Date: May 5, 2024

Washing my hair for the last time, as I always have.

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A woman in a white top smiling in front of bushes.

I am sharing this tonight, it is a journal entry from the night before I started Chemo.

I didn't know whether I would write a post tonight or not. Today was a day of to-do lists and squaring away as I hope to enter into this next phase with as much peace as possible. Honestly, with the pre-treatment steroids, these items were no match for the medical-induced energy blast I had today. I checked off more boxes today than I have in six months!

In the evening, I spent time packing my chemo bag, checking on my freezer packs, and writing my "pack in the morning" list. Does anyone else do that? Even when I travel, I also have a list for the morning. My husband got home and took a look at the bags for tomorrow. He didn't say a word, but I think he wondered where his carry-on wife went! I mean how could a girl who can be gone for 4-5 days and only bring a carry-on, but a four-hour chemo appointment 5 minutes from home, and multiple bags were packed to come with us?!?!

Alas, like with all of this, he was a trooper and he simply said, "Whatever." I mean, I am not going to lie. I know that many of the things I have done have been slightly erratic, but in moments like tonight I just needed to know it didn't matter and we would take 10 bags if need be to make me comfortable.

Washing your hair is another thing that will be completely different once you begin Chemotherapy. The frequency of which you can wash your hair, the shampoo you will use, and the gentleness of the washing and drying process.

After "bag-gate" was over, we both settled in. I used the last bit of steroid and anxious energy to get some miscellaneous things done like laundry and changing the bed sheets. Having clean sheets tomorrow to crawl into seemed like one of my better, less erratic ideas. Dinner, I just wanted simple, so leftovers it was. Honestly, I wasn't hungry but knew that I needed to eat so, I took a breath, made peace with it, and ate.

As my night was winding down I decided to take a shower. Our city is doing water isolations in our area tonight so if enough mains break, water pressure might not be the best in the morning. Since my energy was fading quickly I wasn't even thinking. I took a quick shower, hopped in, and hopped out. Then, standing in front of the mirror, it hit me. The weight of wondering what was to come and realizing as I put the towel to my hair that tonight was the last night I washed my hair as I have for the last 44 years.

I am not a vain person, and almost every day you will see me with my hair in my usual, ponytail, but I am not going to lie, the thought of all my hair being gone has messed with me. As I stood there, I thought, I didn't even take my time and enjoyed it. I didn't even think about how this was the last time that I would wash my hair for the foreseeable future and not have clumps falling out or my hair being tangled in my fingers. I washed my hair tonight and didn't have to worry about the potential of horrible scalp pain or the simple fact that the act of just washing my hair will be another reminder that nothing is the same.

I was mad at myself, but then, as I have tried to do this whole time, I reminded myself that I was not going to sit in this moment. No amount of sadness, nausea, frustration, or frankly most emotions that were boiling up inside me were going to change it and I was NOT going to wash my hair again tonight!

I simply stared at myself, took a deep breath, and reminded myself that as my father always says, "Like most things in life, this is a temporary situation, not a permanent position." Boy, I hope he is right!

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