Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 16

I'd like to start this post by paying tribute to a brave, wonderful, Christian woman and friend, Lisa Palladino. Lisa went to live with our Lord in Heaven on Monday this week. She learned that she had adenocarcinoma of the lung in September last year. The months between then and now have not been easy for her, or her family. While I know she is no longer suffering, my heart breaks for her family and loved ones. In fact, our whole community mourns her loss. Lisa organized the nursery at our church and was very involved with youth activities, at church and school. She loved my little Jack and welcomed him into the nursery each Sunday with her warm smile. Lisa's family was blessed with one last Mother's Day with her family on Sunday, but I know every day will be Mother's Day for them.

My Mother's Day was magnificent. We went to the 8am mass so that we could make the 11am seating for lunch at the Hilton for Mother's Day. Luz gave me a beautiful necklace from the Gum Tree Festival, and the family gave me a new swing. I love it! You can let the back down so it becomes a bed. There is a canopy over it that I would not have appreciated pre-chemo. Now I can swing this summer without worrying about the sun. The very best Mother's Day gift was Jack's verbal list of "Things I Love about Mommy" on the way from church to lunch. So touching. It was a restful day for much so that I woke from an almost three hour nap thinking it was Monday morning. Crazy!

I just love irony. I always find it amusing. I told Kevin just Sunday that I was "going to be mad if my hair doesn't fall out and I shaved my head for nothing." Well, my nurse, Jerri, told me it would fall out by day 15, and she was right on the money. It's been falling out since Monday. For whatever reason, I've always been interested in men with balding heads, by interested I don't mean attracted to, though I am very much in love with one in particular. :) I've always kissed my dad on the back of his head where he has less hair. I once dated a guy who shaved his head. I have friends with no hair. This is just a revelation I've made recently. I have thin, fine hair naturally. So, I've always worked hard to take care of the hair I have to keep it. Translation: I've worried about losing my own hair. Again...there is the irony. None of that matters now. I'm losing my hair, and it's ok with me. If you don't want to read about how dramatic hair loss occurs, you should skip the next paragraph. I'm just sayin'....
This is another, graphic Cindy description...Sorry...Have you ever been sunburned? I hope not, but if you are like me and have this may help you understand drastic hair loss. You go to bed one night with beautiful sun-kissed skin, a little tender, but proud of the tan you expect to develop. The next morning, you awake with, much to your horror, itchy white flakes. It starts small, but depending on your skin and the severity of the burn (which is BAD for you, and I don't recommend sunbathing) the small flakes turn into larger ones. You try not to think about it and moisturize with lotion, but you know the peel is inevitable. Ultimately, you give in and do whatever you can to get it over with. You peel it yourself, you exfoliate, you dry off roughly after showers, probably other things that escape my mind right now, but you try to accelerate the process. At least after the peel, your "now fair again skin" will be smooth. That is what it's like to lose your hair overnight. You know it's coming. There is nothing you can do about it. It's not pretty, but you want it to be over so you can at least have a smooth head. My hair falls on my shirt and shoulders like I've just had a haircut. I can't keep my hands off my head. I keep looking in the mirror to see just where the line is now. I guess you could say I'm shedding. I am definitely glad I shaved it in advance. If I had not, I'd look mangy right now. 

I met the general surgeon who is going to install my VAD, or "port-a-cath," this week. I'm getting it for my birthday Thursday, assuming my white cell count is high enough. Dr. Harrison seemed nice. I really liked him. Kevin won't be here. He will be in Smithfield for his year end review. He can't help it and would rather be here, and I completely understand. My mom will be with me. It will be outpatient, and I expect it to be very low key. In fact, I plan to travel to Memphis this weekend for my nephew's wedding. I'm really looking forward to it. Jack's going to be the ring bearer. I just hope he doesn't do like he did at tee-ball last night and run over to Jack midway for a drink of Gatorade. He needed one while he was on the field.

Mom and I had a nice lunch at the Village Green yesterday. Thanks, Mom! I love their quiche. She let me pick out my birthday present, a beautiful beaded/stoned matching necklace/earring set. It's just the colors I wear. She also bought me a charm bracelet like the Pandora ones. I've been wanting one. It's going to be my "cancer bracelet." I'll add a couple beads each time I have chemo. When I've finished all nine rounds, it will be full. I'm pretty excited about it.

My throat was a little scratchy when I went to bed last night. I'm watching it carefully. No fever, though. I try to avoid crowds and keep my hands washed. I refuse to give up my life. I'll have to be very careful at the wedding. I get a tired easier than I'd like, but I'm doing well, getting my water in, still need to up the protein. I feel like I eat all the time, though. I'm checking into the "Hallelujah Diet" though. My friend, Binky, recommends it. She's going to bring me some information about it if I ever tell her when. Anybody know about it? I'm concerned about the fact that it is strictly vegan. My doctor says I need protein.

Cards, emails, calls, and texts continue to come in. We are overwhelmed with love and support. Thank you.

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