Bald is Beautiful…I guess

It has been an intense few days mixed with both positive news and a few challenges.

I’ll start with the difficult part so this email can end on a more positive note. My 96 year old grandmother has suffered a major stroke that has impacted both speech and memory (intensified by Alzheimer’s). Her doctors are amazed that she can walk considering the severity of the damage to her brain. She is very much not herself right now. This has been a hard process to watch unfold but I’m happy that I can be with my parents during such a challenging time. If you can, please include my Gram in your thoughts and prayers. I hope she can find comfort and peace.

In more uplifting news, I had a check up with my oncologist on Monday. He said that I am healing well from the surgery. He is also pleased with my blood tests. They are monitoring my CA125 levels (a protein produced by several types of cancer). When I was first diagnosed my CA125 level was 1600 (alarmingly high). As of this week it is 98! The surgery and first round of chemo have brought it down significantly. The true test of if the chemo is working will be if this number continues to drop from treatment to treatment.

Finally, upon day 14 after treatment like clockwork my hair has started to fall out. It was coming out in handfuls in the shower today. Yes, I have beautiful wigs. Yes, it’s only hair. Yes, I’d rather go bald than die of cancer. But it still sucks and makes me feel awful about my physical appearance. I’ve already had all of my female organs taken from me and been hurled into menopause. This just adds insult to injury in terms of feeling young and feminine. I just need to mourn this loss now and really feel it so I can move on and continue to face this illness with strength and a good sense of humor.

I want to end by sharing a few hair-related acts of kindness.  Here are two pictures of amazing people that shaved their heads so I wouldn’t feel so terrible. I didn’t ask them to do this nor did I know about it ahead of time. I am blown away by the selfless gestures of these boys. The first picture is of Ricky, my buddy from MA. The second picture is of Billy, Mitchell, Chris, and Tim, 4 of my favorite Australians supporting me from all the way across the world. Additionally, my girl Jaclyn has been begging me for my blessing to shave her head but I won’t allow it because her hair is too gorgeous to waste! I appreciate the thought. Finally my dear friend Ashley from college is participating in St. Baldricks day with members of her vet school and reached out to me. She is raising money for children with cancer and shaving her head in April- so proud of her.

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Chemo round 2 happens on Tuesday – bring it on.
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