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Successful trip to Chicago

August 23, 2007

Pretty long day yesterday. I flew into Chicago in the morning. Got into town around 11:00 Chicago time. Emily picked me up. Treatment went well. I also saw the nutritionist for the remaining half hour of our initial appointment, and had an appointment with Mary the massage therapist. Not the most fun massage…. There is a lot of scar tissue in the breast where it was cut. Not as much under the arm. Mary does massage to break up the scar tissue. As I said, not much fun. It is pretty hard to do it myself as it is painful, so I am very glad that she is good at it and willing to work directly on the breast.

Had a chance to talk to Dr. Ayre about my hair. He was very sympathetic and I know he does not like it when this happens. In almost all cases it does not. He said that some people are very sensitive to the drugs, even at reduced doses and with nutritional protection of healthy cells. Anyone who really knows me knows that I am very sensitive to drugs. Dr. Ayre told me when I asked, that most people lost about half the hair and still can manage a style though it is thin. I am in the process of deciding what to do. I lost a lot yesterday in the shower. I don’t want to look mangy, and I am due for a haircut now anyway. The big questions are how radical…who should do it….and what should I wear on my head, if anything. (I could go for the Sinead O’Connor look…just kidding, Mom…maybe!)

The best part of this discussion with Dr. Ayre was that he acknowledged how devastating it is, especially for women, to lose their hair. Most people, bless their hearts, say very unhelpful things like “oh if this is the worst thing that happens it is not so bad”. This is so not helpful. I say, you try standing in the shower with two handfuls of hair in your hands and more on the way, feeling more of your scalp than ever before, and tell me that you would want someone to invalidate your feelings about it. Even women who have lost their hair have said this, and I think that is because no one was thoughtful in validating their feelings about it either. It is a very big deal. Add to that the new scars and deformed or artificial breasts (if reconstructed) and just generally not feeling good . Maybe you get the picture….Sometimes the best thing to say is “Oh I’m so sorry honey”.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rich permalink
    August 23, 2007 10:10 am

    Judie always went radical and wore a smorgasborg of hats. Although the Sinead look could work.

  2. Liz permalink*
    August 23, 2007 11:10 am

    I’ll have to post the pictures!

  3. Scott permalink
    August 23, 2007 6:47 pm


    I have to say the last paragraph you just wrote is really well written and touching. It must perfectly capture your feelings because it rings so true.

    And I am sorry. 😦

  4. MOM permalink
    August 23, 2007 6:57 pm

    I think the Sinead look might be spectacular–Damn the torpedos!!!

    Any journal I have read by women facing hair loss say exactly what you are saying–It is devastating–But your eyes and beautiful smile are still there and your hair will come back richer than ever.

    And, above all, “Oh, I’m so sorry, honey!”

  5. Liz permalink*
    August 24, 2007 9:41 am

    Scott and Mom,
    Thanks for your support and I’m glad that my writing is clear. I’m still considering options and waiting to see if it stops. I think Damn the torpedos is the new motto! Thanks, Mom

  6. Karen Cain permalink
    August 24, 2007 1:24 pm

    Liz, “I’m so sorry, Honey”. I wish I could go with you, as your companion. I’m having my own issues at home with Roy. Today is his birthday and he slept all the way through last night. The first in a very long time. Duane and I both woke up wondering?!! We were all smiles when we came into his presence and sang Happy Birthday and thanks for sleeping through! He’s had so much pain and agony over constipation; and we have been given several new suggestions to help that will be useful. We offer our prayers and “sufferings” for your intentions. Love, Karen

  7. August 24, 2007 8:06 pm

    First: Oh, I am so sorry about your hair. Really.

    That being said, I would go for the shaved head. Must we call it the Sinead O’Connor look? Why not the Charles Barkley look? Or the “Liz is getting better” look?

  8. Bill E permalink
    August 25, 2007 5:53 pm

    I’m torn about what to say. I’m not in your shoes so for now will hold some of my initial thoughts.

    I remember my rage and long term saddnes at Helen’s mother for not acknowledging or even beginning to do battle when she faced the same enemy. She quit at the gate.

    I am so proud of you for taking on this battle and sharing it with all of us the way you are. No, I’m not in your shoes. But I want you to know, I want you to keep doing battle. We love you no matter your state.

    Though I don’t comment each time I’m on line, I am doing my best to keep up with your progress.

    In His Love, Bill

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