May 18, 2006

It’s real now

I was emailing with a dear friend earlier today and thought what I typed I should share with you all. So Susan, this might sound familiar.

The radiation has become very real to me in a few short days. I went to Roger’s appointments with him on Monday. The first appointment for the day was radiation. He wanted to be there before 8:00 a.m. so we had enough time to get all the way over to NW DC to make it in time for his 9:30 a.m. follow-up appointment at NRH with Dr. Milani. He had asked previously if I could come back and watch the procedure and he asked me to take pictures and record it from the monitors outside since I would not be allowed to stay in the room. That was fine with me.

I tried very hard to stay out of the way, but that wasn’t easy in the entrance of the radiation room and the two staff coming in and out and turning the lights on and off. So I didn’t get a good picture of Roger on the table with his mask. As Roger got on top of the table and the technician placed the mask on his face and locked him in, my first thought was that he looked like a Mexican wrestler. His mask has the eyes cut out because it was pushing on his eyeballs and making the procedure uncomfortable. That was my first thought. Then it hit me.

I was filled with this rush of sadness. I don’t know why. I’m tearing up now writing about it. It was sad to think of what Roger was going through. I don’t know why being there made it so real for me. I mean, it is his third week of radiation. I guess actually seeing him lying there locked into the table by a face mask made it a lot more real. I feel like I’ve used that word way too many times. Seeing it gave it complete authenticity.

Then a couple days later Roger told me that he thought he was starting to lose hair. I didn’t see any hair loss and thought that maybe because he knew he would lose hair he had a heightened awareness to any hair loss. He said he saw hair on his paper and plate. I thought he was jumping the gun a little bit. Then the next morning he told me a lot of hair came out in the shower. I, of course, was already gone for work. That evening I was sitting next to him on the couch and he showed me his head. That’s when I saw it myself. The hair line along the front side of the incision had receded in one area a lot. (See picture to left.) It was really weird because I didn’t think he’d actually have hair loss or I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing that almost scared me. I felt like, this is for real. He asked me if there was thinning anywhere else. And I told him it was thin in the back. I was actually shocked at how much scalp I could see. It bothered me that night and the next day. I guess because it’s really for real now.

He wants me to cut his hair this weekend even shorter than I did last weekend. My first thought when he first asked me was as soon as I took the clippers over his head all the hair would come out. I didn’t think it would be good, but it’s what he wants. I don’t think shaving his head will make it all come out. But the hairs that are falling out don’t have a root at the end, so it makes me think they will come out very easy. I guess we’ll see this weekend.

Stay tuned for the results.
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