Saturday, February 26, 2011

Maliaphobia (Fear of Wigs)

We almost always go to the same grocery store near our house so I have rapport with most of the check-out staff. A lot of times if we’re just running to the grocery store I’ll throw a hat on. But we had been performing some other errands prior to going to the store, so I was wearing the new wig.

The girl at the checkout kept looking at me and finally she asked me “Is your hair different?” I smiled and responded “Yes, it is very different.” She said “I can’t remember what your hair looked like before, but wasn’t it shorter?” This has happened before. Not the exact conversation, but twice a situation has occurred in which I had to decide whether to go with it and just pretend it was my hair, or fess up and tell the person it’s a wig. I ended up spilling the beans and just briefly told her that I’m receiving chemo and that it was a wig. She was uncomfortable for a moment, and I felt bad to put her in that situation. But she was very nice about it and mentioned that her aunt had recently gone through chemo and wore a wig, and that her Aunt sometimes still wears it to save time. After that we had a short conversation and both joked about it. I said it definitely saves me time in the morning, and she said she’d love to be able to get highlights that looked like my wig.

I still struggle with how much to share with people. Often I feel like I overshare. I forget that other people aren’t necessarily as comfortable about the situation. There are people I interact with that have a hard time looking at me with the wig on, and really never bring the “cancer” thing up. They just carry on as if everything is normal. I can completely understand that reaction and in no way hold it against anyone. People who know me well usually start by joking about and/or acknowledging the wig and then ask me how I’m doing. I also hear a lot of stories about friends and relatives with cancer. Note to all: I love to hear the survivor stories. They are inspiring. But please don’t mention the stories of those who lost their fight. At least not until I’ve kicked this thing completely.

Yesterday, I was walking through the office and saw a co-worker’s wife who was there for a TGIF (Happy Hour) that was being held. She mentioned that she has been reading my blog and asked about how I was doing. I was so surprised (in a good way) that her husband had gone home and told her about my situation and my blog, and was very touched that she was keeping up with my progress.

I am dragging today. I am finding that right around day 15 or 16 of the 21-day chemo cycle I always get really tired. It’s that tired you feel when you’re just starting to get a bug or the flu. You’re not really sick yet, but you are achy and just really want to rest. For some reason it catches me off guard nearly every time. I always think that late in the cycle I should be feeling better. My theory is that the white blood cell booster shot I receive just after chemotherapy probably wears off about this time, and my body has to start generating white blood cells on its own which takes additionally energy.

So I’m off to relax. I plan to eat a Cadbury egg, watch a little television, and then sleep for an insanely long period of time.

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