Day 109 - Pep In My Step

Just when you start feeling like yourself again -- your hair starts coming out.

BUT -- I'm really happy that I don't ache physically and that my energy feels normal. I'm on what is (hopefully) the up swing of my last infusion and my blood counts are on their way back to normal. I have to go back in again for my 2nd infusion on Thursday, 9/23, but at least I have about 10 days to feel good, and I'm so happy about that.

We went into the doctor's office yesterday because my Onc asked if she could check me out. I had been emailing with her since Thursday last week -- about my sore throat and back pains and then about the fever. She has spoken to the doctor who took our early morning call when my fever hit so she was aware my temp was on the rise. She checked me out and said that I looked much better than she had expected. She said everything I experienced - the sore throat, the anxiety attack, the fever -- it's all associated with the drastic drop in white blood cells and my body's natural response to that occurrence. The anxiety was brought on by my body's release of a specific hormone in response to the weakened state and she said some women are sensitive to that sudden influx of that hormone and feel the anxiety like I did. The back pain, she said, is a side-effect specific to the Taxotere and that it doesn't last for the duration of the 12 weeks. (Thank goodness!) She gave me a prescription for a stronger pain med for use after the next infusion so I can sleep through the night without the aches.

I woke up today feeling like someone flipped the switch to "Good" -- Good. I'm glad that I feel fine physically so I can deal with the emotional aspect of my hair falling out. It's starting to "release" noticably now -- well ... noticably to me. If I have a firm grasp while I run my fingers through it ... I get more than I bargain for.

I know it's going to come out. I know that, and have accepted it. I'm just not emotionally ready for it to happen. I'm not emotionally ready to go from having hair to having none. I don't have the cahones to shave it and I don't have the cahones to take scissors to it myself. I trust Tracy (my hairstylist) with my hair. She's the only one who's ever cut my hair since I've been in Denver. I trust her to help me to the next step -- which is Mia Farrow, Alyssa Milano and now Emma Watson (below), short:

No, it's not the most logical step -- since it's going to fall out soon anyway -- but it's the emotional step I need. At least this way, when it's time to shave it, I'll be able to summon the courage to do so.

Nervous? Absolutely. My hair has been such a large part of my self-image ... small changes to it are a big deal for me. Large changes are - well -- obviously tough. I'll get through, I know -- but it won't be without a few tears and a healthy dose of insecurity. My scarves and hats are on order and will be here soon. The weather is on it's way into fall and will cool off -- so I'll blend in wearing my hats instead of being noticable. "Wear bald like a badge" they say ... Sure ... I will ... If I wasn't in denial about really having cancer. But I think I was -- am -- I don't know ... But you know me -- I can't do anything the "usual" way so it's only fitting that I get breast cancer when I'm 29 versus the statistical age of 50. So yes, I acknowledge that it's happening ... I acknowledge that my hair is going to fall out around me ... doesn't mean I can't face it like I face everything else in my life -- my way - which is usually a Melissa version of what's expected -- and it's always a version and it's never what's expected.


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