All posts filed under: Body

Play ball, find what ails you, get some peace and quiet

The Glow of A Warrior Woman

The sun is a glowing ball of fire in the sky and every pore of my body is sweating. I’m on mile three of the morning run, jogging along manicured lawns in an upscale neighborhood outside of Bangkok. The smell of the morning air is a mix of dampness, jasmine, car exhaust and tropical decay. The Thai sunrise looks different to me, seeing it from the other side of the world from my home. That ball of fire in the sky glows a different orange-pink, not a typical yellow, which I learn later might be air pollution. A few weeks after the US election last year I decided I didn’t need to keep delaying my craziest dreams. Reality was upside down, so why keep waiting to see the world? I booked a ticket to go with my Muay Thai boxing gym for a two-week fight camp in Thailand. I’ve traveled internationally maybe four times. I came to martial arts two years ago, after recovering from some chronic health issues. I wanted to celebrate beating the …

It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Sweaty Signifier of Age

I was at the kind of music festival that draws packs of “festies,” young people who travel from concert to concert in the summertime wearing Indian-print skirts and bikini tops, their skin pierced and tattooed, wafting a fragrance that commingles pot and patchouli, with a base note of humid sleeping bag. An afternoon spent among them was making me feel my age, 48 at the time. They were groovy goddesses of their own anointing, with crazy-curly-cool hair highlighted in green and purple, bare feet kicking up dirt as they danced. They looked like beautiful children with their exposed tummies — flat or rounded, it did not seem to matter which — playful and unselfconscious. I was sitting under a dusty sycamore, wondering how weird I’d look if I starting reading my library book, when it struck me: a bolt of searing heat, a sudden scrambling of the brain. A hot flash is a bit like a menstrual cramp or migraine. Even if you’ve never had one, you know it when you feel it. And perhaps …

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Baked Goods and Bad Trips

Last June was our 16th anniversary, so Scott and I spent a weekend at this funky hotel in the Catskills. Every room is themed at this place. I chose a space-themed room. It was appropriately far out. Before we left, Scott mentioned that one of his coworkers, a fellow video editor, had gifted us an edible. A pot cookie, in other words. (I feel like I’m a million years old when I say “pot cookie” but I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to say “edible.”) He apparently was a frequent user (and baker, I guess) of such things, and thought we’d have fun with it. Sure, I said! Pot’s fun! Couple of important details: First, I smoked pot plenty in my twenties, but not really since. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s … changed a little, in the past twenty-odd years. I learned this a couple of years ago, when I shared a one-hitter with a friend and spent the next few hours paranoid and hyper, my face in a jumbo bag of Cheetos. Number …

I Got You — Caring for My Wife During Chemo

As my wife sat in the treatment room during chemotherapy, she would sometimes sing to me a song that became a sort of anthem for us. Headphones on, she’d hum and sing, “We ain’t gonna give up on this now, we refuse to turn around. This won’t be easy, no way, no how, but we won’t back down…” The song was ”We Got It” by Ne-Yo from The Wiz, one of those live TV musical events we’d watched together after her surgery back in 2015. In some ways, she was Dorothy and I was some unfortunate combination of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. I would chime in, “And when the night is so cold, dark and lonely, All you got to do is look at me and hear what I say…” And then together we would sing, “We got it! We got it!” “I got you…” I got you. When Margit asked me to share my experience as a “caregiver” during her treatment, I felt a bit uncomfortable. I saw it as …

When I Lost Weight, My Daughter Didn’t Recognize Me

I am watching home videos with my daughter, who is nearly 15 and prone to bouts of nostalgia. She likes to remind herself of a time when life was simpler — when she received toys instead of gift cards for her birthday, when her little brother still idolized her, when her favorite thing about the science museum was the diorama room and she could run freely through the exhibit since no one else’s favorite thing about the science museum is the diorama room. On the television screen, my children’s cheeks are still rosy and full, their smiles silly and unguarded. I love watching their skinny little legs kicking in the pool, their pudgy fingers picking up one goldfish cracker at a time. The only thing I don’t like about these old home movies is seeing myself on camera. The me I see onscreen is quite heavy – 40 pounds heavier than my current weight, to be exact. Because I am short – only 4’9” – a gain or loss of even three pounds is visible …

