cancer, cancer sucks, feelings, friends, losing hair sucks, love, meds, melanoma, radiation, steroids, support, wigs
So this coming week will see my last 3 days of whole brain radiation (M-W). It has been the “easiest” of my treatments so far in the sense that it requires no pokes, injections or really any bodily pain at all, other than one first God-awful day of horrible migraine and vomiting. Apparently, that’s a reaction “some” people get, but no one bothered to tell me that might be the case, or that there were medications that could help if it did happen. Sometimes my never-forget-the-side-effects oncologist can get me down with always reminding me of what could happen, but then having a doc not warn me about a relatively common thing makes me grateful for him telling me about even the rare complications. Anyway, they gave me some steroids to help with the swelling of the tumors from the radiation and I haven’t had any issues since.
The radiation itself takes so little time the valet has learned not to park our car, but just to leave it with the flashers on. They lay me down on the super flat board with a few little cushions to make it more comfortable under my butt and knees, put the form-fitting hard mesh mask thing over my head (the face part is open, so it’s not claustrophobic at all), and then screw it down to the board so I can’t move my head at all (important when you only want to zap very specific parts of your head). The worst part is the quick smell of ozone when the beam first turns on, but it’s over very quickly. I don’t know why I hate the smell, but I do. Then an arm thingy swivels around my head a couple times and I’m done. I close my eyes for all of it, but just because I always do for those kinds of procedures (MRI, CT, PET).
So anyway, other than the driving taking more than 4x as long as the treatment, radiation hasn’t been terrible itself. The crappier parts will come in the next couple weeks, as I lose my hair. I was incredibly lucky to have my wonderful friend Arwen set up this super fun fancy photo shoot for us before I lose my hair, complete with all kinds of styling. She had her fun, fancy friends donate all kinds of things, from flower arrangements to delicious cookies and designer s’mores to custom-picked clothes to hand-crafted signs with meaningful quotes. It was just insane! Plus she was able to get an incredible photographer to donate her time and talent to shoot it all, AND my amazing hair stylist extraordinaire, Eileen Kantor, did my hair and makeup BEAUTIFULLY and it was all just so lovely. It was really nice to have something to be really excited about.
I’ve been in such a weird place emotionally. I mean, yes, it makes sense given that we are going through some serious shit, but it;s also been weird. I’m usually a very joyous person and I can feel happy about things, even when stuff sucks, or at least see some silver linings, but lately I’ve just felt kind of dead inside, and I’ve often been really grumpy and bitter, which is unusual for me. It very well could be related to the medications I’m taking, or to the fact that I don’t really know how to process the whole “almost died” thing, or not feeling productive because I’m not working right now, or just general shitty-ness of life.
I went to the free wig boutique the cancer care center has here to check out the options and they just totally sucked. Very old lady and cheap looking, so I was not excited. I think I want some fun wigs, like pink or purple, or red at the very least because I think it will be pretty clear it’s a WIG and I might as well have some fun, right? Some wonderful friends have been raising money for a decent wig for me too, which is incredible and I feel so lucky. I am going to chop my hair next week and hang onto the ponytails. Some places apparently can make a wig for you out of your own hair, but it is more expensive. I wasn’t convinced at first, but after seeing how awful the crappy nylon wigs looked, I felt more strongly about a “real hair” wig. ALSO! The free wigs were made by MONSANTO!!! Can you even believe it??? As Peter said, “That’s ironic.” Heaven only knows what kinds of cancer-causing things Monsanto makes, but they’ll give you a free wig if you do come down with The Cancer! (Are they made of corn? I just don’t understand. Makes me think of 30 Rock’s Sheinhardt Wig Company owning NBC).
The steroids they are giving me for the inflammation are giving me amazing energy (usually), a wicked appetite (good… for now) and some serious insomnia. I’m often tired during the day, but then I get a strong second wind at 10ish and then don’t feel tired at all. Some nights I’ve only sort of slept for 3 hours and I still wake up early and fairly refreshed (until later in the day). Of course, I haven’t been doing anything really productive with all that awake time, usually, not even blogging (except for tonight!), Bu
Oh the free wigs are AWFUL! I cried after checking them out because they were all super short old lady haircuts and more than half of them were GRAY! So I feel you there! There is a lady down south who runs a hair salon and has some nicer wigs. She also will put the wig on and cut it to your face. But it is NOT cheap! But then again, what in cancer land is cheap right? I’m sorry you have been feeling down friend. Anything I can do? I’m missing you! SO, SO, SO happy you had such a wonderful photo shoot. Your friend sounds awesome. I can’t wait to see the photos!
Irene Bender said:
My heart goes out to you as I read your posts. “And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.”. 2 Corinthians 9:14
I’m glad these rounds of radiation have been less trying…and getting in and out of there is better than a long drawn out drama.. I have seen the cancer wigs and they are made for the more “mature” woman.. I like the idea of you getting something “out of the box” or shocking.. I’m thinking pink or maybe a nice violet! 🙂 The whole idea of Monsanto having anything to do with them is crazy. WTF is that some kind of community service deal!!!??!! I wouldn’t want to guess what they are made of.. something worse than corn, I imagine! Its OK being in a weird place emotionally.. on a side note .. there is so much crap going on in the world right now.. there is a lot of crappy energy out there that is making everyone feel like shit a little bit. Your emotions are naturally all over the place.. Even when those feelings are negative.. honor those feelings.. we are human after all.. then it will be easier to set them free.. It’s no wonder with all the medicines.. energy changes.. sleep patterns fluctuations.. procedures.. being a mom.. wife and just being Tuesday.. you are feeling in a weird place.. just know it will pass
I feel the joy and love within you with every keystroke.. I took some time and real the whole blog..Honest and true.. filled with emotion.. OMG the LOVE you pour out is awesome!! and the love you are surrounded by is totally awesome!! Just know that all that love.. joy.. inspiration and support that flows thru you like a mighty river is there for YOU too.. They will be times of shitty-ness But you have shoulders that are always there when its gets low.. The sun is coming up~
I’m going to try to do my usual hugs.. somehow I’ve minimized my screen so small I can hardly see.. and I cant @#$$#@# figure out how to fix it..
Here come the hugs.. and please forgive any typos.. I cant see!
((((((((((((((SHANNON)))))))))))) ((((((LOVE AND LIGHT))))))) ((((((((((HEALING))))))) ((((((((((SHANNON PETER EMMIE)))))) (((((((GRANDPA’S AND GRANDMA’S)))))))) ((((((((FAMILY AND FRIENDS)))))) (((((AWESOME COOL SASSY WIGS )))))))))) (((((((((((((((GOOD ENERGY)))))))))))))) ((((((((EMBRACE)))))))) (((((((((LOVE)))))))))) ((((((JOY)))))) ((((((((SILVER LININGS)))))))))) (((((PLAY))))) (((((CHERISH))))) (((((TYPOS)))))) (((((BLESSINGS))))) ((((((KEEP ON KEEPING ON.. AND KICKING ASS)))))))))
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((YOU ARE LOVE.. AND LOVED)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Bill Casey said:
Shannon, I so appreciate your words and thoughts shared. I am reliving my time with my Janet through your writing and empathize how strong you are as she was! Know how much I am sending my love to you and hope that this time is the hardest now and proud of you!!!! If Uncle Bill had hair he would send some to put on your wig. OH, and how about a spot of green hair in that wig!? XXXXOOOO….Me
Matt Russell said:
Like Jack always says, “Everyone looks good in a Sheinhardt.”
(the photos look fantastic, by the way)