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Bald…

Bald – definition:  Having little or no hair on the scalp: a bald head; a bald person.

It’s a weird feeling!

After being shaved and touching my head for the first time – It felt like…like… A BALD HEAD! What a surprise! Right?!?!?  Actually – it felt like a hairless dog. A hairless dog’s skin…

Right after getting shaved I took a shower, and in the shower it hit me. I truly realized deep in my gut… the loss…And I cried! A good “shower cry”! I was a sad! It was a cry having to accept the situation. A cry for identity loss…

No magic pill was going to fix this. No glue in the world could help me…

There is no way out of this. There is only one way – and that is TROUGH IT!

After balling my eyes out for a few minutes, I sobered up and thought of “TODAY” (a poem written by Kristone) –

“TODAY – This is the beginning of a new day (even though this was in the afternoon…). I’ve been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it (= hang- on to being Yoda)…or use it for good (realizing I have to embrace every step of the way). But what I can do today is more important because – I’m exchanging a day of my life for it (My life – My Journey). When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever… (Capture this day! Capture and celebrate the hair loss. It’s actually one more step closer to getting healed and healthy)” The verse doesn’t end there, but this was as much as I could remember.

After my “talk to myself” in the shower…A good talk. A bit sobering if you will…it meant I have to step up to the plate in life, and play it wholeheartedly. This is it!

 “Mirror, mirror on the wall – Who is the fairest of them all?”

I had to look in the mirror (hairless dog skin and all ;o) …look myself  in the eye…check my flawless scalp (!) my Bayer-white head…and say “I LOVE YOU! I really do! You are the fairest of them all!”

Life is good and Life goes on…

You know I got a wig – right? I realized it’s not “my thing”…This is what happened; I put it on one day and went outside in the back yard. Just to get the feel for it… It was windy and the air blew through the wig kind-of nicely…Refreshing! When I came in again I looked like a (freaking) Troll! The hair was all over the place…of course I couldn’t feel it. I wasn’t my hair. If it was my hair I could “fix it”…You know how you automatically fix your hair with your hands? But it was a wig…I felt nothing!

One more thing – from the ‘get go’ – I felt that a wig was (most likely) not “my thing”….I have heard of a lot of people choosing to wear a wig. And that’s great! Their choice! For me it was more like “Why hide what’s going on?” To me it’s an inner acceptance. A time in my life I want to embrace. And TO ME wearing a wig feels like hiding. I have chosen to wear scarfs and hats (and Yes! I do have my favorite hat already)

Not saying it’s been easy to figure this out…There is a first time for everything! After this – I decided it was time to venture out…To do some grocery shopping or something…To get out of the neighborhood. Seriously – I was a little nervous…Will people stare? Will they treat me differently? Will they avoid me or not? Start running the other way? LOL! Will I scare them?

My target was PUBLIX (grocery store) on a Saturday…Midday! Brave! I know ;o)

In the car on the way there I changed my mind…I was going to be super brave and go to… guess…guess…guess…TA DAAAA – C O S T C O – on a Saturday,  mind you! (Super crowded)

That was brave, but also sooo stupid! COSTCO! On a Saturday… before Memorial Day!?!?! What was I thinking??? While at COSTCO I had to call Brian and tell him (he was fishing in the Key’s) He answered and said his usual phrase “What’s up?” I whispered “I’m at Costco! My first time as a bald woman…and can you believe it I went to Costco?” I could hear him smiling and he said “Are you crazy…On a Saturday?”

I did it! And I survived (both my new bald-self-life and the crowds!) I survived because I had one thing in mind… MY REWARD:  

Soft Ice Cream Vanilla Sunday with warm strawberries on top! Mmmm good!

