6. Bald and…Breezy?

Hello everyone! Thanks for coming back to the cancer party. I hope everyone out there in the world is doing well and enjoying the transition from summer to fall. I know we are around here…Colorado can CHILL on the summer temps, please. My new photosensitive skin would really love that.

So, the latest around here is that I am now on Cycle 2 of the first half of my chemo adventure, that which consists of the AC drugs. My parents are in town again so my mom came with me to this second infusion which was nice. She got to meet another great nurse at the center who wasn’t quite as spunky or sweet as Colleen, my first nurse, but was kind and patient nonetheless. The infusion went about the same; they gave me anti-nausea meds and steroids as premeds for about an hour, then some IV fluids, and then the Red Devil followed by Cyclophosphamide. All in all it took about 4 hours from start to finish. My oncology nutritionist was able to pay us a visit during the infusion to check in on side effects and talk about what foods I’ve been able to stomach and what aversions I’ve had. The eating thing has been interesting- some days I can eat the exact things I normally would, and other days the thought of even one bite of yogurt or a sandwich makes me want to vomit. I’ve mostly craved salmon, my usual salads with hard boiled eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, etc., caprese salad, and Subway for some very odd reason. Tomatoes and salmon have helped cut the nausea more than anything else. No idea why…

I haven’t yet had nausea strong enough to warrant taking all of the meds they prescribed to me, so that’s been good. It’s been more of a chronic, mild nausea that seems to well up at certain hours of the day. What helps me the most is always keeping a small amount of food or protein in my stomach, working out, and taking walks outside for fresh air. I have also learned to eat a small amount of food even when I don’t feel like it, because that usually helps me feel better. Fatigue usually hits around 3 pm and I need a nap if I am to function that evening. I’m getting better at forcing myself to lay down even though I’d rather not. Each time gets a little bit easier.

The other thing that’s new around here (and a lot more exciting than nausea) is that I am officially bald! Well, technically not yet totally bald, but mostly there. I have a VERY short buzz cut at the moment. I’d say it’s a pretty easy breezy style.

We tried to make it “fun” (if any of this can be considered fun) by having a champagne and shave party at a local salon on Tuesday evening, the night of my second infusion. The reason I scheduled it for that night is because I was told that my hair would start to fall out probably around Day 14-21 of chemo, which would have been this week. Since we have always had a thick head of hair, I hesitated to go forward with the shave, hoping I might be able to hold onto it a little bit longer than expected, but sure enough, I woke up this past Monday (the day before the shave) and my hair was pretty much coming out in clumps when I would comb it. So, it was the right decision to have it done when I did. I was hoping to maaaybe hold onto it until Brandon’s birthday next weekend, but turns out his birthday present will be a bald, breezy girlfran.

My parents, sister, brother, boyfriend, and three close vet school friends were there. I brought champagne, we popped a bottle, and my new cancer-hair-help-girl Alex went to town. She let me cut off a portion of my long blonde (and a little pink) locks to save (which I now have hanging in a pink bow on my fridge and honestly it’s a little creepy). We also took a few minutes to check out how I’d look as Skrillex (a DJ), and to be honest it was kind of a lewk. Definitely not totally opposed to the one-sided head shave with long hair on the other side after this is all said and done. Anyway, after a few minutes of laughs and getting the best Skrillex angles, Alex surged forth and we completed the job. A few light tears were shed but it was mostly just, “Wow, come look at this” and “I can’t believe I’m getting my head shaved” comments with some laughter mixed in (also mixed commentary on Britney Spears and her baldy episode back in the day, of course). Once it was all said and done, we took some photos, experienced a few more subtle dewy eye moments, and stepped out into a cool fall breeze on a baldy head. Truth be told, as hard as it is to be forced by cancer into losing my hair, being bald the last few days hasn’t really bothered me. I am super lucky to have gotten a bunch of cute hats from friends and family, and not having to do my hair or worry about putting it up for workouts or errands has actually been pretty nice. Of course I miss it and wish things were different, but it’s been a lot less emotional than I expected. My badass breast-cancer-surviving friend Erin texted me the day of, when I had mentioned to her that my hair was starting to fall out, and she said, “I learned that in many cultures women shave their hair as a symbol of beginning a transformation!” Coming from her it means a lot more than from someone who has never had to go through this. So, I guess here I am, beginning a transformation.

That’s pretty much all from the cancer chronicles for now. I am continuing to learn how to best deal with side effects and trying to get into a solid daily routine that I can tweak as needed when side effects get worse over the coming months. Right now I am keeping busy with dog walks, oncology appointments at the cancer center such as acupuncture, massage, blood draws, recheck visits, etc., a few hours of work and a few hours of class per day, time with family when they are here, yoga or some other type of workout, bedtime meditation, and eating well. I was also fortunate enough to get to my one of my favorite places on earth- Red Rocks- with some of my best friends last weekend prior to my second infusion to enjoy one of our favorite DJ duos and lots of dancing. My dear friend Nick, who is an amazing photographer in San Diego, even brought up some lighting and equipment to do a pre-cancer journey photoshoot for me the day before the show. We found the most amazing space in Fort Collins and had a blast! More on that to come in another post.

Thanks, as always, for your unending support and well wishes. Sending love and doggie kisses to all of you!

Published by vegterac

Hi! I am Amanda, a 35-year-old vet student in Colorado. I am here to share my journey through Stage 2 breast cancer and keep those I know and love (and those I don't even know who are interested in following along) informed along the way. Thanks for being here with me.

5 thoughts on “6. Bald and…Breezy?

  1. Appreciate your updates and attitude- may get harder and harder to stay so positive, so do let others know what you need from them, and you know you’ll find your way. You rock that haircut.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your strength and the way you embrace life in any situation is a lesson for all of us. A divine transformation for sure. Your heart is most beautiful and courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad the nausea is a dull roar and you’ve found the foods to help. Mine was oatmeal. Glad you can nap now it will help you keep that positive attitude. Mary Rose from MN

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So love your upbeat, honest posts Amanda! Please keep them coming and continue to stay positive–has everything to do with recovery as you know. Much love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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