Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pink Ribbons ~ The Problem with Hair!

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.   This is me sharing with you from the other side of breast cancer.

These are not current events, events are from Sept. 2010

I didn't mention that I have lost most of my hair although I suspect you had deducted that. What's left is some white 1/2 in fluff. Kind of like a baby's scalp. The scalp is clearly visible through the little bit of hair. The scalp is extremely tender. :( It feels like I pulled it tight into a ponytail at the top and kept it that way all day. Then took it down after 18 hours. Remember how sore your scalp is then? Mine feels that way all around.

There's hair everywhere...little half inch hairs. I had put off vacuuming until the shedding slowed down. It has, so I'm planning to vacuum today. I can't tell if other hair is still growing or not. On Friday I did shave the legs and chin. It was smooth. There's no hair regrowth but I can feel a rasp but not prickly. So there may be regrowth that's really really slow. I still have eyebrows and eyelashes. Might lose them and the rest of my scalp hair after this chemo. Right now my head looks like James when his started growing as a baby. Soft white hair standing up from the head. lol

I got chided by someone an acquaintance for being excited to have hair. Come on do we have to make EVERYTHING spiritual?

Let me explain. I appreciate getting cards. Its a real bright spot for me. Sister Becky sends me one seems like every other day. I get the occasional card from church friends. I enjoy the cards. But sometimes the things people write make me cringe, sometimes it actually ruins the card. Many sent very nice ones but included scripture about testing or trials increasing faith and you know the scripture. It comes across to ME that God GAVE me cancer to increase faith. Which doesn't feel loving, I don't think God works like that.

So I often just roll my eyes and tape the cards on my encouragement wall and ignore the scriptures. Frankly I rankle at the Jeremiah scripture that gets shoved down my throat. I told K that I KNOW God has plans not to hurt me. But GOD doesn't consider death to be a bad thing. I'm sorry I'm not ready to die even with heaven as the result. I still have a family that needs me! But then I also rankle at the whole Breast cancer "hope" thing. I was explaining to a friend that to me it's "Gee I HOPE I survive this." The HOPE for the cure is for those who don't have it yet. I think survivor bracelets should have FAITH on them not hope. Faith I will survive.

So this chick I know texts me that she saw my hair comment on facebook and tells me I had a bad attitude. According to her, God created us in perfection and gave us beautiful heads. I shouldn't cover it with fake hair but embrace God's goodness. I should flaunt my bald head as proof that chemo is working. I could not experience God's goodness until I embrace the bald.

Okay bugging my eyes and what the phooey is that nonsense  

Some things just stink. 
It's not all spiritual. 
Sometimes it's just crap. 

SHE had cancer and did the bald chick scene. But that's not me. It's not who I am. argh. It just makes me mad. People keep telling me I have to write my journal and make it a Bible study for cancer. I AM NOT BETH MOORE.

The day I had my chemo teach a friend from church gave me the Footprints print. I hung it in the family room. One day I was quilting and told God I was very afraid. And God told me He knew and being scared was okay. Cancer was scary. 

I looked up and saw the Footprints poem and realized I didn't have to be Beth Moore. I have said she could write a Bible study about the experience of scooping kitty litter. But I felt God was showing me that it was okay to direct my energy to coping, recovering and just getting through. It was okay to be content and let HIM carry me through that. 

And I HAVE seen God through this. He has been there in the selection of doctors and even in the timing of finding the cancer. He was there in answering Kel's prayer to release me from pain. He was there in meeting financial needs and eliminating that stress. There's even been little things like getting a card on a bad day or getting a text from someone just before a test or meeting with the doctor. So I don't think he feels rejected if I choose to cover the baldness with some fake HAIR!!! I think its okay with him.

Ugh. I hope I didn't offend anyone. I was really disappointed that this person who HAD experienced cancer, would feel the need to stand in judgement over my decision instead of using her experience to encourage me.  Jason preached a message my last time at church about Moses raising his staff in the air during battle. As long as his arms were up they were triumphant in battle. But when fatigue brought them down they started losing. So a couple men (Aaron maybe was one?) they came and held Moses arms up for him. Jason talked about being observant to those around us and recognizing when someone needed their arms held up. Then he said there is no shame if in the battle you find you need that support of letting someone keep the arms up while you fight a battle. I bawled through the whole message. I realized that's me.

Yikes! How does your bald head prove anything to anyone? This is YOUR cancer, not anyone else's, and it's up to you to decide how to handle it, or how to dress it up or not (meaning with hats or wigs or scarves for your head). What is that verse in Proverbs that says that even fools are considered wise when they're silent?  Some people!

I'm sorry that people aren't being more thoughtful before they speak to you. You've shown amazing courage and faith through all of this, but you've also been very honest about your fears and worries. You'll never, ever have to worry about any of us here telling you that you're handling your cancer in the wrong way because we would never think that for a minute!

So. Big sigh...thanks for listening to my rant. Chemo is tomorrow and I find myself in the shoes of Moses...needing help holding up my arms. Sigh. It's a little different/harder this time. Even without the "neulasta" injection I know there's going to be pain and fatigue and stomach/ issues. So its kind of like going to the dentist when you KNOW you have a cavity. yuck. I'm having to draw upon some strength and courage to get up and go in the morning.

I do have my juicer now and I'm confident that will help get food down. I juiced an orange and wow it was bitter. Then I read through some recipes and noticed that the orange juices had were to be peeled first. I had juiced the rind and all because I keep hearing that the vitamins are in the rind too. But apparently the rind is bitter. *laughing at myself*  I added about 4 oz of diet mountain dew and found it way more palatable. I realized I can always punch up store juices with fresh juices too. I'm not too fond of just plain carrot juice. But I can juice several carrots and add to my V8.  Suddenly it's powered up v8!! I can't wait to juice a whole water melon. yum.
Okay I feel a little better after ranting a little with you. Thanks girls and don't forget to pray in the morning.

Maryland Crab:
((Tina))  I'll be thinking of you all day today.  And don't let ignorant people bring you down, I do think people believe they're doing right by you, I doubt when people put scriptures in cards they're trying to bum you out.  I have a friend whose daughter is severely autistic and she occasionally gets a little bummed that her 16 yo won't drive, won't go to the prom, etc She is in general very positive and upbeat, and I don't doubt for a second she loves her daughter so much.  She too needs her arms held up once and awhile and I see nothing wrong with that.  But people will say the most insensitive things to her when she just needs a hug.  Like she shouldn't ever be sad about what could have been. 

I laughed at the beth moore cat box thing - lol.  I bet she's not constantly walking around in the afterglow of God's love.  You do what's good for you and don't listen to people who want to tell you how to react.  Who wouldn't be scared?  Most of all you are still you, not just breast cancer.  It's not your job to be the poster child for treatment. 

I'll be praying like crazy today.

((Praying for you, Tina)) I'm sorry for this difficulty and the insensitivity of some people. Honestly, I do wonder where people get these ideas sometimes.

You guys have been my life line as far as venting to women. I mean I rant at KJ and he's sympathetic.  He would have said a word or two to people telling me I was rejecting God plan for me by covering my head in public. I stopped him.

Besides Rosey wants a victorian garden hat with flowers and veiling on it to cover her bald head! However I do admit to being the first one to pull Rosey off (my wig) at the Look Good Feel Better class Wed. night. They were teaching us makeup tricks for cancer survivors and I didn't want Rosey to get makeup on her.  Rosey is blonde. 

I don't think a wig rejects Gods plan!

That's amazing people can be that insensitive.  If you don't know what to say, just don't say anything!    I'm praying for you both today!

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