My hair continues to fall out, but until today it was pretty much only the grey falling out which prompted my wife to mimic a t.v. advert: “Too much grey hair? Get rid of it now! Wash it out with Chemotherapy!!” It’s good to keep a sense of humourous perspective on cancer I find and my wife’s comment had us both chuckling. Is it worth adding “But WAIT!! Apply now and have two infusions for the price of one!”
On the second day after my last infusion the chemo really kicked my ass. I mean big-time kick. Think Johnny Wilkinson winning the world cup. A really important kick. My infusion was last Tuesday. Wednesday was OK but from Thursday onwards I just haven’t really known much about what’s happening. I’ve lain in bed and not known whether I’ve been asleep or awake the whole time. I looked at something and realised after some indefinite amount of time that my eyes were just where I’d left them. Walking up or downstairs was a one hand on the rail and only move up one step at a time with both feet on the step. I felt like one of those poseable toys at times. I remember that one day I tried to open a Tupperware container but couldn’t work out how to do it! My wife just gave me one of her “I love this man so much” smiles and quietly took over the task. I’ve seen that smile a lot these past few days. I sit there and become aware that I’m being watched, and as I look up I see the love in my wife’s eyes: sometimes it doesn’t take any words at all to make the world feel a better place. In and amongst the zoned out feelings I’ve had has been a low-level back pain which I guess is from my bones being forced to produce white blood cells for me. On Saturday my throat started to hurt and feel swollen but I remembered that feeling from my first infusion so I just ate some lozenges and that seemed to make a big difference. Overnight my throat got worse and began to feel like tonsillitis and Sunday passed in the vague zoned out feelings plus cold sweats which may or may not have been to do with the cancer, my throat, or the heat and humidity of Florida. Regardless of which of these was the cause I eventually took my temperature which turned out to be a little high at 99.3. Dr Tache had said that if I got a raised temperature of 100.5 then I should go straight to hospital, so, being aware that my temperature could go higher or lower I had a chat with my wife so that we could make preparations to get me to a hospital quickly if things worsened. I started taking my temperature every half hour and it varied between 98.6 and 99.8. I went to bed around midnight and was happy to be able to reassure my wife that it looked as though we’d seen the worst of it as my temperature was back down to 99.1. I woke about an hour later and checked my temperature again, just for confirmation you understand as I had no chills, no sweats or anything like that. I was amazed. The reading stood at 100.3! Perhaps I was going to be going to hospital after all. I thought I’d check the temperature again just to be sure, though why I would expect a different reading I really didn’t know. This time the reading was exactly 100. Good news eh? My temperature was coming down and coming down fast!
This morning my temperature has usually been around the 98.6 mark and my sore throat has gone, so, hopefully whatever the infection was has been defeated. My neck is now a little sore around the site of the lymphoma but I presume this is due to the kicking the chemotherapy is giving the cancer.
So, to end where I began. Hair loss. I don’t really know how I imagined the hair loss would work, but, at the moment, it seems to be working on a sort of speeded up natural model revealing the pattern of baldness I could/can expect later in life. Losing my hair like this isn’t the emotional experience for me that I understand it is for some people, but that’s not to say there haven’t been some scary moments from it. Having a shower and bringing my hands away from my hair and onto my face left me with what felt like a suffocating mat of hair over my eyes, nose and mouth. Panic was there for a moment. Turning my head on my pillow and finding myself breathing in my own hair is also a scary thing the first few times it happens. Maybe I should just shave it off and have done, but that would somehow feel artificial.