Not By The Hair Of My Chinny-Chin-Chin!

I have suffered my second visible casualty in my war against cancer. Besides my really cool scar, I have now lost all the hair on my chin, and the rest of my facial hair is starting to fall out as well.

Two night ago, as we were lying in bed, Carey looked at my t-shirt and said, “Your whiskers are falling out!” Sure enough, a bunch of my chin hair was on my chest. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom mirror, aghast to see a bald patch on the left side of my chin. As I reached up to touch the bald patch, more hair fell out. I had only to touch them and they came loose in my hand.

So, reluctantly, I pulled out my razor and shaved my chin. For the first time in over a decade, I have no hair on my chin. I did manage to save my soul patch, though. Still, if you look at the picture below you’ll see that even my mustache is thinning and soon I’ll have to shave it off as well.

This is probably not from the chemotherapy. This area gets daily bombardment by radiation. This hair loss is radiation-induced.

I knew this was coming, but it’s still difficult to grasp emotionally. Here, have a look for yourself:

What else has been going on with me? I’m on short-term disability and hating every second of it. I miss my job, my co-workers, and the friends I work with. Everyone tells me, “write that book” or “find a hobby” but it’s damed hard when your treatments fatigue you so greatly and when your daily regiment takes up so much of your time. Ah well – this is only temporary – but I’m still stir crazy. ๐Ÿ™‚

My second round of chemotherapy is tomorrow and I am terrified. I have more drugs now to help me through, but it will still be a very difficult and trying time. This next week will be a bad one for me I’m afraid.

I have completely lost all sense of taste (pun not intended). Eating is no longer pleasurable – in fact things that used to taste good now taste like ashes in my mouth. It has become a chore to make myself eat. Even water has a funny “taste” to it now – almost sickening. I force myself to have 8 glasses a day, but it’s hard.

I had a fungal infection in my mouth last week – a result of having no saliva. It caused me acute and intense pain in my throat for days until the medicine kicked in and got rid of it. I now have a radiation-induced sore on my lip that hurts like hell. My throat still hurts, but my daily regiment, detailed in my last blog post, helps mitigate the pain and morbidity.

It’s no wonder I have begun to seriously drop weight. I now weigh 179 pounds. A month ago I was 194 pounds. And that can be bad – if I lose too much weight my “radiation mask” won’t fit and we’ll have to go back to square one and refit me and replan the treatments.

Strangely enough, I feel more alive now than ever before. I am happy. I am concerned about the future – being out of work is scary, especially when such significant changes are happening at the office and I’m not there to be a part of them and to help the company move forward. So I have some anxiety there.

I am also anxious about how these treatments are affecting my children. They are troopers, but I know it’s hard on them as well. I wish I could spare them this. I fear they have lost some of their innocence as they watch me go through this.

Carey is, as always, my angel. I love her so much. We’re having our first Christmas together and we’re so excited. Without her this would have been near impossible to bear.

So I have my anxieties – but I am also happy. I am very much in the Christmas spirit this year. I am alive, halfway through my treatments, responding well, in love with an amazing woman, and have a wonderful family. What’s not to be happy about?

Yep – you heard me right. I am halfway through my treatments. I have 4 more weeks of radiation and 2 more chemo sessions. By end of January I should be done, healed, and ready to face the world again – the new me emerges. ๐Ÿ™‚

So that’s my update. I’m tired (again) – so I’m outta here.


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