HAIR TODAY… GONE TOMORROW

THESE ARE PICTURES OF THE EVOLUTION OF HAIR LOSS.  NOW, I DO NOT WANT TO DISMISS THE COLD CAPS. THEY WORKED FOR THE FIRST ROUNDS OF CARBOPLATIN AND TAXOTERE AND I THOUGHT I WOULD BE ABLE TO SAVE SOME OF IT. HOWEVER WHEN MY LIVER ENZYMES STARTED TO ESCALATE OUT OF NORMAL RANGE DR HAHM GREW CONCERNED AND SWITCHED MY CHEMO TO TAXOL FOR 18 WEEKS  STRAIGHT INSTEAD OF THE ONCE EVERY 3 WEEKS OF THE COCKTAIL OF THC (TAXOTERE/HERCEPTIN/CARBOPLATIN),( YEAH NOT THE THC YOU WERE THINKING). AT THAT POINT COLD CAPS WERE NOT A FEASIBLE OPTION ANY LONGER AND I HAD TO COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT DESPITE MY BEST EFFORTS I WAS GOING TO LOSE ALL OF MY HAIR. I HAD ALREADY LOST MY EYEBROWS, EYELASHES  AND ALL THE HAIR EVERYWHERE ELSE ON MY BODY.. I WAS LIKE A HAIRLESS CAT. BUT LOSING THE HAIR ON MY HEAD WOULD BE DIFFICULT BECAUSE UP UNTIL THEN I HAD KEPT A DECENT AMOUNT OF HAIR AND I HAD HID MY DIAGNOSIS FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE.  WITH NO HAIR, THEN PEOPLE.. WELL ….EVERYONE WOULD KNOW I WAS SICK.

THIS WAS A PICTURE THE MORNING OF MY FIRST CHEMO!!

all this will be gone soon...

all this will be gone soon.. first moments after my brother shaved my head

AFTER: first moments after my brother shaved my head
ONE OF THE MANY UNPLEASANT SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMO

ONE OF THE MANY UNPLEASANT SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMO

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FIRST STEP TOWARD HAIR LOSS. FIGHTING IT ALL THE WAY FIRST STEP TOWARD HAIR LOSS. FIGHTING IT ALL THE WAY

WHAT YOU MAY NOT BE AWARE OF IS HOW PAINFUL IT WAS TO LOOSE MY HAIR AND I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL SIDE. I AM TALKING ABOUT THE PURE PHYSIOLOGICAL SIDE OF CHEMO INDUCED HAIR LOSS. MY SCALP HURT TO THE PHYSICAL TOUCH AND WHEN I WOULD RUN MY FINGERS THROUGH MY HAIR AND THE STRANDS WOULD FALL OUT IT FELT  LIKE A RELIEF OF SORTS, THE FOLLICLES WERE ALSO LETTING GO OF WHAT THEY COULD NO LONGER CONTROL.  I SWEAR THOSE DARN FOLLICLES WERE HOLDING ON WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT AND FIGHTING THE RAVENOUS  EMINENT DEATH THAT CHEMO WOULD BESTOW ON EACH AN EVERYONE OF THEM. BUT SOON THEY ALL SURRENDERED.

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STILL HOLDING ON TO THE FOLLICLES

STILL HOLDING ON TO THE FOLLICLES

BELOW YOU WILL SEE THE WIG IN MY LAP. I CALLED HER MATILDA. I PURCHASED HER WITH MY MOM AND GODDAUGHTER ISABELLA,MONTHS BEFORE THIS PIC AT ONE OF THOSE GINORMOUS KOREAN BEAUTY SUPPLY STORES.   VICKI , MY HAIRDRESSER STYLED AND CUT IT FOR ME TO MAKE  HER APPEAR MORE NATURAL. I THOUGHT I WOULD SHOW HER TO THE WORLD SOME DAY AFTER I HAD LOST  MY HAIR. BUT INSTEAD I ROCK’D THE BALD HEAD WITH ONLY A HAT TO HIDE IT MOST DAYS. FOR ME WEARING THE WIG WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN A DISGUISZE , A WAY TO MAKE EVERYONE ELSE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH MY CANCER AND I DID NOT WANT TO FEEL ASHAMED OF WHAT CHEMO WAS DOING TO ME. I WAS FRUSTRATED AND PROUD AT THE SAME TIME OF MY CHEMO INDUCED BALD HEAD AND I WASNT OK..  AND FAR BE IT FOR ME TO DEPRIVE PEOPLE OF THE REALITY OF CANCER AND MAKE THEM MORE COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT WAS  HAPPENING TO ME! YUP NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

VICKI CUT OFF ALL THE LOCKS AND TRIED TO CREATE A STYLE WITH THE LITTLE AMOUNT OF HAIR I HAD LEFT

VICKI CUT OFF ALL THE LOCKS AND TRIED TO CREATE A STYLE WITH THE LITTLE AMOUNT OF HAIR I HAD LEFT

I HAD REMAINED WORKING THROUGH MOST OF MY CHEMO AND ON THIS PARTICULAR FALL DAY I WAS DRIVING WITH THE WINDOWS OPEN HEADING TO AN OFFICE AND I REACHED UP TO RUN MY FINGERS THRU MY HAIR AND WHEN I PULLED MY HAND AWAY IN MY HAND WAS A BIG CHUNK OF THE LITTLE HAIR THAT I HAD PAINSTAKINGLY TRIED TO PRESERVE. I REMEMBER FREAKING OUR AND THROWING IT OUT THE WINDOW. LITTLE LIFELESS STRANDS HELD ON TO MY FINGERS AS IF NOT WANTING TO LET GO…AND AT THAT MOMENT I CALLED MY BROTHER AND TOLD HIM TO COME OVER THAT NIGHT SO THAT HE COULD SHAVE MY HEAD. SO AFTER A COUPLE OF GLASSES OF APOTHIC RED … MY MOM, MY FRIEND KIM MILLER AND MY PSEUDO BARBER TOGETHER WE TACKLED YET ANOTHER RITE OF PASSAGE IN THE CANCER JOURNEY.  OFF WITH HER HAIR!!!

