Making do

When we arrived at the cancer center there were these huge blowers in the lobby. Didn’t think anything of it until I saw several groups of men in hard hats going through the doors to Medical Oncology. Had my lab work and was taken back for the nursing assessment where I was told the place had been under water yesterday!  A pipe froze and burst and they were shuttling patients to the hospital all day for chemo. Today they had made accommodations on site, so after the nursing visit I waited to see my Oncologist who was waiting on my lab results. The flooring had been pulled up on in the exam rooms and the baseboards removed. There was a lot of hammering and sawing going on and those huge blowers everywhere.  What is usually a very peaceful space was complete chaos. When the doc finally got my results and came in to speak with me she was asking me the same questions she had asked at my interim visit.  I answered them but after a few minutes couldn’t resist saying we had gone over all that last time. She didn’t realize I was here for a treatment or was so frazzled from the chaos that she forgot!  It was nice to see her in that human light. Not that she is the type of doctor to hold herself “above” her patients, but still.. it made me laugh. We finally got upstairs where they had transformed a conference room into chemo bays (but with no privacy at all). One man was snoring so loudly I thought he was choking and wondered why no one seemed concerned.  Another was getting sick and they had to stop his infusion and the Oncologist came to speak with him. They were just starting it up again when we were leaving a few hours later. My meds were not there, had not been ordered, so we had to wait for a bit. Once I got them it all went smoothly. I was sad to see  the man in the chair closest to me was a teacher from my high school. I don’t know what kind of cancer he has, he didn’t say and I didn’t ask.  He and his wife and my mother chatted the whole time we were there and when I was leaving he asked when my next one would be and wondered if he would see me again.  It was a very different experience from my first one, but the time flew by and I was grateful not to be shuttled to another building like the poor patients were yesterday.

Today was also the first time since my hair loss that I ventured out without a wig.  I have a beautiful wig but my scalp is still very tender and even with a liner it hurts. I have been wearing it more out of consideration for others. At home I wear one of those really soft sleep caps or nothing at all.  I even stepped out onto the deck with my naked head and quickly remembered the date!  Not going to do that again.  Today I wore a really pretty blue scarf that just happened to match my outfit. I felt more confident in that. I am certain even the most casual observer can tell I’m wearing a wig and it makes me self-conscious. Strangely, wearing a head scarf did not. Go figure!

I just want to add a funny that one of my Daisy girls posted for me today.  Thanks, Gumbo!


Shit Girls Say to Other Girls With Breast Cancer



  1. Susan · January 17, 2012

    Have noticed when I go to the hospital a lot of the ladies getting chemotherapy wear headscarves rather than wigs, maybe there is something to be said for comfort. I have a wig but have not yet ventured out in it, usually just wear a baseball cap or warm hat.


    • mainelyhopeful · January 18, 2012

      I think I am going to stick with what feels comfortable. Maybe in time my scalp won’t feel so tender and the wig will feel better. Everyone says it looks natural, but last week I had short dark brown hair. This week it’s shoulder length auburn hair. Funny side effect from chemo 😉


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