A Waiting Game

It seems to me that cancer is a waiting game. I wait for a diagnosis; I wait for treatment; I wait to see what the side effects are going to be; I wait to see if the treatment is going to work. And the waiting part is wearing. And so are the side effects. I’ve been having weird, transient, stabbing twinges today. That isn’t on the list of side effects anywhere. So I’m not sure if it’s from the chemo or not. It’s not really pain. So I guess I’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Today my hair started falling out. And even though I knew it was going to happen, it was a shock. All I did was run my hands through my hair, just like I usually do a lot during the day, and there was a lot of hair in my hand. My hair has never been thick, or full, but fine and thin. But the thought of having no hair at all is a little depressing. I tell myself I will save money on cuts and color, on shampoo and conditioner, and feel I’m lucky this is going into winter so wearing a wig won’t be so unbearably hot; but it really doesn’t help. I’m not a vain person – I can go all day without looking in the mirror – but I hate the thought of being bald. On the other hand, maybe I’ll like it and keep my head shaved. No, I don’t think so.

8 thoughts on “A Waiting Game

  1. saundragoodman says:

    I think your twinges are caused by, wait for it, “waiting.” Could be stress. I didn’t know your hair would begin falling out this soon. I’m so sorry. It seems soon after only two treatments. Start exploring scarves and wigs: short, long, blonde, brunette, redhead. It’s happened to everyone I know whose gone through the treatments. Hugs!

  2. Thank you, Saundra! It’s the 2nd combination that’s affecting my hair; the first one didn’t. I have hats and scarves, and I might have a plan for a fun wig. Stay tuned!

  3. I agree with Saundra, Ruth. See what you can do to experiment with wigs and scarves. Around here, one of our most popular TV news commentators dealt with chemo and its effects. Besides the news, she’s had a half hour live show for about 30 years, during which she interviews regional folks about things they are doing, features local chefs cooking on TV and just generally educates folks in a fun, approachable way. When she knew she was going to have to start wearing scarves and wigs, she did a segment about it, modeled a half dozen wigs on air, and talking with a wig shop owner, as well as some sort of therapist, who talked about the importance of self care during this time of “interminable waiting” that you discussed. It seems that I recall there are cancer support organizations who do things to make life easier, like making wigs affordable. I hope you can find some of those support organizations in your part of the world, Ruth!

  4. Thank you, Anne. Yes, there are organizations – I think there’s one that loans out wigs, too. My dear friend, Jenna, who does my hair and nails, has some suggestions, too. So I think I’ll be okay.

  5. Are you taking chemotherapy or what is this drug?
    Just wondering.

    Each type of cancer is different. My father who has prostate cancer (and is 84) is at medium advanced state of cancer. He was diagnosed 4 yrs. ago. He doesn’t take chemo at this point..it will be quite intense and will compromise his immune system.

    He is on a trial drug which is merely to control spread of tumours…but with whatever drug he is on, the drugs are bone-depriving, they weaken the bones.

    Your gracious presence and comments on boomerwomenspeak is appreciated and hope you will still occasionally visit there.

  6. Yes, Jean, it’s chemotherapy. It’s a combination of 2 drugs given intravenously over several hours. My cancer is quite advanced – Stage 4, which means it has already spread. I have tumors in both lungs and in my liver. The first combination of chemo was really difficult for my physically, so they’re trying a different combination this time – tomorrow will be my 2nd treatment. But the blood markers for tumors shows a 50% reduction, so I am cautiously optimistic.

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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