Friday, 22 July 2011

The Mia

The pixie pioneer
The last two weeks have gone much better than the first week. Thankfully, the vomiting stopped after week 1 and I was able to deal with the exhaustion by napping or watching a show from my growing arsenal (it turns out that the best thing that people can do for me is bring over complete seasons of the shows that they are watching). I have ploughed through Californication, Gossip Girl, Parks and Recreation, The Big C, and I just started Mad Men. I feel less lazy (and like someone who has actual goals) when I watch something from start to finish. In my opinion, you should really watch The Big C, it is a non-saccharine yet touching depiction of cancer and life (

My version of the Mia
I have also lost a lot of hair in the last two weeks; I inherited a ridiculously thick head of hair so it has been a very drawn-out process. I have dealt with my hair loss in stages. I started by buying a really gorgeous wig (what would I do without Etsy?) that was cut to look like my old hair. I went on to get a  really nice pixie hair cut which I managed to keep for a week! And, today, I am going for the full on shave, from Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby to G.I. Jane. I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Stand by Me

I am going to start with an apology (to you and to me). I'm sorry for failing to write for two months. It is true that I have been very busy and tired, but it is also true that I was pretty depressed and was finding it difficult to accomplish any thing that lay outside of my usual daily demands.

But, I think that I managed daily life surprisingly well. In the last two months:

  • I have increased my strength and range of motion (I can even carry my sleeping daughter home after an evening with friends and can do most yoga poses).  
  • I survived a poorly timed week and a half of chicken pox where my daughter, full of energy, complained incessantly. I am very proud of myself for refraining from saying, "try having cancer" every time she whined (instead, I calmly applied more calamine lotion). 
  • I had a birthday and threw my first real party since my surgery; there were many margaritas and tacos served and people stayed well beyond the stated end time. 
  • I helped two of my M.A. students submit their theses by the deadline, the most demanding and satisfying of my recent accomplishments.

However, along with these achievements came a pretty big blow. I found out that I needed chemotherapy (as a preventative measure, thankfully). I was prescribed 6 months of two different kinds of chemotherapy (for three months each). This is apparently common protocol but it really came as a shock to me. I was under the pretty naive impression that surgery was sufficient (especially after finding out that my cancer did not spread to nearby lymph nodes).

I actually started chemo on Monday (today is day 6 of 168) and it is pretty much as nightmarish as I had imagined. But, I am thankful for my daughter's grandparents who helped me out at the beginning of the week, for day camp so that I can rest up for the evenings, for my daughter who is resilient and kind, for my friends who are all standing by me, and for french fries (the only food that I seem to be able to eat).

To help you relate (or, maybe to bring you down to my level), here is a link to the best vomit scene in the history of film. It is the first thing that I thought of when my chemotherapy side effects started with a vengeance. Enjoy!