Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wigging out

Tomorrow morning I go into surgery to have a port installed, and then off to have my very first chemotherapy infusion.

A port is a quarter sized disc that is surgically implanted just under the skin. A thin catheter tube connects it directly to a vein so meds can be given thru a needle inserted into the port rather than an IV in the arm. It is an outpatient surgery and supposed to be simple and safe. I'm frankly not thrilled about having it done the same day as chemo, but that's just how it worked out. I'm also not crazy about having yet another scar on my body thanks to cancer. Although compared to what my mastectomy left me with, this is nothing.

Switching gears...

On the house front, the first house I posted about is no longer an option. We actually made an offer but had immediate regrets and major doubts due to the road situation as I blogged about. However before we could withdraw the bid the owners accepted one from another couple anyway. It was not meant to be and I'm relieved. The second house, however, is still a possibility but let me tell you, it needs ALOT of work on the interior. We are considering it but would have to make a low offer so it might not work out.

Either way, all this house stuff has actually been very positive for me right now, despite the frenzy and confusion it has produced. For one thing it has given me lots of other stuff to focus on instead of chemo. Since we also put our house on the market we did a major cleaning from top to bottom and now I have a nice organized home to recuperate in to boot.

Today as my last preparatory act before chemo I went and got my wig. I chose the same shop my mother used in a posh upper-middle class town near where I grew up about an hour from here. I expected the shop to be nothing short of aristocratic and was quite surprised when it was completely the opposite. You went into the back door of a nondescript building and thru a dark hallway reminisent of what I would imagine a 1920's Speakeasy to be like. I half expected to have to give a secret password to be allowed in! It just never occured to me that many women would wish to keep this secret, that it was somehow shameful or embarrassing to wear a wig. The woman who ran the place told me that if I wanted to be discreet I didn't even have to use the full name of her shop on my check because it contained the word wig. It all made me feel sort of dark and gloomy.

The wig I chose is a close match color-wise, but the cut is completely different than I ever wear my real hair. This was per the owner's advice, the idea being it is less traumatic to use a wig of a different style because you won't compare it to your own natural hair. Makes sense, I guess. I'm not sure I like it, but then again it's hard for me to be objective right now.

I am dreading tomorrow. I keep trying not to freak...reminding myself that the chemo nurse assured me I would probably feel just fine tomorrow, nothing will happen right away. But the idea that I am pumping poison into my veins, chemicals strong enough to make my hair fall out...well, it's just damn scary. I mean, you want it strong, you want it to kill stray cancer cells for goodness sake. But I feel like this has already been such a long road, I'm weary and tired of this and want to move on, want it to be over. Yet I am realizing now it is just the beginning. Very soon, when my hair falls out, I will finally look like a cancer patient. It's real. I have cancer. Someday I will be a cancer survivor (if the fates allow) and will carry scars and battle stories with me into the future.

Not to sound Pollyanna, but hopefully sharing my experiences will in some small infinitesimal way help someone else who is facing a tough road, whatever it may be. Throughout my saga I've met so many women that have walked this path and each has generously shared their tales with me, to comfort, to inform, to help show the way. I thank them, and all of you, dear readers...all of you who are traveling right along with me. I can't imagine going this next leg alone.


Daria said...

I've had a central line catheter put in on my chest and later a PICC line in my arm. It wasn't too bad at all.

I hope it's not too bad for you either.

Sheila said...

Wow, honey, that's such a huge thing, to have the chemo. Your trip to get a wig sounds positively Dickensian!

Will be thinking of you!


Brenda said...

I'm so glad you got a wig before chemo, you just don't have the physical or emotional energy to do that once you get started. It was hard for me to wear a wig, it just never felt right, so I used scarves and hats most of the time.

I did chemo without a port, but I imagine a port would make it a little easier.

Caroline said...

Getting a port put in is really a pretty minor procedure... Chemo once it starts is much less scary. But good luck to you! Bring books to read, crafts to do during chemo. Ask for ice on your port or numbing cream before the insert the needle.

A port saved the veins in my arm so it was worth it.

Teri S. said...

Kayleigh - I'm so sorry, what you are about to go through - I can imagine how overwhelming & scary it is. It helps to have other things to focus on, doesn't it? You will be in my thoughts, I wish that helped make it better, but I know it doesn't really. Your blogging about it does help me, it helps me to know that having the prophylactic mastectomies next month is the right choice for a BRCA mutant like me. It helps me to know that I'm doing the right thing, and I'm sure it helps many others too.

Jean said...

Kayleigh, just wanted to say that I've been thinking of you today. With much love to you, x

Mervat said...

Kayleigh, dear friend, although my visits here have been irregular I want you to know that I have thought about you every single day. All my love and positive thoughts and energy for this next stage in your treatment.