Thursday, August 9, 2007

Please insert this where appropriate in "Once upon a time..."

As I talked to my mom this morning I realized I left out one of my favorite parts of my cancer story. So I'm inserting it here for your reading enjoyment.

And now, this important public service announcement...

Many of you have allowed yourselves to imagine the hair loss associated with chemo and have jealously realized that it probably also extends to one's legs and (dare we dream) under arms. Oh, how right you are! It is one of the few perks for the breast cancer patient. Mommy often complained that she couldn't be lucky enough to get a cancer that made her lose weight. Noooo! She had to get one that made her gain weight. So no longer needing to shave her legs and under arms not only seemed like a boon... it really seemed only fair.

Where your imagination may not have taken you, however, is somewhere in between a breast cancer patients legs and her under arms. Have you guessed yet? Yes. Mommy began losing all her pubic hair too. Daddy-O was not altogether unhappy with this development and Mommy was not altogether happy with the reaction from Daddy-O. She wasn't sure she like the thought of the father of her children enjoying her looking like a twelve year old. Hmmm. All in all, tho, it was very nice to be so neat and tidy with absolutely no effort on her part.

So Mommy would be going about her busy bald little home life, adjusting to her side effects as best she could. There was intermittent nausea, variations of constipation or diarrhea, rushing to the bathroom then peeing on her pants... Oh, wait. Not everyone does that? Well, Mommy did it constantly. She felt like a little boy learning to pee on the potty for the first time. She'd sit down to go... and the next thing she knew, her waistband was all wet or there was a large waterfall going over the bowl to the floor. She used to joke that she changed clothes and spent more time on her hands and knees cleaning the floors in the bathrooms than she ever had during potty training B.

Finally Mommy realized what the problem was. Apparently a little known fact about nether hair is that it is a great urine-flow director. Without those little curly gals down there to keep things in line Mommy had a stream gone wild! Well, at least once she figured it out she could adjust for damage control. Still, it was a long, damp, laundry-filled three weeks.

You can all stop giggling now. And if you're experiencing this yourself at least you now know you're not alone.


Kim said...

I am SO glad that you wrote this! I wondered about this when I was first diagnosed....I mean, it only made sense that hair loss meant the loss of all hair. But I couldn't really find anything that specifically talked about leg and pubic hair. Finally someone told me that it was all included. However, it is GOOD to have the peeing advice. At least I can prepare myself for it. Today at chemo a couple of women told me that it also includes nose hair loss, which leads to a chronically runny nose. So fun!

Imstell said...

Yep... it's everywhere, all right, nose & ears too. In fact, there is a very rare side effect (less than 1%)called Audio Toxification. I had it. Lucky me. Boy those low odds are just NOT my friend! I suspect it's from loosing the hair in your ears but the end result is feeling like everyone is mumbling all the time. I swear I was ready to throttle Daddy-O if he didn't start speaking up. It seamed to finally fade away once my hair came back in. Perhaps the lack of hairs in my ears made it harder for the sound to carry thru my ear canals.

The nose hair thing also makes it harder to fight off colds. And losing all your facial hair gives you a nice shiny "moon-pie" face. Note: loosing eyebrows and eyelashes is FAR, FAR WORSE than losing hair. It doesn't happen till the very end when you've been lulled into a false sense of security. Be prepared early with eyebrow pencil or fake eyelashes. It's hard to figure that stuff out once they're all gone.

ptesinge said...

Just found you. I am so loving this. :-) And you are right on about the pee-gone-crazy! i so remember that one!

looking forward to reading more!

By the way, some of my cancer friends and I wondered if missing hairs deep in our ears was the culprit for our extra sensitiveity to noise!?

best to you!