10 Foods to Comfort You (Pizza and Booze, Not So Much)

Here’s the truth: we are all emotional eaters. Emotions show up in the body, and your very wise body is asking for help to get calm. Here’s a quick list of ways you can support your body in feeling strong and calm again. 1. Water: Stay hydrated. Your brain works better and your nervous system is more calm when you’re hydrated. 2. Chamomile Tea: It’s calming for muscle spasms and the entire nervous system. Drink all day and before bed. 3. Sweet Potatoes: The sweet, dense flavor and texture are calming for upset stomach without the blood-sugar destroying effects of refined sweeteners. Roast up a dozen and store the extra in the fridge. Use leftovers for sweet potato pudding (recipe). 4. Coconut Butter: Like peanut butter, but from coconuts. Sweet, high in healthy fats that are soothing and satiating for the stomach, coconut butter and oil are helpful for thyroid and overall hormone production. 5. Kale, Bok Choy, Collards (ok, any leafy greens): Leafy greens are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Also …

To My Lopsided Nose Job

“The Jones Nose.” That’s a thing we talk about — and not fondly. Meaty and bulbous, it’s the nose a child makes from a big ol’ pyramid of Play-Doh to stick on a sphere that acts as head — both geometric items approximately the same size. It’s a Shel Silverstonian creation. It’s not the kind of nose that outsiders look at and think, “Jesus, that’s big,” though. I’m no Cyrano. It’s an unassuming big nose, one that blends in fairly well when plopped in the middle of a rather large face and head. But — and I say all this in all honesty and not with self-loathing or an overly critical eye — the thing is big. If there were some kind of ratio formula that declared the ideal acreage your nose should occupy on your noggin, something like the Vitruvian Man, but for women and faces, I could prove to you without prejudice that my schnoz is oversized. So when I got to the point that I had enough money to do somewhat-frivolous things, …

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Silly Things People Say to Me When I Tell Them I’ve Finished Chemo

Yes, I’m done. Finito. I finished chemotherapy almost three months ago and have moved on to what my doctor dubs “Survivorship.” Great. I mean, no, it’s awesome. It’s incredible. Yay. Ok, I am not exactly ecstatic. “But you’re DONE, OMG, you must feel amazing!” To which I find myself essentially wanting to say firmly: “Ahem. Shut. It?” You have no idea. Done ain’t done. As I’m learning, it’s a process. That last infusion on May 2 was a bitch. It took the first three weeks just to pull myself out of the brain and pain fog, to get my appetite back, to have normal poops, to be able to walk up my two flights of stairs in less than 20 minutes. And there are a few residual goodies mostly to do with my left leg (toe, neuropathy, chronic vein issues and – brand new! – plantar fasciitis). So there are (literal) hills to climb. Yet, people still want to tell you how to feel. They mean well. They want you to be back to you. …

Pain in the Present Tense

For me, failure is a feeling. It’s a heavy weight in my stomach. I get hazy and lightheaded.  Things start to slow down. Lately I feel very heavy. When I feel this, I retreat. I isolate. I pick apart all the moments, actions, words that led to this particular moment and I evaluate them, polish them, put them in a line like dominos and knock them all down with one touch, only to pick them up and reorder them again. Glennon Doyle Melton, the author of Love Warrior, wrote something that caught my attention the other day and resonated with me. She said: “We have to choose carefully where we do our truth-telling… If you are going to share widely – make sure you’re sharing from your scars, not your open wounds….When we truth tell widely in real time, it’s alarming to people because it can feel more like a cry for help than an act of service. You have to be still with your pain before you can offer it up and use it to serve …

Sleepless in Suburbia

All my life, I have put myself to sleep with a novel—eyelids pulling down, dreams wending vine-like into whatever story I am reading. Sometimes I startle awake and, when I attempt to start reading again, I find that the words on the page don’t match the version of the plot my dreams invented. Proust writes about this in one of his interminable Remembrances novels, this being the only thing I remember about them. I’m sure I fell asleep to him as well. Presumably he would be forgiving. More recently, I’ve switched to getting in bed with my laptop. I watch the red Netflix page download and, soon enough, delight to the introduction: Previously on Damages. No matter how cold-bloodedly conniving Ms. Close is, I can fall asleep to her too. But then, at some wildly inconvenient hour — 2:53, 3:21 or 4:02 — I am wide-awake. Not the dozy, semi-wakefulness I recall from the time my kids were babies and wanted to climb into my bed, having peed in their own. No, I am hyper alert, …

