With the start of this year my better half changed cancer treatment. Or should I say “we changed treatment”? After all, she is the one taking the shot, she is the one fighting her body, she is the one dealing with the fatigue, she is the one affected by the treatments sideeffects.
And we as a family do our best to support her. Comfort her. Challenge her. Bear seeing her struggle without any means of help. But that’s perhaps for another day.
Why did she change treatment? Well. When your oncologist tells you that the metastasis in the liver need a tad more attention, you provide them attention.
That also means that the chemotherapy she took for the last years has now worn out. The cancer has evolved and now asks for a more aggressive approach.
Which also means that she needs a port. For those (like me) that aren’t deep into cancer treatment: Chemotherapy is usually provided via an infusion. One gets that depending on exact medication and treatment every week to 3 or 4 weeks. So that means that a vene needs to be puntuated every week or so to inject the medicine. Add regular bloodsamples and other stuff and your venes become rather stressed. So it is easier to implant a small vessel under the skin that has a direct connection to a vene and that can then be puntuated and used to inject the medicine. It’s usually right beneath the collarbone.
My better half had one of those 8 years ago for her first treatment. And it was a pain. Literally. It was painful when it was implanted. It was painful while it was inside her. It hurt on every arm-movement. It was painful when it was removed at the first possible moment in time. It left her not only with a physical scar. She did everything in her power to not get a port implanted. Everything.
But now it was unavoidable. So end of last year she had the surgery so she could start at the beginning of this year with the new treatment. And well, what can I say. All the fears, all the angst was completely unnecessary. Why?
Turned out: The first one she had was implanted shitty. Surgeons are just humans. And you can get one that is really awesome in their job. And then there are others.
7 years of panic, angst and pain could have been avoided. But you’ll only know afterwards. Cause in the event of a first diagnosis you are overwhelmed by other topics. I’m just happy that she now found a place where she feels safe and comfortable. And that she has found an oncologist she completely trusts!
So. The first treatment had been given 3 weeks back. Tomorrow is the jext one scheduled.
The first two days went past in apathy. After that she felt sick for a week or more. All well known sideeffects. The only thing she didn’t experience was hair loss! So she belongs to the 50% of chemo-patients that keep their hair. Right?
You guessed it. Yesterday it started. She could pull out her hair in tufts.
And while that is in itself not dramatic, it stigmatizes. Until yesterday she was, for the casual observer, just another woman. Since yesterday (well OK. It’ll take another day or two) she is a chemopatient. A woman with cancer. Visibly. For everyone. The looks from other people on the street will now constantly remind her of her fate. There is no escape. No way out. Each look into a mirror tells her: Cancer! Inevitable death.
So what will I do today? Of course I’ll look for apointments with wigmakers. Do they look good? No! (the wigs. Not the makers.) Do they help avoiding pitiful looks? Yes!
And permanent makeup also is something we will now check!
There is already enough she has to fight with. Being bald should not be something to have to fight with.
Does my love for her care about her hair? For sure not!