(…and $200.00 later…)

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Going bald…

(This blog should actually have been posted about 10 days ago…but it was a few things happening at the same time…)

The morning of May 13th, two days before my second chemo, I came home from walking the dogs. I was sweaty and needed to shower before picking up Jane at the airport. I walked into the bathroom, turned on the shower. Took of my hat…and you all know how funny you look after wearing a hat… HAT HEAD!   I pulled my fingers through my hair… and big chunks of hair got stuck between my fingers…I looked at it…oh no…(actually “OH NOOOO!”.  Capital and bold!)  My heart sank… My first thought was “Shit! Here we go!”…

I knew it was going to happen…but still…When you get a chunk of hair in your hand and you don’t feel anything…like; Its dead… I couldn’t even feel it being pulled from my scalp. I looked in the mirror and grabbed a small chunk of hair between my fingers….just to try it… and pulled…It came of like nothing. I didn’t even feel it being pulled!  Heavy sigh…Here. We. Go!

After realizing this – I wanted to share it. I didn’t want to be alone…So, right there in the bathroom with the shower running, and the steam building up, fogging the mirror… I texted 2 friends “Here we go! My hair is falling out!”…

I took my shower and was very careful washing my hair. No pulling…No conditioner…After the shower I dried it carefully….like scrounged- squeezed it “with hope” (If you know what I mean?)  I didn’t do the usual ‘turban wrap’ around my head (what if all the hair would get stuck in the turban when I pull off the towel? Scary thought!) Then combed it with a wide tooth comb…Yes, more hair fell out but I still looked okay. I didn’t blow dry my hair…no, no. I was too scared of doing that. Thought all my hair would be pulled around the round brush…

I JUST WANTED MY HAIR TO STICK AROUND UNTIL AFTER MY SECOND CHEMO!

Why? I don’t know. I just had that in my mind. Period.

I pulled back my wet hair, and used a head band to keep it back.

I managed to keep my hair for a couple of days (until after my second chemo! Ha! Na na na na naaa na!)

But when you start looking like Yoda (Star Wars – minus the ears) it’s about time to do something! Really!

TIME TO SHAVE!

This entry was posted on May 26, 2014. 7 Comments

In the Boxing Ring – Round 2!

This time I got Chair number 10. Not that that matters, it’s just something that sticks to my mind. I feel good now! I feel calm and confident! I am a courageous, positive, loving, passionate, fearless woman – that’s my “mojo” for today’s treatment!

Round 2 – The head nurse, Debbie, greets us and is as wonderful as the last time! I really like her! I make myself comfortable and so does Jane. We have a few hours ahead of us…Debbie tells me my chemo is ordered and she’s sits down. She needs to hook the IV to my port. My port-opening have of course healed…or closed up. Interesting! It didn’t hurt that bad… (Ouch!) Just a burning sensation and that was it! Then she can hook me up to the anti-nausea bags and saline.

Jane is prepared for this session. She brought Mandala Art Coloring books for us to do. It was wonderful to sit and color these Mandala’s for hours. I picked one that made me feel like I was growing from the Center of the earth, and reaching outwards to the Universe. It’s very meditative, and your mind floats away…

Mandalas originally came from Hinduism and Buddhism. Long story short; the re-introduction to Mandalas in the Modern Western thought is owed to Carl Jung, The Swiss (not Swedish) psychoanalyst. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala

Wake Up! You Chemo is here!

It’s the strangest feeling when you see the tubes of red liquid in 2 big syringes. Very surreal.

They have my name on them! MY NAME! (shit!)

My birth date and year! (double shit!)

I surrender!

Bring it on!

Debbie hooks me up to the Chemo and slowly, manually, injects it. Here it goes… (please read this SLOWLY!)…from the syringe through the tube and up to my port and into my body…I can’t feel it entering…but I can imagine the red liquid going through my veins, through my heart… liver… pancreas… kidneys… bladder… (OK! Unhook me! I have to pee! Drum rolls please…the pee is RED! )

OK. So I sound dramatic again…and I don’t really mean to sound so dramatic! The chemo kills the cancer, but it also makes me feel like shit! Good and bad! Or, good and tough shit! Or, be grateful and suck it up!

In all honesty – I give thanks to the chemo and the effect that it has on my cancer! This is a Journey back to Health!

My Journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014. 9 Comments

In Preparation for Round 2!

I was a nervous wreck before my second chemo…I must say maybe even worse than the first time. I knew what was going to happen, and how hard it was the first time to keep the nausea at bay…

I signed in…I had my friend Jane with me. We were a little late (I was okay with that – yes, I was!) Then I got called into the Doctors office…That’s the routine. First I see the nurse. I have to weigh myself. They want to see if you lost any weight. The chemo concoction is measured according to your weight, and the Lab results. The chemo is mixed right then and there. Amazing! (Side note – If my wonderful neighbors continue to feed me like they do…I will most likely gain weight and maybe need heavier chemo! Oh No!)

The nurse takes my blood pressure, temp, and asks me some questions…the normal stuff.  Then the Doctor Enters… *I need some music here…Dramatic entrance like… DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUN*

It’s not really like she knew I had this “butterfly swarm” in my stomach…and she’s not very dramatic person at all…it’s just my interpretation of what I felt like before she came in…I wanted to turn away… But, she entered and she sat down…and I stayed!  She asked me how I was doing after the first Chemo and she said “you must have been doing pretty good, because I only heard from you once! (Yes, I called her once…I had a very important question…Not! And…I have to admit, I wanted to see if she would call me back, or if a nurse would call. Dr. Stone called shortly after and answered my suuuper important question) I did good, but had some really tough days…and it’s not like I’m going to call the Doctor when I feel super nauseated, dizzy, disconnected, constipated, chest pain, back pain, and just blaha…blaha…or??? Hm!

I told the Doc I was very scared this time, and she said she could see it in my face. She put her hand over mine and told me to talk to her…So I did. After I was done, Dr. Stone became this super motivational Speaker!  She told me what I should change in my diet, and she added a nausea (acid reducer) medicine.”Do this, do that…Give me an F! Give me an I! Give an L! Give me another I! Give me two P’s! Give me an A! What does that spell???? F I L I P P A!!! Woohoo!!!

Not really! But after her speech I felt 100% ready to go to “the chair”!

Story Continues…

 

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014. 2 Comments

First thing First…

Last Tuesday, May 13th, one of my very best friends flew in from the LA to stay with me (us) for one week! Jane (the Queen :o) and I have known each other for 24 years….as long as Brian and I have been married!

Jane is such a nurturer and down- to- earth woman….She was there for me after I had surgery in 2007 and nurtured me back to health…She has seen my good, bad and ugly side (for sure!)  She recently became an Art Therapist, and landed a fantastic job in LA…And while we were at Cleveland Clinic (for my second chemo treatment – more about that later) she got a job offer as an Art Therapist at the Oncology Department at CC!  WHAT?!? Seriously! I felt like I was the third wheel in Dr. Stone’s office ;o)…Dr. Stone and Jane totally forgot about ME! Hello – This is about me, me, me…LOL! Just kidding!)

Thanks My Queen, for being there for me and Brian. Thanks for your love, laughter, walking the dogs, long talks, art therapy stuff. Thanks for being a good listener, and thanks for shaving my head!

Much Love,

Princess

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014. 3 Comments

I’m Grateful!

We moved in to our neighborhood 18 years ago. March 1996. Time have passed sooo quickly!

If you go down 59th Avenue from our house, and cross over Peter’s Road you come to a beautiful park, Heritage Park. For 18 years I have walked there with my dogs…I have gotten to know many people in the park, who’s also been walking for years and years…with or without dogs!

This special morning, last week, I felt such Gratitude…

I’m grateful for the perfect blue sky above me…and the airplane (way up there!) in the sky!

I’m grateful for the morning Sun, who’s just starting to warm up mother earth.

I’m grateful for the puffy, white, clouds that gives me shade, and makes me fantasy about the clouds formation (There’s a goat in the sky!)

I’m grateful for the beautiful Trumpet Tree that is full of yellow, blooming flowers.

I’m grateful for the amazing Sweet Bay Magnolia Trees with their white massive flowers…for the Sea Grape, the Royal Poinciana that is so fiery, glowing orange-red it looks like it’s on fire!