Training the Gray Dog to Finally Fall Asleep

NyQuil. Ambien. Valium. Diphenhydramine. Melatonin. Gabapentin. These are the treats that I’ve been feeding the beast. The sock drawer full of scooby snacks that I’ve been resorting to for weeks and weeks now. Insomnia. Is. The. Worst. I’ve never been a good sleeper and recall much of my childhood spent either tossing and turning in anticipation of sleep or quaking under the covers after waking from yet another bad dream. My nightmares were epic pageants of the anxieties of youth. I can still recall a particular dream of being kidnapped that continued for three nights in a row — an actual mini-series of the psyche. I’ve been drowned in poisoned grape juice, hunted through city streets, trapped under a giant glass dome and pursued by oversized hats with eyes (I watched a lot of Lidsville for a time and never quite recovered from Sid and Marty Krofft’s dystopian vision of a world populated by both gigantic hats and Charles Nelson Reilly.) They call depression the Black Dog, and I’ve been fortunate — that particular cur …

How to Build the Perfect Bed

Sleep, that elusive and temperamental beast. I’ve spent my adulthood seeking it like Godzilla hunts Mothra, or the way that perimenopausal women look for sleep. Thanks to better living through chemistry, I’ve come to a mighty-fine agreement with sleep: Leave me alone for 14 hours a day, and you can have all of me the other 10. Ish. Having your own issues? Try calming lavender sachets or spray, melatonin, warm milk, calming music or Ambien (at your own risk). Surely something will stick (fingers crossed!). And once you’ve conquered getting sleep, it’s time to turn your attention to the quality of your sleep, which very often begins with building the perfect bed. Mattresses Start with foundation: A stellar mattress begets a perfect bed. The tough part? It’s completely subjective. I have some friends who swear by their “green” latex mattresses. I’ve loved my crazy-expensive, wrapped-coil Stearns & Foster, having first sampled it at my Mammy’s house and refusing to get out of it for a day or three. There are benefits and drawbacks to all …

Sleeping in My Clothes: Holding Tight to Impetuous Youth

I woke up this morning in my hotel room wearing a bra and beautiful purple flowered Rachel Roy dress, one that always makes me feel beautiful and yields compliments. It’s the dress I’ve worn recently to an important business meeting and am gearing up to wear at a talk at a library. It’s made of polyester (in China, of course), but feels elegant and classy. It is not the kind of dress one should sleep in, but the kind that should be treated with the utmost care so that it lasts as long as possible. It’s a dress I’d be sad to have disappear from my wardrobe, and yet…I still didn’t take the time to remove it from my body and hang it up, or at the very least, drape it from a chair. But alas, that is part of my vice: sleeping in my clothes, alongside sleeping in my glasses (or having them fall haphazardly onto the floor), sleeping with the lights on, not brushing my teeth or using moisturizer before bed, and generally …

Can I Learn to Accept My Chemo-Induced Memory Loss?

I am a woman who forgets a lot. Every day I misplace keys, call one of my children by the wrong name (I’ve been known to throw in a dog’s name if I’m honest), and I lose track of what I’m talking about mid-sentence. It would be easy to blame any number of reasons for my absent-mindedness: three kids who keep me running in multiple directions, the day-to-day financial and emotional responsibilities of a household of five, my own, natural tendency to lean toward ADHD, along with work, friends, and exercise. For years, I somehow kept all those balls in the air, even adding new ones without a shrug. One or two might slip, but for the most part I was an artist at keeping who, what, where’s, and when’s moving seamlessly, without the use of a notepad or smartphone reminders. All of that changed when the one thing I hate to remember made me forget just about everything else: cancer. A little over five years ago I was treated for breast cancer. I wasn’t …

Ovarian Rhapsody: A Little Self-Renovation

Around the same time I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we were scheduled to renovate our apartment. My husband, an architect, had started to sketch out the designs. We’d enlisted his favorite contractor, Slavek. Our plans were to update the kitchen and the bathroom and to turn an unused half bathroom — really, our cat’s bathroom that featured an easily accessible hole in the door, left from the former owner — into a full bath with a shower. Our kitchen was Brady Bunch-era wood-and-probably-formaldehyde paneled situation: The refrigerator sat in the living room and we had a non-working washer/dryer combo machine called a Comb-o-Matic, circa 1975. Floor tiles were loose and scattered around the bathroom floor. We’d been saving up cash and waiting to do this project for a good seven years. It was time. So after processing the news of my upcoming ordeal, one of the first things I said to my husband was, “But we still have to renovate, right? We can’t stop the progress!” “Um, no,” he said. “That’s not happening now.” …

