Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Day 18

My hair started falling out yesterday, day 18. I noticed it first at work, when I'd taken off my wig for a bit between clients to cool off and relieve some of the itching. Just before I put it back on, I noticed my sweater was covered in hair--it looked like I'd been cuddling one of the cats, only it was my hair and not theirs. I brushed it off, commented to my coworker about it, said I thought maybe it was starting, and then put my wig back on and went to get my next client.

I took the wig off the moment I walked in my door at home, and when I ran my hands over my head, a lot more hair was stuck to them. My hair looked matted also, like really bad bedhead. I couldn't do anything about it then, as we had an appointment for our taxes, so I just stuck on one of the super soft caps that my mom's cousin sent to me and headed back out the door. It was the first time I've worn one of the caps out and about. It was comfortable, but I was really hot in that stuffy office.

We got home, and I asked Kevin to be in charge of dinner; I was feeling better in general, but I was exhausted and feeling kind of crappy again. I thought I might do some of my notes or treatment plans for work, but I didn't have the mental energy for it, so I chatted with my sister on the phone instead.
After dinner, I took a bath, and while in the tub, I stuck my head underwater several times and rubbed at my hair. Each time, I came away with more hair than I could have imagined. I turned on the shower afterwards to rinse it away, and while washing what was left of my hair came away with more and more and more. I finally opened the curtain to look in the mirror and saw the bald patches on my temples.

It hit me in a very different way that I have cancer. Until that moment, I had just done some medical things, received some medication that made me feel crappy, whatever. Seeing the patchy bald spots on my head made me realize I now look like I have cancer. That was more disturbing than actually losing my hair (maybe that's because I'd already had it cut so short).

Kevin and I decided it would be better to shave it down as much as possible. It would, we hoped, look a little less disturbing and also be less itchy in the morning when it came time to put the wig back on. After taking a couple of pictures, he dug out his clippers, and later his beard trimmer, when the clippers wouldn't hold a charge very well, and he went to work in the middle of the kitchen (it was way too cold to do it outside). It took maybe 40 minutes to get it all shorn.

We took a few more pictures afterwards, and by then I was beyond ready for bed. I did want to call my parents to tell them, so I talked to my mom for a bit first. I lotioned the fool out of my scalp, put on that soft cap again, and then Kevin read some Harry Potter to me until I was ready to sleep.
When I woke up during the night, I noticed that if I was laying in such a way that the stubble on my head caught in the cap and pulled the skin, it did not feel pleasant. It was easy enough to adjust positions though, and I slept fairly well.

Despite the cap, and then the wig, I couldn't get warm this morning until halfway to school, with the heat blasting and seatwarmers and gloves on. Now that I'm in my office, of course, I'm plenty warm and considering turning on my desk fan. I can't decide if these temperature swings are from pregnancy or chemo or both. Probably both. Either way, apologies to my officemates, because I have best access to the temperature controls.

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