IMG_1471I WAS SO SILLY, I TOLD THOMAS TO USE THE GUARDS AND CUT IT  OFF IN STAGES, ALL WHILE THINKING THAT I COULD TRY FOR A SHORTER CLOSE CUT  BUT NOT SHAVED HEAD.  HE AGREED BUT IT WAS OF NO USE BECAUSE AS HE DID IT MY BALD SPOTS WOULD BECOME MORE VISIBLE AND I LOOKED LIKE A RABID HYENA.  SO RELUCTANTLY AND WITH TEARS IN MY EYES  AND PAIN IN MY HEART, I HAD TO SUCCUMB TO THE IDEA THAT ALL OF IT HAD TO GO… AND SO HE DID IT! THIS DISEASE WOULD ROB ME OF SO MANY THINGS THAT DEFINED MY FEMINITY, MY EYELASHES, MY FINGERNAILS (BC OF CHEMO) MY BREAST, AND NOW MY HAIR.

I KNOW IT HAD TO BE EQUALLY HARD FOR MY BROTHER AND I COULDNT HAVE DONE IT WITH OUT HIM!! THANKS THOMAS!

THOMAS SHAVING MY HEAD

THOMAS SHAVING MY HEAD

THIS WAS SO HARD AND SAD

THIS WAS SO HARD AND SAD

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THOMAS GOING BALD IN SOLIDARITY

THOMAS GOING BALD IN SOLIDARITY

IMG_1504ME AND MY BRO! I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED THAT I DIDNT HAVE A BIG OL COTTO BLOCK HEAD UNDER ALL THAT HAIR.

A FEW TEARS LATER… WE LOOK DARN GOOD!! LOL

KIMMIE COMING OVER TO SUPPORT ME WHILE I GET MY HEAD SHAVED

KIMMIE COMING OVER TO SUPPORT ME WHILE I GET MY HEAD SHAVED

IMG_1514COULDNT CONVINCE MOM TO SHED HER LOCKS.  THOMAS AND I GAVE HER A HARD TIME BUT I UNDERSTOOD.

DAD WANTED A BALD HEAD TOO!!

DAD WANTED A BALD HEAD TOO!!

IMG_1033BALD IS BEAUTIFUL!! DANG DONT WE LOOK ALIKE????

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First Day Of Poison eh hm.. I mean Chemo 6/21/11

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Four days after Vascular Surgry let the party begin…Nah Not really!

I would be scheduled to get 4 rounds of Carboplatin and Taxotere combined with one year of HERCEPTIN. Yes I said ONE YEAR of infusions with Herceptin.  Herceptin is a life saving mon-clonial antibody that targeted my aggressive form of HER2+ breast cancer.  My cancer cells were replicating fast and furiously and they needed to be STOPPED! Only I would need a year of this infusion to kill every last one of them!!! I would get infusions of the Carboplatin and Taxotere once every 3 weeks but I would have Herceptin every week  for a year. Have I said I HATE CANCER!!! Grrrrr!

I was blessed to get the most amazing Oncology Nurse ever created Shamichael!!  From my first day of Chemotherapy orientation, no seriously you have to complete it before you begin .Good times right? Unfortunately, I hate to admit it but  I had a horrible attitude that afternoon during my orientation  but Shay was not phased in the slightest. She was positive, encouraging, hopeful and oh so happy. It was hard to resist her positivity. She is truly an angel sent here on earth to help guide me and my family through the hardest and most frightening time of my life.So  with a better attitude than when I arrived we parted ways only to see her again in a few days to begin this portion of the journey.

I was so incredibly nerveous this day.. what would it  feel like? how would it make me feel? how sick was this going to make me?would the cold caps save my hair and MOST importantly would it WORK????? WOULD THIS KILL MY CANCER and not me in the process??

First DAY of Chemo

the first day of chemo my crew is ready

the first day of chemo my crew is ready

Penguin Cold Caps

The adventures of the cold caps: Please let them work and pretty please help me not lose my hair from CHEMO!!! PLEASE GOD PLEASE!!

I invested several of  thousand of  dollars  not covered by my insurance to save my follicles. I had so little that I was able to control in this disease I thought I might manage a sliver of control by using this technique which had proven to save your hair during chemo.  Losing my hair was going to be hard and i was going to try with every ounce of my being to prevent that from happening. I knew there was a chance that it would not work but  I was definitely going to try…

Heres how it works:Penguin Cold Caps

This innovative  approach reduces chemotherapy induced  hair loss by cooling the hair capillaries and reducing the metabolic rate of the hair follicles to a hibernated state, preventing the absorption of chemotherapeutic drugs into the hair bulbs of the scalp.

Penguin Cold Caps: The "A" team

Penguin Cold Caps: The “A” team. MOM DAD AND THOMAS

Life saving Poison and a literal brain freeze!BURRR

Life saving Poison and a literal brain freeze!BURRR

Cold Cap Round !

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Thomas keeping meticulous tabs of the temperature of the cold caps.saving the follicles