Wiggin’ out

04 Jun

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.



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7 responses to “Wiggin’ out

  1. joeyfullystated

    June 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Ah, well it could be fun, as you say, like trying on hats. I agree completely about shopping for the wig before it begins. Very thoughtful of you. I don’t know that I would have considered it, and I’m sure her mood will be much lighter today compared to when it’s needed. You’re a loving daughter.

    • meANXIETYme

      June 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      If we try to make it fun, I hope it will be fun. And I agree, her mood will be better now than after her hair falls out, which I understand will likely be traumatic (like in clumps and stuff) even though it is expected.
      I thought of it ahead of time because of a book I edited for an author who was writing about a woman going through breast cancer. When she met people “in the know” they all suggested she go ahead of time and get a short, breezy cut before she started chemo, then got a wig to match so no one would notice when she had to replace the missing hair with a wig. I found it a very interesting idea and never forgot it. If I hadn’t opened a publishing company I would never have read that book (or met that author).
      Sometimes we are on the path we are on for a very specific reason, we just don’t always know it at the time.
      (also, thanks for the kind words)

  2. April

    June 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Take advantage of the mental health help. When I was diagnosed 3 years ago, I haven’t been the same since. I did seek help, and I’m finally finding I do have a reason to live. The fear of the unknown is the worst for me.

    • meANXIETYme

      June 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      If it were me, it would be a no-brainer. My mom is not necessarily in that school of looking for mental health assistance (she’s in her 70s and to in that generation that didn’t really “believe” in seeing therapists). But like I said, I’m hoping to keep it an open topic with her as we go along.
      Also, she has a religious leader who does therapy that she’s known for all of my life. So hopefully she will take advantage of that support, if needed.

      • April

        June 5, 2014 at 8:51 am

        I have the same problem with my mom. She has lost two of her four kids, and my dad. I can’t get her to at least seek some grief counselling.

        Good thing your mom has a religious leader, though. It’s hard to predict how everybody will react, because we’re all unique. When I knew that I had to have surgery on my lung, and then found it was cancer, I was brave. I fell apart months later.

        My wishes and thoughts of healing for your mom and family.

      • meANXIETYme

        June 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm

        Thank you, I appreciate your kind wishes and thoughts.

        It’s hard to predict how she will react, even as I see her reactions to new news everyday. I kind of feel like she might end up pushing through the hard stuff and reacting later like you. But I think I feel that way because that’s how *I* would react, too.

        No matter, we’ll do the best we can to help her now AND later.


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