I’m grateful for the old Oak Trees who’s branches are reaching out to get the sun rays, and creating a beautiful canopy underneath it,  for that I am grateful…

I’m grateful for all the nice people, in the park, saying “Good Morning” and smiling!

I’m grateful for the beautiful pond that sits in the middle of the park, and all the ducks that are bobbing on the water…looking happy and peaceful!

I’m grateful for the butterfly (who just missed Emma’s jaws) and are happily seeking more nectar!

I’m grateful for the birds that are protecting their babies in the nest…Diving down in their flight, touching my head, telling me to leave their territory…for those, loving, Mom’s I’m grateful!

I’m grateful for the purple, violet, blooming Jacaranda Trees that reminds me of the Crown Chakra – the connection to God and spirit…God’s strength and power lovingly flow through me at all times..for that I am immensely grateful!

I’m grateful for that path I’m walking…the same path I have walked for many years…but different…

…for that I’m grateful!

This entry was posted on May 12, 2014. 4 Comments

The days after….

It’s like I’m walking on egg shells…and I am. Because I know I have this Chemo solution in me, and I have no idea how my body is going to react…so I’m walking around feeling my feelings…in a way…

As soon as we got home from “My first chemo day” I was exhausted! Maybe it was my mind playing a game, but I felt nauseous…does it go that fast? What do I know? So, I opened my first prescription drug for Nausea/vomiting and swallowed my first pill…more “egg. shell. walking”. How will my body react? It’s not ME anymore…it’s “an alien in my body”.

Or, maybe “the alien” is the cancer, and the chemo is the”cleanup crew”. Well, the cleanup crew is using extremely strong chemicals. That’s for sure! “Tree huggers” (excuse my generalization of people…no pun intended) would never approve of this cleaning material…

Do I have a choice? Of course I have a choice. We all have a choice in whatever we do. Seriously. My choice is to follow the traditional treatment. My choice.  I could have chosen Alternative Cancer Treatments (and I admire people who are brave enough to do this) but it’s not for me.

I went to bed early that night, and what bothered me more than anything, was the Port that was put in the day before my treatment…I could not turn over in bed. Had to sleep on my back…with two dogs glued to my side.

24 hours after the Chemo, I had to be back at Cleveland Clinic to get an injection to boost my white blood cells. It’s supposed to stimulate the growth of healthy white blood cells in the bone marrow. The side effects could be:  Pain (bone pain), fever, chills, sore throat (like you’re getting the flu), shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, rashes.  I can’t remember how long it took before I started feeling pain in my sternum or chest bone. First I thought it was the Port (again) that was healing…but it was like a deeper pain in the whole chest…rib cage and all…I could not bend forward because of the discomfort, not take deep breaths, and (again) I was doomed to sleep on my back! It’s not easy to accept that, when you are a “side sleeper”!

The nausea really kicked in by the second day…I really (really) realized how important it was to eat every 3 hours. Constantly keep something in my stomach! But how much fun is it to eat when you are nauseous? I had already loaded up with ‘easy fixes’ like yogurt, rice pudding, Mac Cheese etc.

 “What would you like to eat today dear Alien and Cleanup Crew? Something I, (the owner of this body), can keep down, or something the “cleanup crew” is going to throw back up and out?”

In all seriousness – I didn’t vomit. Woohoo! But it was close! I took a pill as soon as I felt really nauseous…I have them for a reason! But they are heavy, duty, white piece of PILL! About 2 hours after popping one of those, I get dizzy, a little woozy…not really connected to planet earth…”Lala Land!”

By Tuesday, 4 days after Chemo, I started feeling like ME again. Thank God I GET TO BE ME for a week before the next treatment! Life is good!

Much Love!

Filippa

PS. I have to mention that I received probably 8 messages, in one shape or another, suggesting me to smoke pot during this time…I just have to “wink”! Thanks Guys ;o)

 

This entry was posted on May 8, 2014. 2 Comments