zen.org Communal Weblog

March 29, 2011

Chemo is true to its reputation

Filed under: — brendan @ 16:23 IST

I took a shower today, and  you wouldn’t believe the amount of hair that fled for the freedom of the drain.  The hair on my head has thinned out a bit from the pic that E sent, as has the beard.  I wonder how it’ll look in a few days?  I was warned from the outset that hair loss because of chemotherapy is an unavoidable reality, but until it actually starts to happen, you think there’s some sort of an exception to the rule.

It seems to focus more on the head’s hair follicles (and those of facial hair), compared to arms or other parts of the body.  I could be full of it—I’ve not done any research, and am basing this solely on what I’ve seen happen thus far.  The idea of having bare arms is a little weird, but that hair has been a lot less eager to run compared to my head.

Elana and I picked a pattern for a hat for me to wear when I’m able to be out of the hospital. It’s in her queue on Ravelry.  I think the more strange experience is going to be probably not having a beard for the first time since I was 18.  Coupled with my own perpsective will be the reaction of people who know me, since they too have never seen my face without the beard that’s always been part of it.  I know this will all grow back, eventually; it’s still going to introduce some very different experiences in the interim.

Snacks are now mandatory

This morning my weight was measured at 80.1kg (about 177 lbs), which is a bit of a continued drop.  Even though I ate all of my lunch and dinner yesterday.  Go figure.  I’ll try to keep eating my normal meals, and snack where possible.  If I can get myself to do the physio exercises every day (yesterday’s drain from the eye stuff kind of ruled that out), my hope is the muscle development will make up for some of it.  As opposed to just eating lots of food and hoping it just adds to the numbers somehow.

White Cells (with attribution to Grandmaster Mele Mel)

The full complement of my doctor and her team came by this afternoon.  She’s still happy with my general state of good health, and said now it’s all about thinking “white cells.”  The numbers haven’t moved yet.  She wants to see some change over the next couple of days, at least, before they consider taking the Growth Stimulation approach.  She said that’s mainly because the growth approach can just add process compilacions; I could go home earlier (temptation!) but it would complicate other things like my followup bone marrow sampling and other things.

So here’s to the white cell count going up naturally this week.  “It’s only Tuesday,” they said, and want to see what can happen this week.  E and I were talking about figuring out a usable form of yoga which would solicit white cell production.  This is a funny contrast to my asking the doctor about what if anything I could do which would make a difference; she said neither I nor they could kick it into gear yet, and we just need to wait and see for a few more days.

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