Thursday, March 4, 2010


There have been very few times that I have been truly angry during this cancer battle. I’ve been scared, hurt, sick, despondent, and probably a few other things during this time, but real red-hot anger hasn’t been one of them. Angry is actually too reserved of a word for what I am feeling. I’m pissed, plain, undiluted, flat-out PISSED!! (I know that is a “bad” word, Mom. But, if I typed what was really running through my head it would be so much worse.) I may be forgiven, but I’m certainly not cured of my human condition.

I just don’t understand. No one prepared me for this. How far does it have to go? What lesson have I not already learned? Exactly how vain WAS I that deems this necessary? I just don’t get it. What else???

That’s a question that I don’t usually ask. In fact, just the sound of it coming out of the mouth of someone else puts fear in my heart for them. But, I ask it today because I just don’t think there’s anything left. Even as I type this I feel sick from asking. But would any of you feel any different? If so, help me understand. Believe me, I NEED the help. Let’s just go down the list of ways this stupid cancer have stripped and stolen from me…

First, there’s the hair. Every woman who gets cancer fears it, most deal with it. Heavens knows that I have spent enough time here talking/whining about it. So, why stop now?

I realized yesterday that even though I finished chemo on January 8th, the effects on my body continue to worsen in some ways. After I got out of the shower last night I was looking in the mirror to remove eye make-up and noticed that I have now lost all but 1 hair of my left eyebrow. ONE hair! My right has a few, some of which need to be plucked. You see, the good ones keep falling out, but some of the bad ones have decided to make a return. I plucked a lone black hair out of my chin this morning, too. Really??? Are you kidding me? It wasn’t there yesterday…how did it grow an inch long overnight when I have just 1 eyebrow hair?? What, did you lose your way? Take a right when you should have taken a left at the nose or something? How can this be?

I thought I dodged the eyelash loss also, but no. Every round of chemo has taken some eyelashes with it. Until now, it was OK because I usually have so many. After I had lost half of them, I still had more than a lot of people. Eyelashes, long beautiful ones, have always been something that I took for granted. Lesson learned. Check that off the list. Last night I also realized that there were huge whole bald spots where my lashes used to be. After my shower this morning there were even fewer. I have two ¼ inch clumps on each eye left. So, this weekend I get to figure out how to apply the fake ones of those. That should be fun.

The irony of it is that as the “good” hair continues to fall out, the “bad” had returned. If you have no hair on your head, no eyebrows, no eyelashes to speak of, you should not have to shave your pits and legs! How ironic is that? Someone should call Alanis Morisette…she could write another verse to her old song.

Another lovely physical price of my treatment has been weight gain. Yeah, I said GAIN. If one more person asks me why I haven’t lost weight from cancer, I might just lash out and gut them. Now granted, I didn’t know breast cancer treatment made you gain weight either. But, I never would have said anything to someone fighting cancer about their weight. You’d be amazed at how many people do. If you’re lucky and contracted just the right kind of breast cancer, you can gain all kinds of weight. I’ve been fortunate enough to gain 30 pounds from it. No exaggeration. 30 freaking pounds! I visit all of my size 6 clothes each morning in the closet as I stuff my butt in ever shrinking 12’s.

This is particularly frustrating because I worked so hard to get the weight off after having Brayden. It took more than 8 months (once I started 18 months after his birth) to lose 68 pounds. I was thinner than I have ever been in my life and felt really good about the way that I looked. I kept it off for a long time, too! But, that all went out the window with the diagnosis. In the beginning you “treat” yourself to whatever you want because you have cancer. Then, the steroids begin their work. Then, the chemo starts its thing….next thing you know you’re fat. Only this time, it’s worse because you are also bald. Oh, and there’s that little thing about removing your breasts…because that makes you feel so good about yourself! When you remove body parts you should weigh less, not more!

Let’s add that up….no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, and no breasts. Then the straw that broke the camel’s back, I’m losing my fingernails. This morning two of them turned loose almost all of the way back. It’s a side effect of my Taxotere. I knew “nail changes” were possible, but didn’t know that included LOSS. So, I have 8 that still look OK. But, 3 days ago they all looked OK. Only 22% of the time people experience nail changes. Way to miss the good 78%! Besides, I thought changes were lines, discoloration, etc. Not LOSS!

Anyway, it all adds up to me being incredibly angry. I know that this experience has permanently changed me. How could it not? I’ve never been in denial about that. I guess the anger comes from the fact that I thought I was on the upswing. I thought that the bad stuff was basically over. I thought that it was all uphill from here. I thought a lot of things. But, they were not to be.

©2009 80% Sporadic | by TNB