Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Well, it has been quite a day. Started about 3:00 this morning with Jackson waking me up with a fever. He's been running a little fever for a couple days and when he got me up at 3:00 it was 103.2 and he was not feeling at all well. So I got him up, gave him some Motrin and sat in the recliner watching infomercials for nearly an hour. He started to feel better, cooler to the touch, but didn't want to get back in his bed. He said, "The big bed." Which means my bed. He doesn't actually sleep when we let him in bed with us, just sort of talks and squirms and kicks us. So I was reluctant to let him come to bed with me. But given that it was almost 4am, I gave in. He wasn't too bad, a little kicky, a little talky. And I could tell he was sleepy so after a while I asked if he wanted in his own bed and he agreed. I did manage to go back to sleep, which is not always the case when he wakes me up at night. But 7:30 came really early and I did not want to get up.
Jackson woke up cranky and feverish and high maintenance. Juice must be in this cup, not that cup, I want the purple lid on it, not the green one. I am not very patient about that sort of thing. I know he just wants a little control in his life, especially when he isn't feeling well, but still. It drives me nuts to play the 'figure out what Jackson wants' game. So I gave him his juice and tried to doze on the couch while he watched Sesame Street.
The phone rang about 8:30ish. My Mom was calling to tell me that my Grandfather, her Dad, had passed on last night. This was not unexpected. He was on Hospice care at home, he was not suffering or even aware very much. Not unexpected, and a sort of a relief that he has gone peacefully, but still very sad. He was a good, loving, kind man, and he never passed up an opportunity to tell you he loved you. He will be very missed.
My Grandmother has been caring for him for nearly seven years, since he had a stroke. And now she will have some measure of freedom; freedom to go to church any day of the week she pleases. And she can spend the next years of her life receiving love and care from the rest of us instead of always being the caregiver. We are all anxious for her to have fun and relax.
His service has been set for Thursday at 2pm. Which means that I had to get on the phone and reschedule a doctors appt that I had for Thursday at 2:30. So I got that done. And the carpet cleaners were due at 10:00 this morning. With Grandpa passing, Mom was not going to be able to be at my house at 9:00 to help me as we planned, so I scrambled around getting everything ready. All the toys needed picked up - so many toys, how did we get so many - light furniture moved, etc. And I managed to Tom Sawyer the small boy into helping me pick things up. I was happy to see he is susceptible to that trick now. : )
I have been feeling more than a little desperate and panicked since yesterday afternoon. I ran my fingers through my hair at work and came away with a more than normal amount of hair. Not quite what you would call a clump. But I am shedding. A lot. I repeated the action several times with the same result. Nope, not imagining it. Not psyching myself out. I am shedding. My hair has begun its revolt against the chemo, and it made me feel out of control and desperate. Desperate to get it cut. My dearest friends have been trying to get a little hair party set up at a local salon, but there have been delays. Phone tag, different schedules and what not. If my hair had not started to thin, I would have gladly waited until my girlfriends could join me and have a cool little send-off for my hair. But with the shedding and this hollow achy feeling in my gut, I simply couldn't wait. My hair is long, well, was long. And it was catching on things and leaving hairs. My arms were starting to be tangled with loose hairs and I simply could not let it continue and keep control of my emotions about it. So I got on the phone and explained to the ladies that while I would have loved the party, it is too late. If I had let it go and done it last week, the party would have worked. But I just had to do it today.
So at 1:30 Mary Ellen took me to her stylist and friend Mary Pelton, the owner of Envy Salon in old town Round Rock. Mary is a cancer survivor and got me in immediately. I was having a hard time before we left the house. I was trying not to give in and sob, but I intermittently lost it. So we took my box of Kleenex with me and headed to the salon. Mary gave me a big hug before we started and told me to remember to look in the mirror every day and tell myself that with or without hair, inside and out, I am beautiful. She spoke like a woman who knows and we all cried a little bit together. Then Mary put my hair in a ponytail holder to cut in one swoop for Locks of Love. I had enough length to donate so we decided to do it. I couldn't help but cry as she cut the ponytail off, but only for a minute.
After a shampoo, she began to cut and shape what was left. We decided on a swing bob, sort of like what Katie Holmes just did. As she cut and I watched, I began to feel better. "Hey, this is kinda cute," I thought as it took shape. I started to smile more as it became clear to me that I was actually going to like it. It is cute and bouncy and so different than I have really ever had. I have always worn it long, having neither the inclination nor the courage to cut so much length. But I like it. I really do. I can touch it a little now and not come away with so much hair. I know it is still going to fall out. I know that, but I am going to enjoy this cut till I can't anymore. I may need to cut it shorter in another week as it thins out more. Or I may end up shaving it from here in the near future to keep from being patchy. I think looking at patchy in the mirror would be more painful than looking at bald.
The carpet cleaners, who didn't show up till 12:30, were still at the house when I got back. The carpets look so great, another weight was lifted from me. My mom had made it over to stay with Jackson and help with the cleaners while I got my hair cut. She loved the cut and told me probably 15 times in the next few hours that she thought it was adorable. A-dorable. She confessed that she hadn't wanted to be there when they cut it off cause she would have cried too. But the results are so cute that we both were a little giddy. If I have to lose my hair, better to have had a little haircut adventure beforehand. Jackson looked at me kind of funny when I got home. Just a momentary pause with a head cocked to the side. Then he said his customary greeting, "There'sa mamma," and took it all in stride. I am glad.
To top it all off, today is also my husband's birthday. And I knew from IM'ng him all day that he wasn't having a good day. With Jackson sick in the night, he hadn't slept well. And things at work were hectic. And I think, bottom line, is that David does not enjoy working on his birthday. It makes him unhappy. So in the future, knowing this truth, I will insist upon him taking the day off. He generally does, but I think he was trying to save a vacation day in case he needs it with me being sick. Noble, for sure, but it isn't worth it. He deserves to be happy on his birthday. So I got a hold of Elaine and she and I scooted over to HEB to get a special dinner and cake and ice cream so we could celebrate and cheer him up when he got home. I figured steak and shrimp would be a good way to make him feel loved and special on his birthday. I also bought him a gift certificate for a one hour massage. He deserves that and more.
He is such a great man. When he got home from work he brought in a gift bag for me. He bought me a present on his birthday. He said it was a hair loss present. He was sad for me losing my hair because I was sad. He says I'll be cute no matter what. What a sweetie. He bought me a box of gourmet, hand-made chocolate truffles like he knows I love. I put them in the fridge and will eat them one at a time and make them last a week or two. I love truffles. I would rather have my hair, but truffles are not a bad consolation prize.
Jackson is in bed now, we have all overeaten and gorged on birthday cake and are now winding down from this long day. So many emotions today. Grief and some measure of relief at my Grandfather's passing. Sadness at the beginning of the end of my hair, along with surprise and glee at my cute new cut. Celebration of my husband's birthday and worry at my son's fever. Whew. I should sleep well tonight.
And I hope I do since I have to be at Georgetown Hospital at 9:45 for a heart scan tomorrow morning. Not sure what kind of scan really. Just a pre-scan to look for damage and have something to compare a post-chemo scan to in a few months. I know I won't be sedated, but I will probably have an IV put in my port for some kind of contrast dye. Hopefully it won't take long since I will have Jackson with me. Mom will stay with him in the lobby while I have the procedure. And then it's lunch and off to work at the Theatre and possible wig shopping trip in the evening. It is a good thing this is a feel-good week. Lots and lots to do.