, so, should you choose, you can get to know me and my thought process better.  I hope not to drop you in the dessert for 40 years/40 days.  But Lent has been something I have grown up with, and come and gone with throughout my life; but this year I would like to engage in an intentional Lenten season.

Not to push my beliefs on you, and not that I am a super religious person, but I really love Lent because it’s like New Years, but you don’t have the pressure of a 365 days of commitment.  It’s 40 days to commit yourself to something.  Take 40 days to set an intention and follow through, and the intention should be about expanding yourself and your mind. A spiritual “treat yo’ self.”

So keep an eye out for more consistent posts.  Cancer and not cancer related.

And as always, thanks for checking in!

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8 Comments

  1. I think you look so amazing bald. With your glasses and bald head you make such a statement. You look amazing.

    • Thank you friend! I was so relieved to have a round head!

  2. I couldn’t be happier to read your commitment, Kate. Because you are such a fantastic writer and are coping with more than your share of utter crap so amazingly. You’re my hero, and I’m sure the people who also say that number in the thousands at least. Thinking good thoughts in your direction. I love your bald look, too. Very chic!

    (Re the middle-of-the-night schemes: are you on steroids by any chance? Those types of thoughts sound like what I was up to on Decadron. Crazy schemes that multiplied hourly. Luckily I was too exhausted to actually undertake any of them!!)

    • You are too sweet! Thank you so much! And they just put me on a very low does of Decadron, and I was only on it for a week. Since melanoma likes to bleed, they generally steer clear. I’m also an an Alzheimer’s which really messes with your mind. Or at least mine. I’m adding Phenergan every other night to help me get back into a routine sleep cycle. So far, it seems to be helping. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your support!

  3. Hi Sweet Kate
    I too have to say that you rock the alopecia attitude to the max. I think it makes your beautiful piercing eyes pop and your rosebud smile shine brighter than ever! I’m sorry about the racing thoughts & nausea & will continue to pray for peaceful sleep & content tummies for both you & Dennis during this Lenten Season. And I don’t mind a bit being dropped “in the dessert” – make mine Molten Lava Brownie a la Mode!! [A little misspelling humor! 🙂 ] The desert experience of Lenten season is always a very difficult & melancholy spiritual journey for me so I am looking forward to reading your words of wisdom & enlightenment.
    That center photo of your Trump cat is extremely realistic….I especially like the condescending closed eye expression.
    Love & prayers always
    Kathleen

    • As always Kathleen, thank you so much for your compassion and fellowship. You are a beacon of light I can always count on! And anytime you need a pug model you let me know. 🙂

  4. Fun read. The ou and Dennis are a crazy beautiful mess! You speak in truths and seem to somehow embrace every part of life. God Bless you on your Lenten journey. And, plan on a trip up here this summer!

    • Oh we are coming up there! It’s on my list of destinations for us to get to before the end of the year.

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