Monday, June 21, 2010

#195: Hey, He Ain't Got No Hair!

Out of the mouths of babes. Today after radiation I had a brainstorm. You don't need to chew pancakes. Mrs P and I made our way to the IHOP and breakfast was a smashing success. Besides the blueberry stack now sitting merrily in my belly, I got to smell fresh, crisp bacon for a while before passing it to my bride who is always willing to help out when there is a bacon surplus problem.

During the meal, a tiny voice piped up in the booth behind us. I love listening to children talking in restaurants, but this one almost made me sneeze milk through my tender, irradiated nose. "Hey, he ain't got no hair!" she cried, delighted at her discovery. Her grown up companions immediately began to shush her in that embarrassed way parents have when what they really want to do is laugh their butts off. Then the kicker. "I want to eat his ears."

By this point, it was all Mrs P could do to stay upright in her seat. After an appropriate pause, I whispered, "I'm sure she isn't talking about me." Mrs P prairie-dogged up out of the booth for a quick scan around the restaurant. "Nope," she said, her face red and tears of laughter streaming, "I'm gonna have to disagree." Apparently, mine was the only bald head within view. It was pretty clear that somebody in our section was either a chemo patient or a neo-Nazi. I'm guessing the parents were relieved that I had no tattoos.

So yeah, I'm bald now. I decided not to wait for the medicine to do its evil on me. And I was getting a little neurotic about grabbing little fingerfuls of hair to see if it was coming out yet. It's much, much cooler in the Kentucky heat, and all my hats fit better, too.

I knew him, Horatio.
It started out as a beard trim. The treatments have stopped my hair from growing, and my mustache in particular had stopped in a really prickly place. It was irritating my lips. I started getting this nasty crusty stuff around my mouth and I really don't need to be discouraging anyone who feels inclined to kiss me right now. So yes, I started out to trim my mustache and wound up shaving my head. I never was much of a one for moderation. In a way, I feel a little phony. I haven't really "earned" my chemo stripes yet. Your hair doesn't fall out after one treatment. On the other hand, it does make me feel more like a warrior. I'm fighting for my life, and I want this cancer to know I'm serious about it..

Besides, I look much younger without all that grey hair. And you must admit, I have a great looking head. Better than this guy, anyway. And check out the scar on my neck. Tell me that isn't a sure fire chick magnet. All I need is a bolt sticking out.




  1. Friends gooood....

  2. I missed a few days and was happy to catch up by reading about your newly bald head and the 4-part story. Isn't history grand?

    If you would, prayers requested for my hubby. John is in the hospital now. I took him in about 10pm last night. The guy is amazing. He hasn't been his chipper self for a while but he still insists on taking our son to work, picking him up, taking him to improv practice and back again. He prefers to do the shopping and wash the dishes. He feeds our dog, Wesley and delights in the routine they have together.

    He started getting a pain under his left rib yesterday morning. It progressed through the day from a small dull ache like a muscle had been punched to a much larger area that brought about his need to stop and lean over the table. He has a high pain threshold so I convinced him to let me drive to the local hospital.

    He had x-rays and a myriad of blood tests. Since his blood test last Thursday where his blood count was the following: red blood cells at 44K (normal is 150-250K) and white blood cells at 1200 (normal is 10-12K) he managed to reduce everything. Red blood cells now at 33K and white at 300 ...... which the doctor said is like not having any at all. He also told us that usually the end of the second week after the chemo treatments have finished there is tendency to "crash" so I guess that is where we are.

    John is now filling up on a broad spectrum antibiotic until they learn which bacteria it is and can adjust the meds. He is back in the same hospital and is already bored out of his skull. He is bummed because he and our son were supposed to go fishing for the day this coming Sunday. This was going to be their bonding time. Their time that John could share fatherly advice because he realizes that he doesn't have all the time in the world. He wanted this because his son is suffering his own physical problems and is grieving already for a dad that he won't have for long.

    Me, I keep the calm and peaceful face most of the time. I have my moments where I cry in the car or when I am alone in my room after Paul is at work. My goal is to keep my husband and son eating very healthy food and trying to help them get a few hours of sleep each day.

    I feel a great rush to finish things that have been put off. I hate the house we once all loved and can't wait to get rid of it. John wants to try and hold out for another year in case we might make more money. Me, I just want out from under. I want my family reunited instead of split up 1700 miles apart. I want John to just finish this special book that we got for our only grandchild's first birthday. I have been pestering him for two months to read the entire story to Joshua and it records his voice. I so desperately want that special recording done so that our grandbaby can at least know his grandpa's voice. I want him to finish the dang taxes that were due April 15th.

    John asked me last week if I could look into getting some term insurance on him so that at least I would have something to help cushion the financial crisis that is coming our way. I gently reminded him that he has had four cancer surgeries/treatments in the past 2 1/2 years and no one will cover him. Too bad that he didn't listen those years I asked about it when he was in good health.

    So, I am feeling a little down-in-the-dumps and sorry for myself which does seem rather selfish. Here I have a husband that loves me so much and our five kiddos and I am just worried about how to handle everything when he passes. Damn those cigarettes.


  3. Oh, Robyn, my heart is broken for you and your family. We have it so easy by comparison. I wish I had some magic words for you, but you know better than that. Please do know that you and John and Paul are all in our prayers and in my heart. It is inconceivable to me that Paul does not feel his father's love. He will carry that with him for the rest of his life, as will you.

    I know what you mean about taxes. Ours are not done either. I made a pretty expensive mistake on the '08 version, so we're using a CPA this time, if only I can get the records together.

    Just don't be afraid to grieve with John. We weep together all the time, though usually we are blessed to be able to take turns being the holder, if that makes sense. You should feel sorry for yourself. You are in the midst of a huge loss, one that makes no sense and is not fair. This too is part of raising your children - teaching them what it is to lose.

    Please know how much we love and care for you. God will not cease hearing your name as long as I have breath to pray.



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