I realized last night that I have not left the house since last Tuesday. That makes five full days and I didn't even notice! Crazy.
Hair is officially gone. I had originally planned to text my hairdresser urgently and she would fit me in to have it shaved, but I didn't feel well enough and it felt like something that should be done at home. Andy agreed to do it and it worked out just fine. I shed a few tears as he was cutting it before shaving it down, but it felt more like a step forward than something sad. I had been dreading it for so long, it was slightly relieving to just get it over with. Side note: No one tells you loosing your hair can be physically painful. My scalp has been very sensitive and once it was shaved it hurt to touch it for a couple of days. Now, all the follicles have pretty much given up and died so it doesn't hurt as much, but they should tell you that even wearing soft, loose, caps made specifically for chemo patients HURT for a little bit! Andy looks at me lovingly even with my ugly bald head. He says I look badass. I'm not so sure.
Second round was more difficult than the first. The meds still did the trick and kept me from getting sick, but the exhaustion and waves of weakness/nausea were more pronounced this time around. My "eagle nostril," as my mom calls it, has become even more pronounced. I feel like I can smell all the individual chemicals within certain products, and I can pick out the ones that make my stomach churn. Is this what it feels like to be a dog?! Yesterday, there was this weird chemical smell permeating the entire house that was upsetting my stomach. It took me a bit to figure out what it was, but I sniffed it out. We have this unscented lotion that has sunscreen in it and Andy used it on his hands earlier in the day. Once I figured it out, I asked him not to use it again. I could even smell it on his hands after he showered last night! Yuck.
I have a grad school analogy that fits pretty well with how chemo is going so far. In grad school the first 6 months to 1 year, you are running on adrenaline. You are naive to all that is involved in getting your master's degree, and that helps you to move forward without much worry or thought. Year 2 roles around and you realize you missed the entire summer, your vitamin D levels have literally plummeted to the point that your doctor prescribes you a supplement, and you realize you have neglected friends and family for an entire year. You just want a break to have some fun and not have to worry about the next assignment. You start to question, why am I doing this? Although chemo is on a much shortened timeline, it still fits. First round, your body is strong and you bounce back fairly quickly. You don't know what symptoms to expect so you don't really pay too much attention and you make it through and to the other side quickly and efficiently. Second round comes along, and you are a bit tired but still strong. But, now you know what to expect somewhat and you dread it. Your senses change a bit more than last time, and your body doesn't bounce back quite as fast. The naivety has officially worn off.
Don't get me wrong, I am staying strong and positive. It just isn't fun.