Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pink Ribbons~ My Coming Out Day

Pink Ribbons is a feature series I have started that is posted every Thursday.  I am a Pink Ribbon Warrior, having gone through the chemo, surgery, radiation, the year of waiting and recently stage 2 reconstruction...which I find is really the first of many little surgeries.  I am at a place in my life where I am willing to open my journal from that time and share with you my anger, fears, challenges and pain of finding out you have cancer.   These are not current events.  This is me sharing with you from the other side of breast cancer.

I already shared to everyone's horror that I'm definitely losing/lost some hair. I vacuumed the family room yesterday and got this huge wad of hair. I fussed at Leia my blond pom for shedding so badly. But when I was throwing it out I... uh....discovered it wasn't hers.

It was mine.

I'd noticed my hair was thinning and I'd seen hair floating. But the proof was in the vacuum cup. So I got the clippers and cut my hair down to a scant inch long. It's hard to get used to.  But right now, it also makes me smile.  It looks just like my son's hair did as it was growing in.  That makes me smile, even though the mirror reflects something hideous and painful to me.

Mom gave me some scarf covers and I got a free chemo cap from the chemo room. People donate hats and caps, I even saw a wig in there.  I have a couple caps I got from Tracy. So I have covers to start with though I do look forward to the creations that different friends are making!

I slept in a sleeping cap last night and wished I'd done that years ago.  It was wonderful because it held my Cpap gear on my head all night. Normally my hair is too fine for it to grab and hold the headgear. So I waken anywhere from 6 - 10 times to slide it back on. Often it's only hanging on by my the nose.  But the cap kept it in place!

A soft sleeping cap.  I did not wear turbans in public!

Today was my hair's "Coming Out" day. It is chemo day 18.5 and it's coming out like rats deserting the sinking ship.  It's been a difficult day. I mean I knew it was coming. The scalp has been very tender for several days.  It felt like I had pulled my hair into a tight ponytail and worn it for 18 hours like that.  This morning I reached up to rub a sore area. A tuft of hair rubbed loose.  Since then I have lost hair clumps all around the house. :(

But I found that the actual process of losing hair to be stressful and traumatic. It's an "in your face" reality check. Now I LOOK like something is wrong. Every mirror screams this new reality to me


It's hard to carry around that reality and stay positive, cheerful and encouraged. sigh

I've seen photos before and they really don't show the reality of how you lose your hair with chemo.  You rub a sore spot and a clump comes loose.  Over 12 hours it's been dropping off and each clump I find makes me want to weep a little.  I look in the mirror, I don't see this smooth bald head.  I see this mangy looking dog of a head...lumpy and shaped weird with bald spots and thin spots.  Why couldn't I have had a beautiful scalp?  In various places there are clumps of hair still firmly attached.  It's so ugly, and my Diva is dying inside.  I will use the clippers on what is left.  But it make take a bit to build up the courage to cut away the hair that was determined to stay.

Tonight at the grocery store I was asked if I needed help to the car. I had one bag! Suddenly my hats are a badge that identify to the public as someone who needs assistance.

Mr. Rosey wanted to put a different spin on it for me. So he called it a reason to celebrate and called it my "coming out" party.  He took me to Applebees this evening. We had a gc for them. I had a wonderful pasta...ravioli Florintine with chicken. It was delicious!  It occurred to me at the restaurant that someone might misunderstand my use of "coming out" party.  So I was certain to point out to our server, that we were celebrating my HAIR coming out.  My chemo was obviously doing what it was supposed to.

Mr. R told me how beautiful I am and how smashing I look in hats. lol How could I not appreciate that!  I think I will keep that man!  I have a new denim bucket hat.  I pinned a gaudy pin on it and wore it out.

But it's been a difficult day. I so appreciate your randoms messages to encourage and support me. You don't know how precious those are. Even though you can't know how this feels, I feel your companionship through it. Thank you all of you and I pray God blesses you for walking through this with me.

Maryland Crab:
((Tina))  I think we can all imagine how hard it would be to lose our hair.  I'm sorry it's a necessary side effect.  It hurts to be offered help for minor things, but imagine how awful if no one offered help.  Love you girl and I think of you often.

Your man sure is a sweet blessing! I'm so sorry you are going through this hard road, Rosey. What you are feeling and thinking is so very understandable. I'd have a terribly difficult time dealing with my hair falling out. I admit it, I'm vain about my hair. (((Rosey)))


  1. How did I miss this was happening with you??? Bad, bad Amy!! Even in the middle of this you are a light and have so much deep down joy that can't be squelched! You just rock those hats and let anyone carry anything you can get away with, sweet lady!

    1. Thank you for your concern Amy. I'm glad we got this cleared up that you misunderstood. I am a warrior, but the chemo, mastectomy and radiation all took place in 2010/2011.

  2. This was a precious read. Thank you for being transparent and giving us a journey into the dreaded world of cancer. Those of us who have not experienced it have a hard time understanding the everyday grief and challenges (and we feel bad asking those we love questions in case it bothers them), so thank you for helping us know better how to care and how to pray. I hope you keep writing!
    Kimberly Rae
    Know Your Worth, Change The World

    1. Thank you Kimberly, that is what led me to share all those thoughts from those days. After the worst was over, people began to get brave and ask questions that I didn't mind at all answering. In fact, some of them were misunderstandings about cancer and what I needed that I would have loved to answer for them. Like "How could I have dealt with your hair loss better?"

  3. I love your attitude in all of this- Making lemonade with the lemons life has given you. Bless you so so much!

    1. Thank you Lizzy, I don't think it occurred to me to do it any other way. At least once the initial shock load wears off. The first couple weeks, where everyone is poking, scanning and bleeding you, all I could think was "I'm going to die"