Cancer has taught me a lot about myself, including this: Veganism isn’t for me.
I wasn’t allowed to eat dairy while I was on a special antibiotic following my egg retrieval procedure, and it was surprisingly difficult. Did you know that basically everything awesome has dairy in it? I even like to put dairy where it doesn’t belong in order to make mediocre things into fantastic things (Philadelphia rolls, anyone?). Fortunately, I took my last dose of doxycycline yesterday, and so far today I’ve had a smoothie, some Greek yogurt, some kale dip and some gorgonzola cheese crumbles that I literally ate out of the tub with a spoon. Sorry I’m not sorry.
In spite of my dairy binge, I was finally able to button my pants today! I’ve been loafing around in sweats and yoga pants since Monday to accomodate my post-egg retrieval bloat, which had me feeling like I would need to make a trip to A Pea in the Pod any day now even though I didn’t go through with the whole impregnation part of the IVF cycle. It’s been four days now and I’d say I’m about 85% of the way back to feeling normal, which puts me right on track with all the fertility preservation/egg donor blogs I obsessively perused when I was preparing for this.
In fact, I was feeling good enough on Wednesday to go wig shopping – a red letter day in Cancerland!
I’ve been both awaiting and dreading this day since my diagnosis. I was feeling apprehensive, but my friend Jasmine quickly quelled my fears. “Wearing other people’s hair is awesome,” she told me. “I’m wearing someone else’s hair on top of my hair right now!”
I’ve always felt that wig shopping could go one of two ways. Option A: fun day of dress-up, or Option B: traumatizing dress rehearsal for impending hideousness. In the end, it fell somewhere on the continuum – not quite a carefree day of trying on cool costumes, but also not a miserable, pitiful excuse for trying to hide an obvious deformity like being a bald girl in her mid-20s.
The woman running the shop was fantastic. She confided that she wears a wig every single day, just for convenience, which gave me some confidence that maybe it won’t be super duper obvious that I’m actually bald underneath my hairpiece. She also didn’t react at all when I told her about my diagnosis, which was refreshing, except to offer to shave my head for me. This being Hollywood, this woman’s business is probably 50% cancer patients and 50% drag queens, so I guess she’s used to everything.
I had a good time trying on a variety of wigs in all kinds of lengths and colors, but I ended up selecting a medium-length, brunette number that looks almost identical to my real hair. I opted for it in two styles, too – a straight one that looks like my hair after I torture it with a flatiron, and a wavy one that looks just like my natural style. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I was most comfortable looking in the mirror and seeing my face surrounded by the same long brown hair I’ve always had instead of a giant blonde bouffant or some red hair poking out from underneath a baseball cap or something.
At the wig shop I was also introduced to, and subsequently decided to purchase after about .5 seconds, a magnificent invention called “bangs on a headband.” Basically, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a soft, comfy headband with faux bangs attached. You can wear it underneath a beanie or a hat in order to make yourself look slightly less like a hairless alien, without the heat and discomfort wigs can sometimes cause when worn frequently. Perfect for wanting something to throw on that will keep people from staring at you at the grocery store (or in my case, Mexican restaurant), but won’t require any styling or upkeep. Bonus, it’ll also help camouflage how weird I’ll look if my eyebrows fall out.
I’m surprised by how pretty and normal I feel in my wigs. I can pull them back into buns and ponytails, dress them up with clips and headbands and basically treat them like my own hair. Plus, I can do a better job styling them because I can do braids and updos on a styrofoam head instead of having to crane my neck awkwardly to look in the mirror like I do when I inevitably mess up a French braid attempt on my own locks. You’ll see them on this blog eventually, when I’m ready to let them make their debut. For now, I’m still enjoying my pixie cut.
Too bad said pixie cut has an expiration date, because my oncologist and I finally set a schedule for my chemotherapy. It will begin on Tuesday, February 26, so mark your calendars! I may be nauseated on the day of or day after the infusion, but the meds should help prevent that. Then, in terms of aches and fatigue, I should feel worst on days 3-6, then steadily improve until day 21, when we’ll repeat the whole awesome cycle. Gordie’s returning to LA on day 4, so he may be here for a few days while I’m feeling crappy, but hopefully he won’t just be my caretaker – I have plenty of fun things planned for us.
Today I met some of the nurses at the infusion center and picked up my pre-med prescriptions, so I guess this is actually happening. The whole thing kind of reminds me of the time my friend Hayley forced me to ride the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. Time to just close my eyes, put on my safety gear/harnesses (which, in this case, are more mental than physical – although I guess the 5,000 drugs they’re prepping for me right now at CVS are kind of physical), try not to let a bunch of brave little kids show me up, and see if I can’t enjoy myself a little bit, one way or another.