Tuesday was a good day, at least in my new normal. Bryan and I got into NYC stress free this time, taking the Seastreak Ferry and then walking the mile and a half to Sloan Kettering on East 66th Street. I found out from two different people that Seastreak has an agreement with the American Red Cross — anyone who is commuting into NYC by ferry for cancer treatments is eligible for a very nice discount on a round trip ticket for themselves and one companion. I don’t think we will be stressing over driving in again!
First up was my blood draw. I was very curious to see the difference from before my first treatment. A half hour after the blood draw I met with my chemo oncologist. Dr. Traina was very pleased — all my important numbers were higher (good) than before my first treatment, and everything was still within the normal range. We talked about my minimal / lack of side effects and she was again very pleased and explained the ones I did have. She also said that the slight hair loss on Monday and Tuesday would accelerate greatly after my treatment on Tuesday. More on that subject later. But I’d like to say that my hair has looked especially nice over the last week. Here’s an awful selfie from Monday morning when I first noticed that my hair was starting to fall out. I usually like getting compliments on my hair but each time someone said something about how nice my hair looked all I could think was “not for long”.
Two dear friends, Kelly and Melissa, had invited me to go with them to Lake Placid — they are both training for upcoming races and since I had to cancel my training camp this spring they planned a mid-week trip on their own. I didn’t think I could make it since I had a chemo treatment scheduled for the Tuesday that we would be in Lake Placid. I did have it on my list of questions to ask but Bryan jumped ahead of me and asked if it would be possible to switch my treatment from Tuesday to Thursday and she said absolutely no problem! Those of you who know me personally also know how much I love spending time in Lake Placid. So, I have a trip to Lake Placid coming up, the week after Memorial Day! Not sure how much actual training I’ll be doing but easy swims, bikes, and walk/runs are in my future in the Adirondacks. Any time spent there, even if I just sit by Mirror Lake, will definitely rejuvenate me!
We got the rest of my chemo treatments (the last four of Taxol) on the calendar. If all goes as planned my last chemo will be August 15th. Scheduling my 20 radiation treatments won’t happen till closer to August 15th, I’m to call and schedule an appointment with my radiation oncologist around the time of my 7th chemo treatment on August 1st.
I was called back while having an early lunch that they were ready for me so Bryan and I got ourselves back to Sloan as quickly as possible to get things going. The sooner we start the sooner I’m done! The treatment “suites” in NYC aren’t quite as nice as those at Sloan in Monmouth but then again, that facility is brand new. Things perked up though when Christy from the Integrative Medicine Department came to see me. She wanted to know if I would like a massage and/or guided relaxation when my treatment started. I quickly said “yes!” What a relaxing way to start the poison drip. We talked a bit more after she was done. I found out that they also offer acupuncture, yoga classes and more. I’m definitely going to call about the acupuncture since I’m still having trouble sleeping through the night. About an hour later the drip was done and we were on our way back to the Seastreak Ferry and headed home.
So, let’s get to the emotional part of this week — my hair! As Bryan said, losing my hair has been the one thing that everyone has been definite about. “You will lose all your hair and it will happen shortly after your second treatment. The slight “shedding” from Monday and Tuesday turned into a full on shedding on Wednesday. How and when to take the plunge and buzz it? Well, I woke up this morning and very gently combed my hair, here’s what I came up with. Went to the gym to work out (1-1/2 hours on the treadmill walking, 1 hour on the bike all told today.) The shower after my workout yielded even more hair falling out after a very gentle shower, cream rinse and soft towel dry. An easy comb and I came away with even more hair falling out. And this had me crying in the locker room! Fortunately, my locker neighbor, Maryann, showed up, heard me out and helped me move on. I came home but could feel my head tingling and anytime I touched my head I came away with loose hairs. And truthfully, my hair wasn’t looking so great today. I tried to figure out for how many more days I could put up with this emotional turmoil and texted Christina at Depascal and told her what was going on. She said to come into the shop in 20 minutes. Bryan came with me and I brought myself a glass of wine. Christina put on some rock music and got out the buzzer. She cropped most of it pretty closely and left some “style” on the top. We both know this won’t last more than a day or two. And you know what — it is a huge relief to be one step closer to my hair taking a temporary vacation.
So, let’s see how this goes. I’ve got two basic ideas for the scarves, and we will see what works with the hats. So, the moment I have been dreading is here. Most of my hair is gone and what’s left will be done over the next day or so. If this is the worst problem I have to deal with throughout all of this I will be one very lucky person. But that doesn’t make it any easier to handle in the short term.
I still think Daphne has me beat in her picture with the sweatshirt she gifted to me, but I’m getting there!