Shave and a haircut…

29 Jan

…two bits.

Mom finished her radiation treatments today. The nurses at the radiation center are beyond amazing women. I can’t tell you how phenomenal it is that these women go in to work every day and help people who are battling life-threatening diseases. How they go in every day, knowing that they’re seeing people who are so sick…who might not make it in for the next treatment. Some who can’t get out of chairs because they are so weak and frail. And yet these nurses smile and hug and encourage…and they love.

This was the second round of radiation for Mom. The first was pelvic radiation, this time it was brain radiation. When Mom came back in for this second round–the first was last summer–the nurses recognized her. They hugged her. They carried her puke bucket for her. They showed her pictures of their lives–weddings, children–and they remembered that she crocheted special hats for them. They greeted me and they greeted Dad like we were friends.

So Mom rang the bell at the radiation center for a second time. The nurses gave her a certificate–that they each signed after they wrote very sweet things–as well as a cover for her puke bucket that re-assigned as her “crochet bucket”. I took pictures of Mom ringing the bell, but it was harder to feel excitement. This was the second time she’s rung the bell for treatment completion at the radiation center. Adding in the chemo center, she’s rung a bell three times…and yet I know that the cancer is continuing to grow. There’s no question in my mind. This cancer is so aggressive, there’s not going to be any stopping it.

I smiled and cheered Mom on as she rang the bell. Afterward, we went out for lunch with Hub and my oldest brother, and my other brother and his wife surprised Mom by showing up as well. After we all stuffed our faces, I went back to my parents’ house with them to get Mom settled. We talked about cutting her hair as we drove back to the house because the radiation was causing Mom to lose her hair again (due to the location of the radiation beams). She had pulled out some clumps already and we’ve seen her shedding hair at home. It was clear she was irritated, so I offered to cut her hair really short. She usually wears her hair short-ish, but I’d say it was about 4″ long at the longest area. I started cutting and then my brother brought down his hair clippers, so I proceeded to shave her hair (with a guard) really carefully so I didn’t irritate her scalp. I left her with about half an inch of hair. Enough to keep her head from freezing, but not long enough to irritate her when it continued falling out. She thanked me and then we got her settled onto the couch so she could rest. Dad and I cleaned up the hair from the floor, then we ordered pizza and calzones and strombolis from the local pizza place. Mom wanted the food for the weekend (she had a hankering for it), in case the restaurant wouldn’t be open after the snow. I rubbed Mom’s fuzzy head, kissed her cheek, and I came home.

I never expected to have that memory with me. I’m glad I was able to help her feel more comfortable by shaving her hair, but I don’t know how to cut hair. I do a terrible job trimming the dogs–even though I do it when it’s needed so they don’t have to sit in a cage at the groomers waiting to get trimmed–so I wasn’t looking forward to cutting Mom’s hair. I did it because she needed it, but I hated doing it. I hated that it needed to be done. I hated it.

I walked home in the lightly falling snow. We’re expecting an actual “official” blizzard here (it’s going to meet real criteria for a blizzard, they’re not just saying it’s a blizzard…who knew?). 20-30″ of snow when all is said and done. It was that eerie quiet outside as I walked home. I let my mind stay blank and felt the snow touch my face, wet my hair, linger on the scarf I was wearing that my grandmother crocheted for me a million years ago. Inside my house, I took off my coat and hung it on the back of chair, then went to throw something away in the trashcan in our mudroom. The can has this latch thingy that requires you push the lid down to latch and unlatch. I pushed it to unlatch it, threw out the paper in my hand, then pushed it to latch it again. Only there was a towel on top of it (that we use to dry the dogs from the snow) that got caught under the lid. So I yanked on the towel while simultaneously trying to push the lid down to release the latch again. It didn’t work, and I swear I stood there and pounded my fist on the lid repeatedly as I yanked on the towel. BANG BANG BANG BANG. Hard. Loud enough that Hub stuck his head in the doorway to see what was going on. I finally got the lid to pop open, pulled the towel out and closed the lid again. I shrugged at Hub and said, “Guess I had some rage to get out.”

