Making A Silk Purse Out Of A Swine’s Ear

January 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM (Energy, Family, Recovery, Treatment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

We had the perfect family vacation week planned. After returning from the weekend in Philadelphia over Christmas, Mr. Wonderful was going to take the week off. We were planning a big New Year’s Day Open House party, something I’d been wanting to do for years (see my overcommittment issues posted earlier); I would have time to get to the gym every day, do some long-overdue organizing projects; ship hand-me-downs to the cousins in Cali; learn how to play Wii with the kids.

Well, we all know what happens to the best-laid plans of mice and men. And cancer chicks. Wednesday morning as the whole family was packing up for a day of snowboarding on the local hill, I realized I was feeling sort of achy, a little coughy in the back of the throat. First time I was going to be on skis since the ’80s, I was reluctant to back out – I’m a little sensitive about the three boys doing things together without me, as it feels like foreshadowing, and I’m not ready to relinquish control yet. But common sense (fortunately) got the better of me, and I decided to stay home, clean up, get the house ready for the influx of guests, etc. etc.

And a damn good thing, too – by 10:30 I was shivering on the couch in all-wool clothing and a throw blanket. By 11:30 I was in bed and on the phone with the Cancer Factory. Fever: 102 and change. Body: achy. Head: throbbing. Z-pack prescribed, I passed out, after receiving strict orders to escalate to inpatient IV antibiotics should I get any worse.

What the $(%&… I had JUST remembered to ask for the flu shot two weeks earlier at my last infusion appointment. “Do I need the H1N1?” I asked. “No, I don’t think it’s necessary,” replied the nurse. “Just seasonal flu.” Arm stuck, fears quieted. Now why am I lying in bed? Clearly, the swine had struck.

Four days later, I crawled to the surface. I had watched every cheesy Best-of-the-Decade TV show, learned how to cook countless holiday dishes, and finished an entire previous season of Biggest Loser. And while I was laid up, I kept having flashbacks of being sick, and remembering how much I HATE it. Not that lying in bed with my cat watching TV and napping isn’t nice, but the world keeps on turning without me. Mario Kart marathons were won. Photographs were taken. Meals were eaten, funny stories told. Like the kid who’s not in on the joke, I was reminded that there is, and will continue to be, life without me. Am I sad? Am I happy? The jury’s still out.

Short story long: the party’s postponed until tomorrow, when I’ll happily surround myself with the manic cacophony that is life in the ‘burbs when all your friends have kids under ten. And I have a renewed respect for the shopping-cart wipe-down station outside my Trader Joe’s.

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Hair Envy

December 30, 2009 at 10:24 AM (Energy, Hair, Recovery) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s not easy being green. Having to spend each day perusing magazines like InStyle with their seven-page editorial spreads of people like Blake Lively, Debra Messing and Penelope Cruz. Watching a little TV at the end of the day and being confronted with Pantene ads of models flipping their glossy, wavy, scapula-long locks around like modern-day incarnations of Cher.

As I’ve said before, baldness didn’t scare me this time around. I’d been through it before, had a DYNAMITE wig, loved the ease with which my morning routine rolled along, and relished the break from shaving, plucking, zits, etc. (Yes, the shiny-face-in-photographs thing was annoying, yes, sweating off my eyebrows six times a day was tedious, but they all beat being dead.) But as a (prematurely) post-menopausal female rapidly approaching the big 4-0, I could use all the feminine beauty mojo I can get. Baldness, and the subsequent Death-Valley-Ultramarathon that is growing out curly hair, eventually loses its silver lining and gets just plain cloudy.

So watching these twenty-something robo-babes and their semi-professional hair-flipping contests is starting to bum me out. Maybe it’s because I still think of myself as looking like them (at least in the respect that we’re both female) and when I catch sight of myself in the mirror I look SO unlike that now that it’s shocking, even more so than seeing my formerly Yul-Brynner self after a shower. I think of myself as having hair now, and this? Is so not it.

I think we need a Bald Channel. The King And I; the Star Trek with the bald chick in it; G.I. Jane; Shaft; the Natalie Portman movie where they shave her head; Kojak reruns. Ernie and Bert marathons. There could be made-for-tv movies about alopecia so chemo patients could understand that they’re not alone in the world, starring LeeAnn Rimes. Cancer patients all over the country would flock to the advertisers: moisturizers, wigs, great hats, Sephora tutorials on eyebrow and eyelash application.

Oh, great, like I don’t have enough projects already.

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