My journey - battling lymphoma

Recently I celebrated my 46th birthday. I love celebrating birthdays! Then I participated as a co-captain for our local "Quabog" Relay For Life and the Pack 57 Rocks! Cub Scout Team. This was the time frame that I had discovered an uneasiness in my stomach and growth in my spleen and stomach. After weeks of monitoring, my husband Steve took me to the doctor who felt the lumps and ordered a CT scan. The CT scan showed a massive area, my spleen enlarged to twice its size and an additional growth lower in my stomach. Next was the localized CT guided biopsy and subsequent PET scan. The biopsy showed positive for lymphoma and most likely Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma.

This is my online journal sharing my experience through battling this cancer that has abruptly entered my life for no apparent reason. The story is documented here if you want to start from the beginning, you can check the archives on the side bar.

As a top competitive master athlete this year winning my age group at the Marine Corps Marathon and placing 3rd in the New England Trail Running Championship I have been truly excited with my results of late and am a truly driven athlete. Driven by goals.... my goal right now.... to beat this "thing"!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting "Wigged" Out!

Hope you liked my humorous title for the next piece of "treatment" I need to get through.... Finding the perfect wig(s) and how to "dress" my head! I remember the days as an Area Director for the New Hampshire Division of the American Cancer Society and recruiting and working with the hospital and Look Good Feel Better volunteers. What an amazing program -- now going through all this I see that this is one of the most important pieces of support, advice that should be there for women. We are predisposed to being self conscious, and work to look good --- things like shopping, manicures, pedicures and spa day are things you can do to boost your morale and inevitable your psyche and chance for success. So off to the Pink Petal today -- just to check it out on the way home if we aren't in here too late. Then I will make that appointmnet. :)
Here are the notes from my friend Kathy who has had the most and best experience with wigs of anyone I know - so I made the call for her support and guidance.  She just always looks so fabulous!... I first called her to let her know what I was going through and then asked her about her great experience with wigs. Her words of care and sharing of tips was just so good I wanted to share it with all of you and also have it as part of this online journal.

Wig Notes from Kathy:
  • Be sure you get some "wig tape" as active as you are.
  • Though, you will look great with just a scarf, bandana or cap when you're working out. : )
  • Also, as much as you are outside, you may want to look for a full-lace cap -- which basically means the hair is sewn in completely covering the mesh that the entire wig is made from. This way when the wind blows you can't see 'wig rows.' (the rows of elastic that the hair is usually sewn onto).
  • Do not be afraid to try on every single wig in the salon.
  • First find the style that works for you -- then worry about the exact right color.
  • Check the color in natural light against your skin to be sure that it looks natural.
Kathy's story:
Finally, I decided that I needed to get a wig. I loaded up all four children (at the time) and took them with me to the wig shop so that they could be involved in the process. Now, fortunately, we have at least three wig salons here in San Antonio. But, in smaller cities, you may not have the selection you need.
Do not -- I repeat -- do not order your first wig online. Because what you think will look good and what actually works for you are completely different things. If possible, take a trip to a larger city and plan to spend a few hours trying on as many wigs as you need to.
Kathy's 10 Tips - from a blog post a few years ago (below).
1) if you are looking for long hair (which is what I currently have) -- definitely spend the money on real human hair (with the cuticle intact). I tried several long synthetic wigs (even the "new generation" and "heat resistant" synthetics) and they looked great -- for about a month. After that the ends get "knappy" (for lack of a better word) and it gets very, very tangled all the time. The human hair is just like, well, hair. Definitely get "Remy" hair -- which is the quality of hair where the cuticle is still in tact and all the hair is sewn in in the same direction so it falls most naturally.

2) look for wigs with a "monofilament" top -- or in the less expensive wigs, a flesh colored mesh piece -- where the hair parts. These look most natural and really does look like your scalp showing. If you are caucasion -- look for the lighter wig cap. If you are african-american or hispanic/latino -- look for the darker wig cap.

3) you don't have to spend a lot to look great! The wig that I had on in my picture cost $39.99 and I swear I had so many compliments on it -- even women wanting to take my picture so that they could show their sylist what they wanted (it was then that I was very tempted to just take my wig off and ask the lady if she wanted to try it on! But, I didn't want to embarrass my husband.)

4) Benefits of synthetic hair -- wash with any mild shampoo, shake out and let air dry. No styling required. Very easy maintenance.

5) Benefits of human hair -- looks and feels great! Shampoo and style just as you did your own hair.

6) drawbacks of synthetic hair -- Not as durable. Can melt or singe with a sudden blast of heat -- say, from leaning too close when opening the oven. Or if your mother should accidentally wash your hair on extra hot, sanitary setting in the washing machine.

7) drawbacks of human hair -- you have to fix it. If it rains, you have a bad hair day.

8) drawbacks of all wigs -- wind, roller coasters, and water sports create challenges. But, there is double-stick tape for that. : )

9) and finally, the benefits of any and all wigs -- you can always have perfect color and highlights!! I am currently a red-head and it looks amazing with my skin!

10) The very best benefit -- once you get past feeling self-conscious -- is that you look and feel beautiful again!

Here are some photos that I love of me -- looking beautiful -- from our Wedding Day in August of 2007. 

Photo of Schuyler before walking across the bridge - I think we were in negotiations here where I promised him ANY lego to make the trip to the altar with me. 
Photo of Steve and I  - Truly - Madly  - Deeply - after the "I Do's"  So in love then and even more in love now.
Photo of me at the reception with my alcoholic celebration drink of choice  - Champagne

No comments: