Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mascara's magic wand

(Lucy rant at the end)

I've ditched the fake eyelashes!!  My eyelashes have come in – they're not long, but they're enough for me to reach for mascara.  Now when I see mascara commercials, I actually pay attention (& don't seethe with envy).  Never in my life did I think that putting it on would be such a highlight of my day.  But it is.  It's a milestone in my journey. 

Bonus, my eyebrows are fully grown in.  In fact, I actually had to tweeze them.  I TWEEZED them, people!  Again, something I never thought I would miss.  Yet, somehow, its part of being a woman, no matter how annoying.  When you've lost them, their return is met with unmitigated glee.  

When my port was taken out, I had to go into surgery with no makeup on.  Normally, that's OK.  Well, if I'm being honest, I really, really like my spackle.  Um, I mean, makeup.  But going out in public with no hair, no eyelashes or eyebrows isn't a pretty sight when you're running head long into 50 years old!  I put on dark, oversized sunglasses, so as not to scare the children.  You can get sued for less these days.

I'm almost done with radiation.  My last day will be September 7th or 8th.  I'm not exactly sure, since I messed up that one time, & may have a "do over".  Which will suck.  Really, really bad.

On the bright side, though, I'm over half way done.  And THAT, happy campers, is worthy of a Woo Hoo!

Embracing my inner Lucy:

Normally, my daughter, Elyse (who's opening her very own photography studio) takes pictures for me.  Well, she's at play practice tonight.  I'd wanted to take pictures of my eyes close up, so you could see my tiny little eyelashes.  Here's what happened:

I took the camera into the bathroom, because the shower curtain is white.  Figured it would be a good background, all nice & neutral.  I managed to turn the thing on, & pointed it at me.  The first shots were of the top of my head.  Great.  But at least I'd managed to press the right button, & actually took a few photos.  Yay, a ray of hope!

Next, I move the camera to what I think is going to be a shot of my face.  I hit the button, & instead of taking a picture, I turned the camera off.  I did that a couple of times.  In my defense, why do they have THREE buttons on the top of the camera?  Seriously, it's confusing.  I'd prematurely celebrated.

The only reason I knew that I'd been turning it on & off was the focus thingy kept going in & out.  And it only took me three times to realize why.  I thought it was auto focus. 

OK, so I think I've done all the Lucy things I could do, right?  Ha!  In order to get my eyes, I had to have the camera pretty close up.  It has a flash button.  After a couple of flashes, I was pretty much temporarily blind.  I couldn't figure out how to turn the flash off, so I had to wait for a few moments to see before I could walk out of the bathroom.  With my luck, I'd trip over the dog & go flying down the stairs.  Plus, I didn't want the other two kidlets laughing at me.

I pulled out the memory card to see what Little Miss Annie Leibovitz had done.  Unfortunately, I hadn't replaced the memory card from the last time I was downloading photos.  It was still in the computer.  I needed to find the cord thing to plug my camera into my computer.  

When I got done laughing at the odds of me finding it, I realized that it didn't matter.  The camera said, "memory full".  I have NO clue if I took a picture of my eyes, the walls, the shower curtain or the top of my head.  So there you have it, the reason I can't show you my tiny eyelashes. 

And now I need to go call the eye doctor.  I'm still seeing white flashes & my peripheral vision is gone.  Sigh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Radiation Stories

I've been threatening to tell you about radiation, but now I'm going to do it!  First, let me say, it's a PILL!  Going up & back 5 days a week gets old by Wednesday.  Thursday, you're annoyed.  Friday, well, you just really, really look forward to Friday.

They have the check in process automated, so you don't have to stand around & wait to check in.  That's really cool.  Then, you go into 'THE ROOM".  There's a bed in the middle of it, & a massive machine that looks like this:
The girls, or guys (but in my case it's always girls), get you on the slab.  Oops, I mean, table.  You're raised up & then they begin to call out a series of numbers that only make sense to them.  They move you about, getting you lined up, while you lay there looking up at the big "eye".  Well, that's what I call it.  As you can see in the picture, it's a large round something or another & a series of plates appear inside it.  They slide around, disappear, rotate & slide again.  It's kind of hard to explain.

They position you, & you have to be totally still as they leave the room & you're left there to watch as this massive machine rotates, arms come out & things come down with red beams that I can only think are doing more measuring.  Sorry, I don't know the techno speak.  Of course, as soon as I'm told I have to be still, my nose itches, a muscle cramps, my nose starts running or one of my wig hairs gets in my eye.  Yup, sounds about right for me.

Last week, my head was in the headrest all wonky.  I laid there with this plastic bar jabbing into the side of my neck, & it was killing me.  So, when the girls came in to reposition me, I moved.  A lot.  And that's how I found out that if you move a lot, you can't continue treatment.  They had to stop since the measurements were now all wrong.  I added another trip up to complete my series of treatments.  I tell you what, though, I've turned into a statue since then.  A big itchy, twitchy statue!

Back to the procedure, though.  After they position you, mark you, measure, & whatever else they do, they leave the room.  The big steel doors close & you're left alone in the room with the machine & the roving eye. The time drags while you're in there.  You lay there looking up at a drab ceiling, if you open your eyes.  You wait until you hear the loud buzzing that can last up to 10 – 15 seconds, & the sound reverberates through the room.  And you can do nothing but lay there exposed, waiting until the girls come in & re-position you.  It's pretty creepy.

BUT, that feeling only lasts for a little while.  Soon, it becomes rote & you get over that lonely feeling.  Especially when you realize that the people that are lining you up, being ever so careful not to do any further damage to you, are taking care of you.  They have your best interests at heart, & this behemoth of a machine exists only to prevent cancer from spreading.

Good news, though, I have no radiation burns at all, but I'm a little red.  I know I still have time left, but a lot of women have all kinds of skin problems at this stage of the game.  I had bought all kinds of lotions & potions to slap on, to protect my skin.

Then, I spotted my big ol' aloe vera plant sitting there, minding its own business.  I had one of those Homer Simpson moments – "Doh"!  Why didn't I think of it earlier?   Still, Maya (from radiation) gave me samples of something called Aquafor.  I'll include that in my constant regimen, but aloe is going to continue to be what I reach for the most.

There's even MORE good news, though, happy campers!  I saw Dr. Cardiges on Thursday, & all the x-rays are CANCER FREE!!  There's nothing in my heart, lungs or bones.  I only have 2 ½ weeks left for radiation, then I'm done with that chapter.  I'll have to take something called "Tamoxifen" for the next 5 years, but, ooh, how awful is taking a pill once a day? 

I'll write more soon; I've been working on a few different projects.  Soon, the Brunette Lucy will be roaming the streets, unbridled by daily doctor visits.  Don't worry; I'll let you know when that day comes.  You can decide if you want to be out in my area of the world with me unleashed upon it!  Giggle.

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