Grateful 365 #20 – Unexpected Grace

Today a friend’s mother called me at work. Fortunately, she called while I was changing between the wet and dry portions and was able to pick up. I say fortunately not because I’m a conversationalist to be envied, but because in my rush to stay busy these past few days I’ve been guilty of neglecting phone calls here and there. It was fortunate because I’d meant to call her back days ago and would have felt awfully if I missed her again.

Once we connected, it was only a few moments before I had to sit down. Not bad news, mind you, but I was so touched that I nearly welled up several times as we chatted.

Not only was she aware that my treatment is tomorrow, but also remembered that as a general rule…I hate spending the night before chemo alone. Too much time in my own brain, you know? She offered to take me out to a Chinese buffet, and after accepting, we hung up.

I think I spent the rest of the workday gushing about how grateful I was to just about everyone I saw.

Not only was it an astonishingly thoughtful, loving gesture, but as dinner went on and we all (her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew) had a great time, I was reminded just how interwoven our lives can be and how fortunate we are when experiences merge and become something positive.

Beyond companionship and the present, we sat at the table as individuals with very different paths trailing behind us…but there were more common threads than one might expect on a cursory glance.

It sounds trite, but I really needed tonight. I needed to be with people whose stories I hadn’t heard in completion before and whose laughter I hadn’t shared as an adult. I learned a lot and left feeling loved and very, very blessed to know and be welcomed in the company I shared.

On the car ride home, Cathy and I spoke about the past her daughter and I shared and how long it had been since I’d spent time with their family. It really had been ages. We hit a point in the conversation where the phrase “at a certain point, age doesn’t matter anymore,” came about. Too true. Yet another thing I’m grateful for tonight.

I had trouble picking a phrase for today’s gratitude, because I have so, so much to be grateful for. I went for “Unexpected Grace” because a single, unforeseen phone call wound up changing my whole day, lightening my evening, and providing me with more goodness than I could have thought to wish for.  It seemed fitting.

I think I’ll be able to sleep easily when I finish this entry, and I’ll hold this warmness in my heart tightly through tomorrow.

emote warm heart

~all the love~

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No Time for Paranoia. AKA! One Less Thing to Worry About.

It’s funny how quickly things move sometimes. I fell asleep the other night, too exhausted to finish the small article I was writing on superstition and paranoia.

You see, I’d been having nightmares. Nightmares about my hair falling out. My teeth falling out. That kind of thing.

I’d started finding hair on my pillow in the morning. My head felt like it was itchying. I was getting paranoid.

I developed some rituals. 5 strokes of the hairbrush and straight into a pony tail for the rest of the day,. No touching the hair before I went to bed. No showers after the second chemo.

Basically, don’t look at the hair. Don’t think about the hair. Don’t touch the hair.

ESPECIALLY don’t touch the hair.

That’s what I was writring about. Maybe in more detail.

The night after neulasta was AWFUL. I had some oxy/acetominaphin to help get me through it though, so after an hour or so, it became tolerable and I was able to get some on/off sleep in so long as my head wasn’t involved. (And yes, that is another article because I feel it’s important. Neulasta is NO JOKE.)

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up. I love spooky stuff. I wanted to participate. I planned on taking the max dose of oxy for the celebration. Dress up. Have fun. …A shower was needed.

I will summerize the shower: traumatic shower is traumatic.Image

That dream where you run your fingers through your hair and it comes out in clumps? And doesn’t stop? THAT.

I got so overwhelmed that through the tears, I started hanging it up on the towel rack. What else could I do? It wouldn’t stop!!

It was so much like my nightmares that I have expected my grit teeth to fall out of my head too! Maybe my arms would melt away and fall off next!!

Before I continue, I’ll tangent with a short story. I gave my hair an ultimatum. We could live together if it thinned. We could live together for a long time. I might get it cut a bit shorter, I might wear it up a lot more, but we’d deal. HOWEVER. If it clumped and came out? Done deal. It was getting shaved. I knew I couldn’t deal with it. Too much. Much too much.

So yeah, I got over the shock. I got over the horror. I got annoyed. Stupid fucking hair!!! It had ONE JOB, dammit!!! ONE!!

Cool thing though, the chemo left patterns. I saw two tulips and later on a heart. Maybe even the word “hi” if I looked hard enough. It was going to be okay. The hair stuff? If anything, it just showed that the chemo was doing it’s thing. Hunting shit down. Getting cancer dead.ImageImage

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I could dig it. I could deal with it. I don’t make idle threats, so at least I knew that I wouldn’t have to deal with the awful hair on my pillow much longer.

I’m blessed with wonderful friends. My housemate has worries of her own in the cancer department that make this lymphoma of mine look like a cupcake stand. She’s also lost her mother to cancer. There are all sorts of reasons that helping me with my hair issues probably made her uncomfortable or potentially brought back memories. Still, she’s the best make-you-bald barber I’ll ever had. Through the process we smiled and laughed…she made me forget everything I was worried about or afraid of.

I can’t even express my gratitude for her in general, let alone for her help with a difficult task. I really am SO blessed.

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So now I have a new haircut…and one less trouble. :)