My Chemo-Sabe Cocktail
I love cocktails. I love the classic vodka tonic or even a fun drink, like a Cosmopolitan. I feel so sophisticated and experienced when I drink cocktails. Sometimes a glass of wine makes me feel mature and all-knowing. In college, the standard cool drink was a “Sea Breeze” with a lemon or lime twist. Of course I had to have it “on the rocks” too. In my 30’s and 40’s I dabbled in several brands of vodka and tonic, wine and a few mixed drinks in between. It’s strange how the nurses explain my treatment in alcoholic terms, my “chemo cocktail,” that is. I guess it is supposed to have a calming effect on me.
I come home, grab the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and go straight to bed. I can’t sleep and turn on the TV. I am watching the television show, “Law and Order” and hear my phone ring. I answer it and hear a deep male sexy voice on the other end of the line. I hope he didn’t hear the “ba-bum” from the show in the background.
“Hello, is Randi there?” he purred.
“This is Randi.”
His voice is striking, as if he were from the Country of Worship.
Is this a blind date? Which one of my friend’s is fixing me up? I wonder if he is tall, dark, and handsome. He sounds like a combination of Walter Cronkite and George Clooney. I envision myself dating someone with a swarthy complexion and good-looking. I am beginning to think we could date twice a week and together we can turn my breast cancer around. Maybe he has muscular arms with big, blue, almond shaped eyes and a caring smile. My voice perks up and he gets my immediate attention. Wouldn’t it be great if he accepts me and my boobs for what we really are?
“Randi, this is Dr. G. I am a fertility specialist. I received a call from the surgeon you visited today. She gave me your name and number and said it was urgent that I get in touch with you. She told me all about your situation and I felt I had to call you right away.” He breathed, which killed the mood.
The fertility specialist! Oh my God, it’s the fertility specialist! I’m such an idiot. I can’t believe I thought it could have been a Mr. Maybe or a Mr. Date for an evening. Not that a fertility specialist can’t be sexy, but it’s not what I had in mind. Did he say it was an urgent call?
My hair is really starting to get very thin. I don’t blow it dry any more, but fluff it out with my fingers. I am scared to wear an elastic band in my hair because I am afraid it will break the hair or cut off the circulation of the existing hairs and will make them limper than they already are.
The old Randi is soon to be gone: the thick curly hair that could also be blown out straight, the immaculately waxed eyebrows, the long eyelashes and the thin face. I look at a picture that was taken of me and a few of my friends and I notice how swollen my face is and the slight change in color of my skin.
My oncologist informs me that my hair will “release” from my chemo sessions shortly. That is a fancy medical word for, “your hair will fall out.” I notice that he stares at me for a very long period of time when we have the “bald” conversation. I wonder if he is noticing my hairspray. I use the kind that doesn’t make my hair stiff, but the kind that you can get your hand through. My hair still feels soft when I spray it on my head, not like cardboard. I wonder if he is noticing my long golden blonde hair that will soon be gone.
Did Ring Dings Give Me Cancer?
While on the beach, I’ve often wondered if everybody who gets diagnosed with cancer wonders how the hell they got it? I actually had a “what the f!@#” moment. Anyway, I thought it was pretty pointless to strain my brain and figure out how I really got it. I know that I have eaten foods containing red dye and mercury, and I’m sure tons of carcinogens. I smoked in college and had a few cigs here and there during extreme stressful moments, inhaled nasty odors and have massaged foreign substances on my skin. I always wondered deep down if it was safe. I guess unless I was a true chain smoker, I will never really know what caused my cancer.
I don’t buy into the idea that stress causes cancer as my manicurist told me, who, by the way is a breast cancer survivor. If that is the case, I would think the entire world is walking around with cells mutating rather erratically, except for the Dalai Lama. I can’t find any scientific evidence that stress is really related to breast cancer during my googling tirades.
However, I do find a study on the Internet from Copenhagen (2005) that a “high-pressure life associated with some careers cause estrogen to be reduced.” Can I compare myself to the too tall, beautiful, Barbie-like women of this country? Does their stress come from trying to look so good every day? What kind of stress do they exhibit there, that I, here in the States don’t exhibit?