Today marks two weeks from my chemo treatment, and starts the countdown for the next one. I was feeling really, really great this past week--I wasn't sick, I wasn't more tired than usual, I didn't have any weird "chemo brain" incidents--everything was going really well until I got up and took a shower yesterday.
I lost a gob of hair in the shower. I'm used to having my fingers filled with hair when I wash it, but that was when I had long, flowy locks and plenty of hair to spare. Now, I've been reminded that my days are numbered. Every strand is a painful reality check of what is to come. I am not ready. I wasn't prepared. They told me that the hair loss started at the second treatment, and I still have a week left! I needed that full week. Needed it.
I had a small breakdown in the shower. I'm having a small breakdown now.
I took a picture of the hair that I lost in just my comb yesterday.
The problem, of course, is more than just losing your hair. Sure, you lose your hair and you're bald, and you're reassured that the hair will grow back. Losing my hair, while traumatic, is not the worst part of the process (I don't think...). I think growing it back, and the many awkward phases you have to go through before you have a normal amount of hair back on your head is going to be much worse.
Another blow to my psyche? The fact that I turn 29 next week on top of it all. Everything that I've looked at, every blog that I've read, every photo I have seen shows a full 13-18 months of regrowth before you have a normal head of hair. By my calculations, that puts me well past my 30th birthday before I can even fathom feeling normal again.
This slays me.
The idea of even going on a date with someone at this point fills me with anxiety because I don't trust myself not to tell said dude that, "Oh, by the way, I'll likely be bald in a week," or to play the cancer card. I have every intention of going on a dating hiatus during this whole process because well, to be honest, my already limited amount of date requests are going to decrease when I'm walking around looking like a cancer patient.
These are the hard realities of life. And of the dating world.
I had a the sharp realization that there is absolutely and definitely no chance--zero, zilch, nada--that I will be married before the time I'm 30. Which in the grand scheme of things, is probably just fine. But in my mind, frankly, it's utterly catastrophic. I mean, to be honest, lowering my chances from maybe 5% to 0% isn't that big of a difference. The 5% being if I were in full health and had my coveted mermaid hair, I might meet someone and fall and love and commit to said person and determine to marry. But there was still a chance. There was still hope.
President Uchtdorf said, "Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence--when this desire of our heart is delayed--can make "the heart sick". And that's sort of where I'm at. I'm feeling heartsick.
I'm looking at the calendar and realizing that I have months of crap, months of recovery, and months of feeling like garbage ahead of me. And my normal, optimistic self is cowering in a corner and not doing much to help me forge ahead--except reminding me, that at least, I feel fine for the moment. At least I am not sick.
I read others' blogs, and have oftentimes read someone saying that losing their hair was a hard, but overall do-able thing, because it was a result of a drug that saved their life. I, on the other hand, am beginning to wonder if going through all of this is even worth it. Perhaps I should take my chances, and transfer my hopes of not losing my hair and my own romantic journey to hoping that there are no cancer cells in my body and that the tumor won't come back.