I've started using conditioner in my hair again. It still seems too short to necessitate conditioning, but it is frizzy, post-chemo hair that could use assistance in settling down. So, condition I must. It is rather exciting to be using conditioner again. I have to consciously remind myself to condition after shampooing because it has been over 6 months since I last conditioned. In the first few weeks after my hair fell out, I wasted probably a half-bottle of conditioner, measured out in quarter-sized dollops during every shower. I would squirt the conditioner in my hand only to realize that there was no point in conditioning my scalp, then wash it down the drain. It was terribly hard to break the habit of conditioning. I'm finding that it is much easier to re-discover the conditioning step than it was to lose it.
In other hair developments, today was the first day that I went all day without a head covering. I am not ashamed of my short hair, but I do get quite chilly when that is the only barrier between my head and either the outdoor elements or my chilly office. My thin layer of hair is at last thick enough to provide some protection. Also, I've discovered that if I keep my neck covered, such as with a scarf or collared shirt, I retain enough heat to support my hair freedom.
Also, my eyebrows are about halfway returned to normal. This is probably the most exciting hair growth development because my face now looks more familiar to me. My eyebrowless face always looked strange to me, not to mention pale and sickly. My eyebrow hair is now long enough to provide some color, shape, and versatility of expression. How exciting, she said with eyebrows raised for emphasis!
I've been thinking a lot lately about what I could blog about, and aside from hair growth not much came to mind. This surprised me because I would have expected myself to have all sorts of things to share, process, or at the very least document about recovering from a second episode of breast cancer treatment. This has not been the case.
The first time I recovered from cancer treatment I felt much more emotional. I had fear and apprehension about so many unknowns, namely what recovery would be like, how long it would take, and if my cancer would come back. This time, the fear is gone. I know the answers to all of my previous questions (tiring but glorious, several months, and yes). I don't want to give cancer any more of my attention than I have to, which is plenty of attention every third Friday for my Herceptin + Pertuzumab treatments. Instead I am trying to pick up my non-cancer life where I left it 8 months ago, closing the cancer-life gap as if it doesn't exist. When I'm not in treatment I have largely given cancer the middle finger, both middle fingers, and stormed back into my life.
For better or worse I have not taken much time for reflection on my experience, except for a handful of great walks in the woods and yoga sessions. It seems that it would be good for me to take some more time for reflection. My plan to force some reflection is to require myself to finish my cancer thank-you notes by the end of November. It is the month of Thanksgiving, after all, so it seems like an appropriate goal. I know that no one is expecting a thank-you note, and that I probably will have missed a lot of people who deserve a thank you note, but I'm going to do my best and it will be from my heart and it will feel good.
In the meantime, cancer can eat my dust. I hope it chokes on it.