My cancer saga started when I was diagnosed at 38 with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have a twisted sense of humor and have tried to continue that laughter and optimism on my journey...

Make me over Mommy!

Episode X: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow




So we had a day off! A day in between appointments and some time to kill. My mom and I decided to do some Cancer prep-n-shop. We got ourselves ready and out the door we went.


Nail Salon

We both decided to have a pedicure, but I was also spoiled with a manicure. With all the information on the Internet, I opted for my nails to be cut short and clear coated. No frills, no fuss, just the simplest low maintenance style possible. I figured I would have enough to deal with that my nails were going to be a bother.

My mom and I sat down in the cushy massage chairs and stuck our feet in the hot water waiting our turn for pampering. We chilled out and took in the relaxation of the event. Wish I had taken a picture, because I am a very, very low-maintenance kind of girl...


Specialty Shop

Time for some Cancer head-wear shopping. We found a little boutique in town run by Breast Cancer Survivors and went in to check it out. The store was smaller than I anticipated and the women friendly. They were all survivors and had opinions and information to share.

My mom purchased some Brian Josephs - Lash & Brow Conditioning Gel for me to try. It was suppose to prevent the eyelashes and eyebrows from falling out due to chemo. I have no idea if it works or not, but it would be cool if my eyelashes and eyebrows stayed on my face. We thought it was at least worth a shot.


Hope it works... will find out soon enough.


Then I got my head measured. I always thought I had a large head, but it turned out I was average. Average... I was disappointed. Who wants to be average? However, at least I had an idea of what size head gear I should buy or shop for.

We started with wigs. I have not fully decided on if I wanted a wig or not. It seems like work, even if it was minimal work. I don't take good care of my own hair, would I tend to a wig? However, I liked the idea of different colors and styles - like I could change up my look depending on my mood. I tried on a few, but was unsure about what I really want to do. I also wanted to check if my insurance covered any of the cost before purchasing one, because they are not cheap.

Me being goofy trying on wigs - remember style not color...
What's that on your head? A Wig... Wig, B-52's song


Then I got to try on and purchase some hats and scarves. That was what I was really about. I got a sleep cap, a couple of basic hats, and a long pre-tied scarf. Now my mom had spoiled me with some head wear for when I lost my hair.

Some Good Online Resources for Chemo Hats:

Also, check out Good Wishes!!
Good Wishes

Good Wishes will send you one free scarf. 
Mine came beautifully packaged with a card signed by multiple
people wishing me luck with my treatment. I could not have been happier!


Hair Gone

Here had been the biggest question I had contemplated since I heard the doctor tell me I would definitely lose my hair, do I cut it off now or wait until it falls out?

I had always wanted long hair, but had fine slow-growing hair. After years of growing it out and cutting it from frustration, I had just gotten it a pretty good length. However, I knew somewhere in the next week or two it would be gone.

The decision and process was much easier than I anticipated. I thought I would cry over losing my hair. I really thought I would mourn and sulk about it. But, like everything else during the cancer process I have found when you find peace about your decision, the decision wasn't that bad. I did not want to wait and have a manged head. I wanted to have some control over the process. After trying on shorter wigs, I knew I could handle getting a shorter cut that would transition me into my future baldness.

Since I was only going to endure the hair cut a few weeks, I was not going to pay a lot for the haircut, so after lunch my mom and I went into the first walk-in salon around. Ours happened to be a Cuts by Us. I wanted to donate my hair to Locks of Love, so they needed to cut enough off.


    
Before & After picture of my hair.

My donation to Locks of Love


My hair, once cut, looked like a spotted leopard. The blond highlights had grown out and now looked oddly uneven. I knew I wasn't going to have the haircut for long, but I did have to do something about the color. I have had red hair in the past, so opted to color my hair red that evening with a cheap bottle of color. I forgot how blond hair absorbs red so intensely, so I ended up having to put brown color on too. But oh well, it was a short term hair-do anyway.


I am a ginger again... and with way shorter hair.


Of course the day would have been too easy if I had no appointments. So, during the day two new developments occurred.

First, the Breast Surgeon's office called. They needed a specific MRI to be done before treatment starts and ideally before the port. While they couldn't get me in before the port they did schedule an appointment on Monday evening for a MRI. They would not be able to use my port for the IV - really - another IV - come on. No breaks given with cancer!

Secondly, I needed to cancel a dental cleaning appointment since it was during my first chemo appointment. When I spoke with them they could only re-schedule me for right then, if I went over immediately. I did. Sore they plucked the plaque off and while my teeth were cleaned, they were now also sore.

My day off, turned out not to be completely off. It did require some appointment duties after all.

I may be tired, but I have clean teeth and am rockin' the new do...


In my head...


I love my kids for there crazy youthful attitudes through all of these things. My daughter had said originally that she would be unable to look at me if my hair fell out. After some time to ponder, she decided she just would need a lock of my hair to be alright. So, she was going to get a lock prior to mailing my hair to Locks of Love. My son was hoping that I would have a GI Jane hair cut and look all tough. I informed him that would be along soon enough.

In the end, not one person cared about my hair - they love me no matter what length, color, or any other ridiculous thing I might have thought important. They just want me well. Guess I should just focus on that!



"Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us." 
- Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice


Episode Reference: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow - Ramones song

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About Amy Brock

Amy Brock is a cancer fighter and survivor. Diagnosed with Infiltrating Breast Cancer at 38 she has gone through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and other procedures since 2013. Post treatment she has been diagnosed with lymphedema, chemo-induced neuropathy and bone degeneration in her back, as well as other issues including dysphagia, bilateral hearing loss, and arthritis. From being completely healthy, to having a variety of issues, Amy began blogging about her experiences as a way to help others. Read more about finding humor in the craziness of cancer at her blog www.tatawarrior.com Amy is the mother of two children and has worked for various non-profit agencies. In addition, she is a fine artist creating works in multiple mediums which can be seen at www.amybrock.com

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