Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2011 Light the Night Awards Party

This evening I will be attending LLS's 2011 fundraising awards party. I have been invited because of the generous donations that were made in my honor last year.*
I have been forunate enough to be a recipient of something much greater than a party invite-- other people's benevolence over the past several decades. If it were not for the funds raised for leukemia research in the past, I would not be alive today. Without ATRA and Idarubicin, I would have been dead within a week of my diagnosis.

My objective this evening is to thank the current generation of fundraisers and donors, and to clap really loud when the folks who raised the big bucks are called onto stage to receive their plaques. If the mood of the event so moves me, I may even hug a few random strangers as well.

* To those of you who donated last year, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

LOL (Laughing at Orange Locks)

One of my good leukemia buddies sent me a message prior to my hair appointment, which I missed seeing until now. She said she'd heard it's prudent to wait 6 months to a year post chemo before having your hair colored. I have a bad habit of scaring myself by spending too much time Googling cancer-related topics. Hair coloring consequences was one issue I successfully refrained from Googling.

Ooops. I guess I shouldn't have used such good self control.

The most common side effect of dying chemo hair is................... an orange tint! A chemical reaction occurs between the hair dye chemicals and the residual chemo in my hair. (At least the resulting compound doesn't glow...)

For all of you who've tried to make me feel better about my orange hair: you're sweet. Thank you. But feel free to laugh at my expensive. Cause it's pretty amusing.

(And for any fellow surivors, consider this a warning before you head to the salon!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The New 'Do

Well, it took me a few days (and several people reassuring me it looks okay) to post this picture.

Blondes do have more fun, but when the goal is to create the illusion of more hair, brunette might have been the better pick.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Big Hair Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will visit the hair salon for the first time post chemo.*

When I made the hair coloring appointment, the receptionist asked if I need a haircut as well.

I replied, "There might be a few hairs that need to be cut."

Awkward silence, while I struggled to find the right words.

"Okay then," the receptionist said, "We'll see you tomorrow at two."

I plan to go blonde (my chemo hair is brown), not because I have a burning desire to return to the former me. Rather, it will be easier to start light and dye it darker next time than to do the reverse. As I mentioned in my entry, A Bald New Approach, the chemo causes hair to grow weird for several months post treatment. Once the chemo stops messing with me, I'll want to be rid of this hair, so why not have some fun with it first?

After blonde, I might go auburn, but not black. Ryan is convinced I will look frightening with black hair. We've had to accept so many changes this past year, that if he believes black hair is one adjustment too many, I will spare him that. 2012 is about trying to quiet our fears, not creating new ones, and black hair probably would look terrifying on me.

* Pics to come, but only if it looks good.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What Might Have Been

From the conversations I've had over the past nine months with family and friends who've experienced the sorrow of infertility or miscarriages/stillborn, I continue to believe that it is a unique grief. It is not the loss of what was, but rather, what might have been. I did not understand it before it happened to us. Nor did I realize how common it is. Now that I know what it is like to carry this sadness with me, I think about so many others who privately grieve the absent joy and potential of a child. To those of you who have experienced this loss: I am so sorry.

Last week, Katelyn's big girl bed arrived. The original plan was to move Katelyn into the spare bedroom. The nursery would become Lily's room. Prior to Katelyn's birth, I drew the murals of Lars the Polar Bear on the nursery walls to match the Artic Babies bedding set, and Ryan and I painted them. I had begun thinking about a theme for Katelyn's new room prior to losing Lily. Maybe lady bugs or butterflies. Once in a while, I still think about what I would have picked.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


In 2012, 51% of Americans intend to exercise more often and 35% are committing to a diet (1). Resolutions like these, as well as fresh starts, occupy our thoughts around the New Year (when we’re not thinking about football, that is). Why does advancing one day in the calendar equate to new efforts and new hopes?

Ignoring any connotations the word has acquired through the current political scene, flipping from 2011 to 2012 suggests the possibility of change. We reflect on the past year, and envision how we can make the next one better. For those who had good fortune in ’11, it is also a time to appreciate the past. For my family, we are happy to be rid of ’11 and look forward to happiness in ’12 (Though ’11 did bring us nephew Baby Chase and my remission, for which we are very thankful). But why does January 1st feel like a fresh coat of paint or a blank check?