Getting Free from the Stigma of Pretty

I have a pussy. I also have uneven saggy boobs, a substantial belly and a pretty face. And while I can’t say anyone ever directly took those things from me, I’ve only recently begun to feel like they are MINE. I grew up with a feminist mother, but I also grew up in Los Angeles where everyone seemed beautiful and thin and highly valued for it — including me (ok, maybe not thin but close enough). I was smart and funny and magnetic, but pretty was by far the most praised — by loved ones, by strangers, by boyfriends and by the girls at school who hated me because, “I thought I was the shit.” I remember being interested in my appearance at a young age, and in looking back during all the painful unpacking work I’ve done, I can’t help but wonder how much of that was actually innate and how much was social expectation — a desire to be “good,” to be validated. But I was more than just pretty; I was sexy — …

Nope, It Doesn’t Need to be Steamed, Sprayed or Douched

A few years ago, I was talking with a relative and the talk turned to douches. I don’t remember how we got on this subject, but there we were, biding our time at the grownup table of a kid’s laser tag birthday party, talking about vaginal cleanliness. I was saying that while I had previously douched every month at the end of my period, I had stopped because it gave me a fire crotch of yeast infections. I had even given up the long, super-hot baths that I loved. “Wait…you don’t douche?” my relative asked, her voice full of judgment. She side-eyed me. She might have even sniffed the air in my vicinity; I couldn’t be sure. She’s only about seven years older, but suddenly I felt like I was talking to my mother or my grandmother, the women who raised me. Growing up, a hot water bottle with a hose and applicator attached always hung inside the shower in our bathroom. At some point, I must’ve asked what it was for and was told …

Ovarian Rhapsody: A Thank You Note

Back in January, just before I’d started chemotherapy, I’d been talking to my friend Adrianna about cold caps, the beanie of ice that sits atop your head and (hopefully) prevents your hair from falling out during treatment. Expensive and painful, I wasn’t too sure it was for me, but this was the stage when I was researching, frantically Googling and considering anything and everything. I had no idea what I was in for. Via email, Adrianna introduced me to her friend Casey, who had worn the cap and preserved most of her hair during a second bout with cancer. Only five minutes after I’d emailed Casey, I had a response. “Margit. I wanna come over asap. When works?” And two days later, there she was, sitting on my couch, counseling me — a beautiful, earthy soul with colorful bracelets and talismans about her neck and wrists, moving gingerly, still recovering from recent treatment. Her hair was thin, but there it was. She handed me a pretty cloth bag filled with sugar-free gum, savory Kind bars, …

I Got in the Best Shape of My Life at 50…And Then 55 Hit

At forty-nine, I was resigned to being over the hill — an overweight couch potato who avoided exercise and ate pastries with abandon. Walking up a flight of stairs left me winded, but I attributed that to middle age. I was getting old, after all. Then, seven months before my 50th birthday, I got the wake-up call that changed my life: A routine lab test revealed that I had Type 2 diabetes. As a physical therapist, I knew what havoc this disease could wreak on a body. I’d treated patients with diabetes-induced neuropathy, blindness and, in severe cases, amputations that began with an infected toe and led to bilateral lower-leg prostheses. I was shocked and terrified and suddenly determined to beat this condition back with everything I had. I downloaded the Couch-to-5k running app on my phone and started. Designed for couch-sitters like me, it started out so gently it was almost laughable. “Run for 60 seconds,” the voice intoned through my ear buds. A minute? Who couldn’t run for a minute? As it turned …

How Flying on a Trapeze Helped Me Defy My Age

I twist and turn my way up four sets of metal stairs. Breathless, I finally reach the roof. The sun hits my eyes, obscuring the blue sky momentarily. When my eyes adjust I see a man swinging back and forth from a narrow bar, the skyline of New York in the background. Muscular legs wrap around the bar, his arms and shoulder-length blonde hair hanging free. Finally I spy the sign: Trapeze School New York. I stand next to my boyfriend. He is 29. I am turning 45. Today. When I told him I wanted to go on the trapeze for my birthday, I thought he’d pick me up afterward and take me to dinner. Instead, he wanted to come. Reluctantly, I let him. We’d already talked children (I’m too old, neither of us are interested) and managed late-night concerts (I went home at midnight, he at dawn). And yet, I was still afraid he didn’t realize what my age really meant. That I was at risk for osteoporosis and a host of older-age ailments. That …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: Pop a Wheelie and Ask for Help

