(Really Sour Lemons)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Hair.

I've been getting some subtle (and not so subtle-you know who you are) hints that I need to update my blog. Well, I guess they're right. I see it's been awhile.

Life has been slowly getting back to normal. Whatever that means. I have a feeling that nothing is every really going to be normal again, but I'm finding my "new normal".  It has been 13 weeks and two days since the last chemo session. My body is thankful that it's over. I am thankful that my body handled it as well as it did. Every cycle I could feel it rebounding and healing on a daily basis. I have a much greater appreciation for the physical body, what an amazing machine it is! 

So, 13 weeks out... how goes it? Very well I think. I had a checkup last Monday with the oncologist and he mentioned 4 times how well I'm doing. Of all the side effects I was experiencing, I have very few remaining. The neuropathy remains in my toes on my right foot. They are just slightly numb. My feet get a bit numb when I walk for more than two miles. (Yes, did you hear that? When I was on vacation last month, I took some long walks. I had the energy to go for 2+ mile walks several times a week.) The surgery site (ground zero) is still pretty tender inside. And I still have night sweats and day sweats. Okay. Hot flashes. I just hate that word. The neuropathy should go away. The tenderness in the breast should subside. The hot flashes are here to stay. 

I started on Tamoxifen on Wednesday. I wasn't looking forward to this at all. I've heard horror stories about this drug in the past. And I don't want to hear any more. So if you're inclined to tell me how you reacted so badly, please don't. I need to take this medicine. Statistics show that women who partake in hormone treatment in addition to chemo/radiation double their chances for the cancer NOT coming back. I bet that could have been said a better way... but my brain function is probably the other thing that is still effected by the chemo. 

Focus Lisa. I feel like I have developed some sort of ADD. I have a hard time focusing on the task at hand. My brain is always going and going but it's hard to settle down and get something done from start to finish. I started making lists. Sometimes my brain gets so overwhelmed by all I have to do that it just wants to shut down and sleep. At times it's hard to get a thought out. Other times it feels manic and just wants to make friends.

Does anyone want a hair update? I haz hair! It's about 1/4" to 1/2" long. The front/hairline is growing a lot slower than the back and sides. It's not coming in curly but that's okay. I can't seem to get a decent picture of my head though. Most pictures you can't really see my hair, or there's a glaring bright reflection on my head which looks funny. I'll have to ask hubby to try to get a picture of my head. Wait, I just stuck my head in front of my laptop's photobooth camera. You can see me in all my unmade-up glory, lacking eyebrows and eye makeup and all. I look a little like my brother.  (It's weird. During chemo I started wearing makeup again and now I feel nekkid without it. Especially my eyebrows.)
I fear that I've seen the last of my blond tresses. Unless it comes from a bottle. Somebody described my hair as "salt and pepper" the other day. Yes, the only thing 50 shades of grey in my house is my hair! It's still in that awkward stage... too short to actually look like it was meant to be that short. But not quite that "bald-chemo" look either. I am highly recognizable for sure! 

It's funny, I was at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) Tradeshow last week. I took three workshops on Monday, walked the floor with my husband on Tuesday and went back Wednesday by myself to study the "make and takes", meet some vendors, and attend a few conferences. A lot of people recognized me from day to day. (I've always been a wallflower and blended into the woodwork.) I just smiled a lot. I met a fellow breast cancer survivor who approached me and we traded war stories. It was quite an experience. 

I'm glad to have my hair back though. It's hotter than Hades here in Chicago this summer. I haven't worn a scarf since vacation mid June. Hats are for shading from the sun. I'm not embarrassed the least bit. I even feel a little bad-ass. And I've only had positive reactions from people, bless them all. I've developed the habit of "petting my head" when I'm nervous and need calming down. You know how they say that stroking a dog or cat reduce blood pressure? So does petting my head. My blood pressure is excellent!

I'll talk to you all soon!


