Chemo sucks. I hated it and still have very strong feelings of dislike for it. I am not even sure where to start on the long list of reasons why it sucks. Yes it did help save my life, I will give it that but that’s it. I am 100% positive that anyone that has had chemo or knows someone who has will agree with me. A little history on my chemo; my “cocktail” consisted of Cisplatin and Etoposide. I had chemo every three weeks, three times a week for four months. The day after chemo I would go back and get a shot of Pegfilgrastim which helps your body make more white blood cells.
First reason I hate it is because you feel like dog shit. Sorry for the swearing but chemo deserves a swear word. It feels like you have the flu x 100 all of the time. After a couple of days out from a round of chemo you start to feel a smidgen better but then it’s usually time for more. I also had a lot of soreness. Everything hurt from my limbs to what little hair I had on the top of my head. Yes my hair hurt, well I guess it was more like my scalp but whatever. One of the nurses compared it to having fibromyalgia. Those of you that have that I totally feel for you. It sucks. I was pretty much forced to pretend I felt okay because I had a little that needed attention and to be fed every three hours. But there was one day that I literally could not get off of the couch. Thank God my husband was home because I don’t know what I would have done without him that day. I was supposed to go and get my shot for my white blood cell count but we were in the midst of a snow storm so I had to reschedule. It was the day after my third round of chemo so I was feeling crappy anyway. I am not even sure how long I slept that day I just laid on the couch in and out of consciousness. I remember one of the times I did get up and it literally hurt to walk to the bathroom. I am still a little sore and depending on the weather I still have some bad days but I am so glad that I am not in as much pain as I was during chemo.
Another little wonderful thing that happened to me was I did have some hearing loss. I can thank the Cisplatin for that. I started having some ringing in my ears during chemo and that is a side effect of Cisplatin. I did get the amount of Cisplatin I was receiving reduced by 10% and it took care of the ringing. The hearing loss is not severe at all I mostly have a problem hearing someone talking to me if we are in a large crowd. (Which probably happens to a lot of people) It is kind of comical to listen to my husband and I when we go to a restaurant because he also has a hard time hearing in crowds.
The last reason is the most obvious. The hair loss. I know I will probably sound vain but that was the hardest part. I tear up thinking about it even now. My hair was kinda my “thing” I am not a size two and I don’t have a gorgeous face but my hair kicked some serious butt. It was long, thick and beautiful. I could curl it and straighten it and it looked good both ways. People would always say to me “People pay a lot of money to have their hair look like yours.” When those luscious locks started to fall out I had a small mental breakdown. I think some of it was it kind of cemented to me that yes, I did have cancer. By looking at me before my hair loss people probably just thought I was sick with the flu or something. But now everyone would now. They do make some great wigs but I couldn’t afford them. I did receive a free wig from the American Cancer Society and my dad bought me one for Christmas. Some people told me I should just shave my head right away so I wouldn’t have to go through losing it. I wish I would have listened. When you have cancer you lose control of a lot of things. Your whole life is based around surgeries, chemo and other treatment. Your hair falls out, your body hurts and you feel like crap. So to have some control and be in the driver’s seat again is a good feeling. When my hair started to fall out it ended up getting tangled in my other hair so I looked like I had a rat’s nest on my head. So one day I decided I was going to cut it shorter and donate it. So I did and then two days later my husband shaved my head. I will never forget that night. I went to take a shower and I could barely wash my hair. There was just gobs and gobs of hair all over the shower. After a cry fest in the shower I decided I had enough; I wanted to be in control. I got out of the shower and told my husband tonight was the night. He kept asking me if I was sure because he knew how much I loved my hair. I told him I was more than sure because I knew I could not have another shower like that again. So the shaving began. First I had to see what I would look like with bangs. I had never had them before and I discovered why that night. Then I gave myself a mullet. I kinda wish I would have taken pictures of my different hairstyles 😉 Then it was shaving time. My husband shaved my head for me and finally I was in control. (Well technically he was in the driver’s seat cause he had the clippers) I was so glad I did it! No more hair falling out. A couple of days later he shaved his own head and so did my dad. I wish we would have taken a picture together.
After my hair was gone I got to enter the wide world of hats, scarves and wigs. Kind of a cool world; there are so many different colors and styles. I also realized something; I was okay with looking like a cancer patient. My hair was gone and there was nothing I could do about it but that was okay because I was still here; ready to raise my daughter and spend time with my friends and family. To all of the people out there that have lost their hair due to cancer or something else I admire each and every one of you. It is hard to step outside with no hair everyday and walk around on this earth. I wish I would have done it more. Looking back I wish I would have taken more pictures and just plain went out of my house without a wig. If you are in the process of losing your hair or you have lost it don’t be embarrassed. You are beautiful and if you have the guts to show off that beautiful bald head you are awesome in my book!!