I was sweating and cursing under my breath as I wheeled my suitcase through 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Maybe it was early in my post-chemo life to be taking a trip to D.C. I might be jumping out of my pants to be my old go-get-‘em self again, but my body is definitely not so sure. You ain’t ready yet sister, it alternately whispers and shouts to me. Patience, butterfly. Just a month out from the end of cancer treatment, I’m still weathering various side effects — leg clot, infected toe, a fuzzy brain and big-time fatigue. But when a friend invites you to the first United State of Women Summit, a gathering that is essentially FLOTUS’s power-packed swan song, meant to shine the spotlight on the challenges and opportunities women and girls face around the world — violence, education, healthcare, workforce issues, family care, entrepreneurship — you go. Amirite? So I decided to do it. I just needed help getting there and getting around. Help? Help? HALP! Asking for help is hard. But …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: Wait, What? We’re All Done Here?

My chemotherapy is always on a Monday. This particular Monday is May 2. No balloons. No fanfare. Just me and my husband and the final infusion needle affixed into my vein. Yes, it’s my very last chemotherapy appointment. There it is! We’re at the finish line! Whee! Whee? I should be excited, but, frankly, I’m just tired. It has been 18 weeks since we started this mess, and now it’s come to a halt. It’s hard to know how to feel. Like 18 Mondays before, my journey to the hospital began at 7:45 a.m. A brisk 55-degree chill in the air; my blue-and-white-striped tote pre-packed with mints, hand sanitizer, tissues, Zofran anti-nausea medicine, my water bottle and the same granola bar I’ve had in there for the last three chemo sessions. I don’t even have to think about what’s in there. I usually wear black yoga pants, a t-shirt and a comfy sweater of some sort, but this time I figured I’d dress it up a little and wear this purple tunic dress thing I …

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A Healer with a Gun: She Tattoos for Cancer

In 2016 it’s not unusual to find out your co-worker has an elaborate sleeve tattoo hidden under her Ann Taylor blouse. But in 1990, when Amy Justen was a student at The Art Institute of Chicago, “tattoos were still very much part of the subculture of rebels,” says Justen. When Amy’s cousin, a Hell’s Angel fully engaged in the biker lifestyle, invited Amy to apprentice in his shop in Texas, she decided this was “not a career path for a young woman from a good Catholic family.” She stayed in Chicago and completed her art degree instead. After graduation, while Amy was pursuing a career in fine art, earning critical acclaim but not enough cash, two Chicago tattoo artists, Robert Hixon and Wayne Borucki, encouraged her to pick up a tattoo gun. “I was super green and had no idea what I was doing,” Amy says. “Tattooing is an unforgiving art form. I had to put all other mediums aside while I learned. It still blows my mind on the daily that perfect strangers allow me, pay …

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The Living Memoir of My Skin

It began in a high-rise shopping mall in Thailand, in a booth specializing in designer knock-off purses, Hello Kitty swag and tattoos. We were 22 and eager to assert our independence and hipster edge, belied by the fact that we selected nearly identical images. My traveling companion chose the Japanese Kanji character for happiness while I settled on the similarly shaped character for sea turtle. With the help of a dual-language dictionary, I politely confirmed in stilted Thai that the teenaged artist was using new needles and sterilizing his tools. Back in our apartment, we took a series of fresh ink photos with our film camera and waited impatiently for an overnight Kodak shop to develop prints of the very tats we could observe at any time on our right ankles. Damn, we were cool. And I was hooked. Next up, I stuck to my original sea creature concept with a large starfish on my upper arm in celebration of my 24th birthday. I was living in Washington, D.C., and my best friend — ostensibly …

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How to Be Really Good at Insomnia 

Do you look at those of us with insomnia and think to yourself, “They must have so much time on their hands!” or “Think of all the things I could get done!”? Do you wish that you too could have insomnia? There are tons of diet, self-help, parenting and leadership guides out there, but what about those who wish to be good at insomnia? Well, look no further. I’m here to share with you my years of hard work and study in the field through diligent, direct hands-on experience. You’re welcome. Some people are just born with this skill and, honestly, they make it look so easy by staying up for days on end with little to no sleep as their eyes glaze over and they get more and more cranky with the world. But for those who struggle to stay awake and bask in the glory of unproductive hours of tossing and turning or long days of exhaustion, follow my simple rules and you too will be living the sleepless dream. Do identify a …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s… Cancer Lady?