  1. You sound like a true warrior woman, Lis. Bad ass, indeed. *grin* But please do let yourself nap when you need to. Sleep helps the body heal, and even warriors must rest. Hugs!

  2. Now who on Earth would come right out and tell you to update your blog? ha ha You are a "bad ass" and I love you for it!
    Hey, can I pet your head when I am stressed to bring down my blood pressure too? :-)~

    See ya soon!

  3. Glad to read the in depth update! (no matter how it happened...hehe)
    Trust me, when the eyebrows come in, they will be like shrubs! Mine looked like old-man hair until I tweezed about half out. My eyelashes were what I missed most, and they suddenly came back in beautifully. Of course, the humor of all this is in 3+ weeks, it will probably all go again....*sigh*
    I am read for it all to be done. (1 of 6 cycles under the belt)
    Per Tamoxifin, I have to admit I have as many friends that have had good experiences with it, so my guess is personal body chemestry.
    Okay, brain bouncing around~~can't spell or think.
    Time to stop. ;-)


  4. Good to read the update Lesa and look at that hair!! I have neuropathy in my feet (mine caused by a B-12 deficiency). It is annoying for sure-glad they say yours will go away. Happy that you are getting your stamina back!!

  5. It sounds like your energy levels are back at least - that's excellent! As for the rest, it will come. Life is always changing, even if you're not a cancer survivor, so what is "normal" for anyone? We moved to a new house, and I have new routines and patterns too! It's life, that's all. Lisa - I am so glad you are through the worst of it and bounding back. You are superwoman, in my estimation. Love you. xo

  6. You go girl. You have taken this whole journey with amazing strength and determination. You are an inspiration to all of us because you are honest and tell it like it is. We follow your blog because we know you tell it like it is and not some pie in the sky sort of response. This is a hard journey! You are a true warrior woman.

  7. Hi, Lisa! I think you are a ROCK STAR going to CHA and walking 2+ miles so soon after chemo! Amazing! I love that you are a fighter and that you are telling your body that you are the boss of it - it is NOT the boss of you! Go! ♥

    I also wanted to suggest that you ask your doctor whether you may take Remifemin, which is an over-the-counter black cohosh supplement. It comes in a blue box, with a yellow flower and pink band on it. You can find it at Wal-Mart and most drug stores. This supplement has been a life saver for me, because I started having SEVERE night sweats as soon as I hit peri-menopause. Taking just 1 a day (not 2 like it says) has helped me tremendously. And when you can sleep better ... everything else seems to work better, too!

    Good luck and keep fighting! Big huge {{{HUGS!}}} ♥

  8. You are right, Lisa, about finding a new normal. Life is never the same, but that does not mean it cannot be good! Your courage and spirit shine through. Two years this month for me. I had a scare in June but from all indications it was a bad test. Tests since have been normal. Since I don't take the adjuvant therapy we watch the markers closely. Blessings to you always.

  9. So glad to read your update! I was just thinking, had I missed one? Hooray for being able to enjoy CHA!! Love self-pettage; thankfully I have 7 cats to pet, LOL. My hair has grown since I got it cut; I now look awful - like Donald Trump! Sigh. . .

  10. You sound so positive and energetic much more than pre BC. It does change how you view the world. After what you have survived you either perish or roar out of it more positive and self assured and girl you are dynamite. A warrior queen in every sense.

  11. Lisa, I'm so heartfully glad to hear your good news. I'd say just wait . . . your hair may surprise you yet.

  12. this is the best news and im so happy u are on the mend , u are an inspiration and im so loving your bad ass hair lol now have u decided what tattoo u are going to get lol
    big hugz bev

  13. You have hair!! What a wonderful sight.

    I have horrendous hot flashes. My body gets soaked and I start dripping. It happens 5-10 times a day. I'm considering HRT - and I don't even care about the risks, because I cannot stand the sweats, the arthritis, the belly fat. Hate it.