Monday, September 29, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I took this photo on Friday, September 26th. On Saturday the 27th my hair started to come out. It was day 13 since the start of my Chemo so I was expecting it. Everything I heard and read said to expect the hair loss to begin 10-14 day after my first treatment. What I wasn't expecting was that it would take so long to come out. Despite diligent efforts on my part to "comb it out" with my fingers there's still a good bit left. Today I wore a turban to work for the first time though because what's left is so sparse and ugly. I took the photo below this morning. I'm going to need more headgear. I plan to stop at a local medical supply store and see what they have. The turban that I'm wearing today was a gift from the local Breast Cancer Awareness chapter. They gave me two turbans and sleeping cap. I really can't say enough good things about BCA and all the help and assistance that they offer.

The lumpectomy went very well. Little pain and no nausea from the anesthesia. I told every staffer who came in contact with me that general anesthesia makes me sick and they went out of their way to make sure that didn't happen this time. I had a pill, a shot and a patch. There was no staples or stitches, just steri-strips. All-in-all, the most pain free surgery and recovery I've ever had.

The pathology report was good and bad. The good news was that it hadn't spread to my lymph nodes. The sentinel node biopsy was clear. The margins were clear as well except that the tumor was very close to the surface of my breast. To get completely clear margins, the surgeon would have had to make a hole in my breast and she opted not to do that. Radiation will kill any cells that were left in that area.

The bad news was that it was triple negative. No positive cells were found. This means that the cancer has a higher chance of recurring and that it can recur in areas other than the breast. Triple negative cancers are also more aggresive and mine was rated grade three, which is the most aggressive.

I had my first chemo treatment on September 15th. They're giving me Adriamycin, Cytoxan, and Taxotere. It took 6 hours for all the meds to drip into my vein. I didn't get sick but had headaches and "chemo brain" for the first few days. Chemo brain is dizziness, disorintation and short term memory loss. I couldn't believe how it affected me! I was looking under the sink for clean spoons instead of in the dishwasher at one point. Scary stuff!

Next chemo - October 6th. One of my friends is taking me this time (hubby went last time) and she's a knitter too so we should have a great time. They told me that it should take an hour less this time because now that they know I'm not allergic to the meds they can let them drip in a little faster.

But the knitting goes on. I just can't knit lace or anything complicated that first week after chemo. I'm working on Eunny's Print O'the Wave stole and various socks right now.