Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bye bye brows!

I lost my eyebrows yesterday. Yep, looked in the mirror and said, "What the funk?" They are completely gone. They had thinned out when I began chemo- almost nicely I thought to myself. "I'd like an eyebrow wax with my poison, please." But now, 8 weeks after I finished chemo, my eyebrows decide to play hide and seek. Some hairs are hiding well in my sheets, others not so well on my bathroom sink. I did have about 3 eyebrow hairs over one eye, but that just seemed wierd... like a horrible eyebrow comb-over. So I put them out of their misery. Pluck, Pluck, Pluck. I then proceeded to powder them in... drawing a line is so over. I still think I look like someone's 75 year old grandmother up close. Drawn in eyebrows. Like I should be putting on hot pink lipstick and maybe some clown blush. As if my vanity hasn't been assaulted enough. People look funny with no eyebrows. Real funny. Just when I was finding uses for my razor again. God has a real sense of humor. As if I don't have enough reminders... still bald, peeling skin from radiation, scars, daily pills.

Perhaps I could take some shedding fur from my dogs and weave me some brows. Or a sweater.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Could someone pass the aloe?

Seriously. Aloe. Or an ice pack. I'm done with radiation tomorrow. That's good, because any more and I think my armpit might burn off. 28 Radiation treatments down, and no- I never could taste burning flesh, but yes, I have one hell of a sunburn. It only showed up about a week and a half ago and fucking hell, does it hurt. My breast itself, while rosy, feels fine. The problem, my fair skinned and SPF protected friends, is my armpit. Yep, I wasn't really expecting that one, either. They radiated the armpit because of my lymph nodes. The problem is exacerbated (yeah. I said that. Triple word score.) by the fact the skin under my arm rubs against each other. They say it happens a lot also with the fold under the breast. They tell me I'm lucky cuz I don't have a lot of tissue folding over. Thank you, I don't have big tits. Not sure if it's a good thing or an insult. Right now, I'll take what I can get- this burn is a bitch. The skin is peeling and it's leathery. It's also very discolored. That could last months. Probably a step away from blister. Awesome. I should wear a lot of tank tops.

Wave your hands in the air, and wave 'em like you just don't care.

Except I can't wave my hands in the air. I can't raise my arm much. I can't really wear a bra and I wear cotton t-shirts so I can tuck the cotton in the crook of my armpit so it doesn't rub together. I've taken to spending my days with an ice pack under my arm. When I showed it to my doctor (before it even got bad) he asked me what I had been putting on it. "the prescription gel you guys told me to." He made a face and told me not to bother. Thanks. Thanks for that. I'm not putting hydrocortisone cream on. And aloe. It could get infected. That's hot.

So I'll be thankful I'm almost done. Cancer Rocks.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Breast Cancer Barbie

For those of you who don't know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I know, I know, it's not October. But if you look around, you'll see pink retail items sprouting up faster than drunk boys at a frat house. Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer shit is everywhere- companies that make everything from yogurt to scissors want to cash in on some of our charitable shopping action. Of course, all portions of the proceeds are donated to XY/Your Mom's Breast Cancer Charity. Why they couldn't just write a check, I don't know. Granted, it is partly because of these retailers that there is research money, I just find it hard to swallow breast cancer awareness spatulas.

The new target of my concern is the Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Barbie. She's beautiful. And glamorous. And ready for the next black tie charitable function. She is everything that real breast cancer isn't. It's an insult to me- a bald, chubby, oh so not ready for primetime, actual cancer patient. Yes, I know, I'm still beautiful. Yeah, I'm beautiful on the inside, whatever. As if Barbie hasn't messed with the self image of tons of little girls already with her huge tits and tiny waist. As if Barbie already misrepresents real women everywhere.

Now, before you call me a raging femi-nazi, complete with my butch bald head, I loved my Barbies. I played with them, had the Barbie dream house, played Barbie store. I'm sure I even grabbed my Barbie's face and slapped it up against Ken's and made kissing sounds. My brothers cut off Barbie's hair. I wanted to be Barbie. Go get over it.

That was before I had breast cancer and mattel decided the best way to rasie awareness is to make the most elaborate-pink-big haired, "I belong in beauty pageants" Barbie.

I've been spending a fair amount of time lately on the discussion boards of the Young Survival Coalition, where outrage ensued when this was announced. One poster went so far as to post a picture of the "Real" Breast Cancer Barbie.

Straight from the YSC:

From the photo you can see that Barbie has gained weight considerably, predominantly in the hips, ass and pooch area. She is sporting a paper "modesty vest," two drains and a gauze wrap tube-top bandage. She also has her lymphedema wrap, IV drip, port and has had some blood work done. Her toe nails and finger nails are unfortunately turning black and there is some concern that she may lose a nail or two. She is leery of going too far away from the toilet, can't remember if she took her pills today and is depressed that she doesn't have ovaries and can't have a baby. Her path report is looking OK but the bills are piling up and she is too sick to work, but has to keep working to keep medical insurance. Hot flashes are keeping her up all night and she wonders if she should call her old flame GI Joe when he comes home on leave from Iraq- but will he still want her? Her sex drive is gone, she's scarred-up and bald and twenty pounds overweight. Her body hurts, she feels as if she is losing her mind. She doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything. Yelled at Skipper for asking her if she wanted to go to the Townhouse this weekend for a party, then cried afterwards. Drove pink Corvette to Jack in the Box for drive through burgers and a chocolate shake for dinner. (Thanks Linnea)

Unfortunately, reality isn't as pretty. And it doesn't sell Barbies.