Poor guy did the right thing and scurried away without comment.

Last night when Mom texted me (she’s getting into this texting thing now that she has a stylus…she’s texting her grandkids and my non-local brother) “Alarm! Hair is falling out! Just thought you’d want to know.” she also told me she was eating some store-bought ice cream leftover from a recent visit from my nieces. So after the rage incident, I mixed up her favorite ice cream–chocolate peanut butter–and dumped it into the ice cream machine to churn. When it was done, I put it into a blue freezer container, then called Mom to say I was coming over and I was bringing the snow with me. She said, “Only if it’s chocolate covered snow.” The steroids have really cranked up her appetite for everything, including her beloved chocolate. She’s eating a lot of food now, and we make it into a joke…that no one should stand still too long in her house or they might get chewed on. So I suited up in my coat and scarf, and walked back to her house to deliver the freshly made ice cream. Again, the quietness of the snow, the gentle touch of the icy flakes, it was all so serene and so…engulfing is the only word I can come up with. I’m not sure how it really made me feel, it just was so noticeable.

I showed Mom the container of ice cream and promised that by her snack time later that evening it would be firm enough to eat, then I stuffed it into her freezer. She told me she talked to her good friend on the phone, she talked to my brother who lives in another state, and she thanked me again for cutting her hair. I told her I loved her. I told her to text me later to say good night. And I was outside for the walk home. Crunch crunch crunch. The snow was sticking the ground by now–maybe two or three inches-and I tried to duck-walk my way back home, following my footsteps only now I was leaving prints that were backward to the original. I know it sounds confusing, but at the time it seemed important to make those marks in the snow in just the right way.

When I got home, I realized how tired I was. I realized how much my body hurt. I cleaned up the stuff from the ice cream machine (it cleans easier if you do it right away) and got myself a big glass of water. I sat down and nearly couldn’t get back up when it was time for dinner.

If it really does snow as much as they say, I won’t be able to get over to Mom’s tomorrow. That’s why I ran back over tonight with the ice cream, so she had it for the weekend. If it really does snow as much as they say, I’ll have nothing to concentrate on. Mom’s doing well enough that they don’t need me over there if Dad and my brother are there (my brother lives with them). I don’t have to worry about figuring out how to get over there in 2+ feet of snow. I can stay home and do my best not to think.

Maybe I’ll be able to get outside with the dogs. I might not be able to get off the deck as my knees are really unhappy and walking through the snow in the back yard would be too painful. But maybe I’ll get some pictures. Maybe I’ll see the dogs romp. Maybe I’ll be okay.


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8 responses to “Shave and a haircut…

  1. joey

    January 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    “…the quietness of the snow, the gentle touch of the icy flakes, it was all so serene and so…engulfing is the only word I can come up with. I’m not sure how it really made me feel, it just was so noticeable.”
    I can FEEEEL that in description, so I’m sure it felt a thousand times more specific.
    I hope y’all don’t get snowed in, but I like knowing it’ll be okay if you do.

    I used to cut lots of brown hair with clippers, and I always thought I was quite good at it. Until I did blond hair. My husband, Omaword. Beauty Queen had to fix it and told me that blonde hair shows every tiny detail of a cut.
    I’m still the one who does Sadie’s mats behind her ears, and no one tells me it looks shoddy 😉

    • meANXIETYme

      January 29, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks. I felt like I was waxing poetic, but there’s something about the snow that always gets to me, especially out here where it can be REALLY quiet.
      I cut the dog’s butt puffs (they have very floofy hair along the back of their back legs) so they don’t pee on them. I’m terrible at it. If they would sit still and let me do it with clippers, I might be better. But they run from the clippers, so I have to use scissors. We also cut those mats behind our dogs’ ears, but there’s so much fur no one can tell there’s a small bald spot back there. 🙂
      I’ve cut Hub’s hair, but only when it’s really long and he only gets it cut straight across (no layers or anything)…and I still suck at it. LOL I’ve stopped doing it because *I* get anxious about getting it straight. Had the same issue with Mom…I kept going back to try to snip long spots that I missed. It’s very OCD of me! Mom has dark hair, almost black, though now it’s mostly gray with some black. I don’t think it showed everything, but I have issues, so… 😉

      • joey

        January 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm

        I had to desensitize Sadie to the clippers. One day our groomer just went to town on her and she was so UNFLUFFY I cried. I don’t know what happened, but I never took her back. Between you, me, The Mister and whoever reads this, I think my MIL may have asked the groomer to do it. (We lived there then.) It took four months to grow it back to fluffy.
        I turn the clippers on every time I brush her. I stop brushing and let her smell them, set them down, brush her, pick the clippers back up and touch her in different areas with the wrong end. I do the same with the scissors, making snip-snip noises. She’s still mildly lip-lickin nervous, but she lets me and it’s getting easier and better for both of us. Now, I cannot do her nails. Just cannot. I take her to the vet for that! I can’t even be in the room when they do her nails. I cry outside the door. She sounds like she’s being tortured 😦

      • meANXIETYme

        January 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        We tried to desensitize with the clippers and Le Moo will allow it briefly, but it’s so stressful for both of us that I find using the scissors just faster and easier. And since I don’t do the puffs but maybe 2 or 3 times a year, I just suck it up. I clip between her pads more often than that with the scissors, but again it’s less stressful to use the stupid scissors. The major problem is both dogs will JERK their feet away (even with scissors) and I find it easier to deal with the scissors when they do that than the (heavy and noisy) clippers.
        As for their nails…well, I’ve actually gotten pretty good at that. BUT, I basically was clipping small amounts every week to get them desensitized to that. Then I had those surgeries and couldn’t get on the floor with them… But they did pretty well even with the time-lapse afterwards. I still only snip off very small amounts at a time (both dogs have some black nails, which are impossible to find the quick!). Plus I have that quick-stop powder sitting at the ready. Luckily, I haven’t had an issue cutting their quicks. But neither dog cries when I do anything, they just either pull away or leave the room altogether. LOL
        I can’t imagine having to listen to a dog cry while they’re being groomed or have their nails clipped. I’d probably cry with them, too.

      • joey

        January 29, 2016 at 8:19 pm

        You would. Cause you love your dogs. lol Sadie has those black nails, too. I did the other dogs’ nails, but then they didn’t cry.
        I’m totally jealous about the nail clipping. I often wonder WTF has happened to my dog in her pre-Joey days. I just…*sigh* She’s loved now. Cared for. Spoiled. I know you understand, so I’ll just stop.

      • meANXIETYme

        January 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm

        Yeah, I know the feeling. We’ve never once hit a dog in our household, yet Butthead’s first inclination is to lower her head and move slightly away. She’s gotten better, but in the beginning it was SO sad. Le Moo still withdraws at times, and often will not look you in the face. I wish I knew what had happened and who I need to beat the shit out of over it, but all we can really do is love them now. And hope that they feel the love more than the fear and pain in the past.
        Yeah, okay, I’m done. Pardon me while I go hug my pups. You go give Sadie a hug from me. 🙂

  2. April

    February 1, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I love snow but I’m not sure I would like that much snow. I’m glad to hear your mom is eating and feels like visiting with others. I haven’t cut my hair for so long because I can’t find a style I like. I feel like I’m rubbing my hair in the face of those who have lost theirs when I go to the oncologist. Positive wishes going your way.

    • meANXIETYme

      February 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I hate getting my hair cut because I never know what to tell them. And I feel the same way about my hair with my mom but she made us all promise not to cut our hair. So I usually wear my hair up in a clip so it’s less noticeable.


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