Gratefull! Hopefull! The Journey Continues, Part 2

By this point, I’m halfway through my six initial chemo treatments. Halfway, yay! I go every three weeks and am basically there for most of the day. The day usually starts with a first appointment around 8 am for port-a-cath care, which is a device implanted just under your skin that allows the chemo to be administered easily and without having to be stuck by a lot of needles elsewhere. They are also able to draw blood, which is tested each time to keep a check on several factors. Then it’s back to the waiting room until my appointment with the oncologist. Amazing Dr. Alexandra Thomas continues to encourage me and make me and my entourage feel like we have this! Yes, once again, so very blessed! Both my daughters, Briana and Morgan, new son-in-law, Jonathan, and husband, Tim, have accompanied me on this little venture every single time! Once again, it’s back to the waiting room until they are ready for me in the chemo pods. Four different drugs are administered, one at a time, along with a couple of other meds, and the day usually ends around 3–4pm. I’m grateful for only a day once every three weeks.

The Side Effects

So far, I usually feel okay that night and sometimes even the next. And then it hits. Welcome the side effects…nausea, diarrhea and hair loss to name a few. The first two are self-explanatory, and honestly, there are some good drugs to manage those. The hair loss was probably my most dreaded, because, for me, it’s all about the hair. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes and accessories, but I love beautiful hair. For me, it started falling out sooner than I expected (around two weeks after my first treatment), but the overall time it took to fall out took longer than expected. I still have some fuzz left at the end of three treatments. I’ve always known I was blessed with amazingly thick hair, but no idea just how much I could lose before it was really noticeable to others. This brings to mind passage Matthew 10:30-31. I’d love to know my number!

All about the Hair

Luckily for me and others in need of a wig, Billie-Jo and Denise at Our Wig Boutique were ready to help! My daughters and wonderfully sweet and supportive Forsyth Mags team went along on an excursion to pick out my hair for the coming months. I have to say we had a lot of fun trying on my alter egos; rocker chick, sassy bob and curly blonde babe. Keela and I both had a little fun with that one, as we often say we are the sisters we never had, so it was fun to be her twin for a brief moment. I feel like I tried on what felt like fifty wigs and both Billie-Jo and Denise were very patient through the whole process. In the end, my daughter was the voice of reason and said I was most likely going to be self-conscious about wearing it, so I probably should go for the one most like my own hair. We finally agreed, and I’ve been really happy with the final selection.

The Buzz

It was maybe two weeks after noticeable hair loss that I was finally ready to buzz it off. My insanely talented and compassionate hairdresser Melissa at Evolve Salon in Clemmons had said she would be on-call to do it. Honestly, I was a little scared it was going to hurt because your head gets very tender during the process of it falling out. Ladies will understand this, but you know that feeling you get when you’ve worn your hair in a tight ponytail all day, and you take it down? That’s what I equate your head feeling like. As it turns out, Melissa was very gentle, and it didn’t hurt at all. Morgan held my hand on the big day, and I was surprised that I didn’t even cry; but at this point, I was just ready to get rid of it. I was tired of the “Robin hair” tumbleweeds rolling through my house.

I continue to be amazed at the kindnesses of family and friends as I journey through this. I thank all those that I have yet to get official thank-you notes to and for the many who have anonymously sent me cards and well wishes. I thank the many who constantly pray for my family and me…. I feel them all like warm hugs every single day, and I remain hope-full and grate-full!

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Matthew 10:30-31

30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

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