About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Head games

My head is driving me nuts. In more ways than one.

Let's start on the outside. The hair has stopped falling out. The hairs that are left have decided to stay for awhile and flourish. I've also got itchy bumps all over my scalp. I don't know if it is a side effect from the chemo, or if it is related to the hair falling out, or if I just have a pimply head. Gross. In any event, it itches and is irritating. Kaiser gave me a resource booklet with a recipe for "itchy scalp" paste, which is basically just a baking soda paste. You mix baking soda and water until its the consistency of a brownie mix, put it on your head, and let it be anywhere from 5 to 120 minutes. It feels really good while its on. The hairs that are left have decided to grow like crazy, too. It's really weird. I took a pair of clippers to them yesterday just to tame them a bit. (Don't worry Sheila, I didn't press hard to mess up the follicle. I just lightly trimmed them without even touching the scalp much!)

It's ridiculous. I wish they would just fall out and be gone.

On the inside, I'm finding myself very impatient and annoyed. When I look at the calendar, that's not a huge surprise. I was supposed to start my period 5 days ago. I've been pretty irregular since my diagnosis, probably due to stress. Now throw chemo in the mix, and my hormones are totally out of whack. Chemo is very likely to put me into menopause, so I don't even know if I will have another period. But I've definitely noticed hormonal mood swings. I never was one to have many of them, but I've got 'em now!

Poor Jean-Marc. He just had to turn two while I'm going through all of this. He's doing what every two year old does...challenges his primary caregiver. He doesn't like the word "NO" and has perfected the art of Chinese water torture: drip; drip; drip. If he wants something, he will incessantly bug me over and over and over until I relent. But I can't do that, otherwise, he learns that is the way to get stuff. It is over the top--this morning, he wanted ice cream at breakfast! He asked me "i-seem? i-seem?" When Eric walked in, he said "Glass..glass?" ("Glace" is ice cream in French) You can imagine what that does for my frame of mind. Can you say...insanity??? I love him to pieces, but right now he is kind of difficult for me to be around. Mom took him for a grandma day today, which blessed both Jean-Marc and me.

It has been an insanely busy week as well. It's part of that time of the year, I suppose, with back to school stuff. Not to mention the kids activities. We've had stuff going on every night this week, which has really messed up family dinners. Most nights, everyone has been on their own to scrounge leftovers. I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend. Except for Sunday afternoon, when Olivier has to go sell boy scout popcorn in front of Albertsons! At least that is something Eric is going to take him on.

One of the fruits of the spirit is long suffering. God is definitely developing that in me right now!

I'm feeling okay physically. I've had some feelings of dizziness. Yesterday it was when I would be squatting down and then getting up. Jean-Marc and I went to a fun mommy and me class and I had a few times when I had to take a few deep breaths. It would have been something for the lady with the scarf on her head to hit the floor! I went to the gym today, mindful of the dizziness. I did 35 minutes on the elliptical and about 30 minutes on the recumbent bike. Before I stretched out, I tried doing some push ups. Before my surgery, I was able to do nearly 100 push ups during the course of a Jillian workout. Today, it was hard to do 2 sets of 10. But I did them!

My prayer requests:
  • That the remaining hair fall out and that these sores go away. I've come to terms with being bald. Now I just want to get there. (Gee...sounds impatient, doesn't it?)
  • That I be able to be more patient with myself and everyone around me. That my hormones find some kind of balance so I don't flip out on stupid minor stuff. For example, I got all mad at Eric yesterday because he didn't want raw cabbage in his salad at lunch! What was that all about??
  • That the chemotherapy do what it is supposed to do and kill any nasty cancer cells that are trying to replicate.
  • That Jean-Marc's runny nose stop. I don't know if its allergies or a cold. I'm not catching it, and my white blood cell count is supposed to be low right now. So it may be allergies. Regardless, he's got a runny nose and its gross, not to mention it bugs him too and makes him uncomfortable.
  • That everyone in my family stay healthy so I can recover from the last round of chemo and move forward.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be alarmed that throughout treatment you will find hair regrowth occurring - usually very sparsely, but it will happen. I had stubble between treatments and I just kept shaving it off. I asked my doc a couple of times if I should be worried that it wasn't working and he showed me my bloodwork numbers and pointed at my arms and legs where all the hair had disappeared and then I stopped worrying about that but the stubble on the head was not comfortable - itchy and icky feeling - so I just shaved it every week to keep it smooth (electric razor kept me from having any cuts/scrapes etc.) xoxo