I am a superhero. Stronger than a shot of Lovenox into my body — twice a day! Powerful enough to withstand my first surgery ever! (Wait, make that two surgeries in two months.) Able to shave my entire head and utter, “Pssh that tweren’t so bad.” You see, even though cancer, chemo and the ensuing side effects are hellish, there is a bright side: Sometimes, I actually feel like a badass. I strut into Duane Reade, bald head shiny and a-blazing, all sweatpants and felt slip-ons, ready to pick up my meds. I look people right in the eyeball. Yup, that’s me — Cancer Lady. Cape on. Power up the invisible jet. Since my ovarian cancer diagnosis last November, and especially since undergoing chemotherapy, there are things I’ve dealt with things that I never thought I’d be able to withstand. Before, I could barely even give my cat Alice a shot in her little fleshy parts, let alone my own. Now? Hell, I’m a pro. My super powers don’t end there. My sense of smell …

Snoring: My Not-So-Secret Crime

Once upon a time, I had to sleep in a bunkhouse on a women’s retreat. As per usual, in a group sleeping situation, I did not sleep well. I sensed rustling around in the room all night. It was hot, and I was uncomfortable — as it turned out, with good reason. When I woke up, one of the women in my group was glaring at me. “Damn Laurie, you snore,” she said. “I didn’t sleep at all last night. Thanks a lot.” My face went red. I felt deep embarrassment. Of course I knew this would happen. I had asked for my own sleeping space, as snorers frequently do, and was shot down. There was nowhere else to put me. I had told the organizers what the problem might be, and they blew it off. They never should have. It typically ends well for no one. This happened again, on a trip to Vietnam after a day-long journey. Again, I’d warned my professors that I might bother my roommate. No one listened. Anger ensued, …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: The Routine of My Dreams

Sunday morning. Tea. CNN muttering in the background. My husband has made eggs with pesto. I’m going through old mail and sorting it into “recycle it” or “shred it.” The cat is snoring on the couch. It’s a lovely boring day. Finally I have energy. My brain feels clear and crisp; I can do mundane physical tasks, even multitask. Ah, doing too many things at once. I feel like I’m back to my old semi-healthy self — yippee! The reason for my vim and vigor is in part due to a new chemotherapy routine. What was once every week is now every three. My doc decided to switch things up because I wasn’t tolerating the chemo well and the side effects were mounting. More importantly, she was acting on a report in the New England Journal of Medicine — released only two weeks prior —that had determined that my every week “dose dense” treatment wasn’t as effective for ovarian cancer patients as getting it every three weeks. Say what? This is how fast cancer research …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: Side Effects, Unfiltered

I’m lying flat on the bed with just yoga pants on. My legs are propped up on a stack of pillows. I can’t muster enough energy to finish getting dressed this morning, so here I am, half nude. My mind wanders to that hilarious Bill Murray SNL skit about an out-of-shape Hercules and his bad back. “If I lie flat like this it will fix itself!” If only. My entire left side feels swollen and pricked with pins and needles — it’s probably neuropathy, a chemo side effect. Yet…  I can’t be sure if this is actual neuropathy or the fact that I have a recently developed a blood clot in my leg. Or that I now have a new toe infection because of the clot, because of the chemo, or because of surgery. Who knows. The icing on the cake? I have a cold so I’m coughing and hacking and sneezing out chunks of blood. The blood thinners I’m on, to combat the clot, make bleeding from any orifice a likely predicament. Today is one of …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Upon hearing you have cancer, the thing people will ask you about, more than anything else, more than your diagnosis, more than the treatment, more than surgery: “But will you lose your hair??” And that’s only the executive summary of queries. Will you wear a wig? Are you doing a synthetic or human hair wig? Will you shave it off? Will it fall out? Won’t it be easier not to shampoo your hair? Does it fall out down there? (Yes, if you must know. Easiest Brazilian ever.) One friend suggested a cold cap? “You can keep your hair that way!” she said. Cold cap? Huh? Like many things related to cancer which I’d never thought about before in my life, this sent me down the Google rabbit hole on a process which is about $600 a month where, during chemotherapy, you wear an iced cap on your head which has to be changed at least every hour and kept in the infusion center’s refrigerator. It’s painful, it’s expensive. No thanks. I already had enough of that. …