Welcome to Chemo and Me:
A chronicle of chemotherapy's ravages on one's
Deb Grant was kind enough to provide the scans.
This is me in the winter of 1995. Straight brown hair.
doing BAREFOOT IN THE PARK.
The guy on the bucket is Tim Lang,
Villard dairy farmer with a body that just won't quit.
D-Day was July 18, 1996. Woke up with severe abdominal
distress, went under the knife for an appendectomy and woke up to
ovarian cancer. The first of six chemos (Taxol/carbo, 24/hour IV
infusion) was on July 25 and 26, 1996. I was discharged late morning
on the 26th and as soon as I was back on my feet I visited a hair
stylist (who was trained in the "Look good, feel good" program) and
ordered a wig.
The hair started falling out on Monday, August 5. It would fall away
when I washed it, toweled it dry, or brushed it. Morbid curiosity
occasionally led me to reach up, grasp a few strands and give a little
tug... it painlessly detached with a slight ripping sound, like worn
out velcro. By Saturday, August 10th, the morning I was scheduled for
a wig fitting, it was pretty much gone. I had what was left cropped
short to alleviate the burden of cleaning it out of the shower drain
(and off the bathroom floor).
It took about three months for all the body hair to disappear
(eyelashes, eyebrows, peach fuzz, arm hair) and that's when it became
really demoralizing, looking in the mirror and seeing such a bland
I've got a f-cking egg on my neck.
chemo was December 12 and 13.
In addition to the hair, I lost about
pounds to chemo.
I started going "topless" (no wig, no turban, no hat) on Saturday,
February 1. It was too soon... I was taking a class via Interactive
Television and I kept catching glimpses of myself on the monitor and
cringing...but it felt great and I hoped that leaving my head uncovered
would facilitate rapid hair growth.
March 10, 1997.
With the extended family in the courtyard of
the Monte Carlo in Vegas.
I'm the one holding the baby (my cousin,
For those of you familiar with my Dermot Mulroney pages,
yep, these are my dumpster-diving togs.
July 11, 1997.
before my first haircut in over a year.
Not only is it riotously
But that might be from exposure to the sun.
top hairs seemed to be straightening out and
I wondered if a haircut
would cost me my curls...
but shortening it only made it curlier.
childhood fantasy come true...
I finally look like Trixie Belden!
An update, Fall 2001. My glorious chemo curls faded after 3 years and I
returned to straight brown hair.
Unable to deal with that, I ventured
into the beauty salon to try and recapture the golden curl look.
pretty impressive, if I do say so myself,
but it costs about $100
three months, which is a LOT for a civil servant.
I'm Rebecca Webb and I can be reached via e-mail at:
Last Modification: December 26, 2001
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