I haven’t posted in, like, a week. I don’t know, I’ve just felt burnt out, I guess. Anyway, my problem not yours!
This afternoon, Mom and I are heading out to look at wigs for her. We are expecting her to start chemo in a couple of weeks, and I wanted her to go talk to someone about a wig while she still had her own hair. I was hoping that would help us find something that looks natural on her, both color and style-wise, if the person helping us could see what her natural hair looked like. So I called a local place that specializes in cancer patients and made an appointment. The woman I spoke to was very nice, so off we go this afternoon.
My mom is not particularly vain, but she did tell me recently to make sure I let her know if she looks haggard or sick, or if she needs to fix her makeup. It’s not vanity that is pushing this, it’s that she doesn’t want people to walk up to her and say, “Awww, are you sick?” or “You look so sick!” or “I’m SOOOOO sorry to hear…” She just wants people to treat her like she’s a normal human being…and I totally get it. It’s one of the things I worried about when I decided whether or not to tell people I’d been through some severe depression and was dealing with anxiety issues. I didn’t want that to be who I was. It was all something I had or dealt with, but it wasn’t (and isn’t) who I was. She’s feeling the same way, so I’m doing what I can to support that.
To that end, we have been hitting lots of appointments last week and this week (and next week!) to get her in line to start her chemo. They want consultation appointments, second opinions, trial evaluations, CTs, MRIs, bone scans…and now the wig appointment. This week we’ve had appointments every single day except for Monday. For a woman who didn’t see a doctor for 42 years, she’s feeling very overwhelmed and like she’s on a merry-go-round. I keep trying to remind her that once this part is over, chemo is only once every three weeks…not multiple appointments in a week. Anyway, so we were getting out of the car for one of her appointments and as we rounded the back of the car I grabbed her by the arm and stopped her. When she turned to look at me, I looked her over and said, “Nope, you don’t look like a haggard old lady!” and then I let her go. She hit me, then laughed and thanked me. But I promised her and I will keep that promise, even if I do have to tell her she looks sick and/or needs to fix her makeup. It always bothered me that my grandmother (in her very old age) wore all the wrong color foundation, had crooked weird eyebrows penciled on in the wrong color, and wore lipstick that didn’t look good on her. But I never said anything because I didn’t want to upset her. My mom has asked for it, and I’ll be truthful with her.
Just like I’ll be truthful this afternoon at our wig-testing. I want her to be comfortable in whatever she decides to do, and that means she’ll want the truth about whatever it is. Of course, I wont say “oh you look terrible in that blonde wig!” (she has very dark hair), I’ll just tell her it isn’t right for her. Also, she’s got kind of olive skin tone, so blonde really WOULD look wrong on her.
We checked with her oncologist about getting a prescription for the “cranial prosthesis” and he said he would get it for her. We talked about other options for her, like nutritionist and massage therapy and things like that…none of which she wants, but it’s good to know the options are there for her. However, what they did not talk about was mental health assistance. How do they discuss chemo and cancer and supportive therapies without talking about mental health support? I was kind of appalled at the time. So was T when I told her. The good news is, my mom has LOTS of familial support, so she won’t ever have to worry about someone being available for whatever she needs. But when things move along, I will remind her that if she wants it, her insurance covers mental health support as well.
Anyone ever go trying on funny hats with their Mom or daughter or sister for fun? I hope it’s going to be like that today…laughs and light-heartedness. As much as it is difficult to have all these appointments and difficult things to do, I’m thankful that my mom is still here with me to do them. For as long as she fights–and she’s a strong woman so I’m hopeful it will be a good fight–it means I have that time with her.
Also, my mom in a blonde wig? Priceless.