Friday, April 3, 2009

F.A.Q. Part 2

These are seriously some of my most emailed questions:

Hi Sheri! You have a beautiful head! I had no idea how perfectly shaped your head was until all your hair fell out. Speaking of your hair falling you just lose just the hair on top of your head?

(this is my most commonly asked question at the moment) The answer is no. I will eventually lose all the hair on my body. While I'm not unhappy about not having to shave my legs for a few months - I find it hard to be that happy because I get in the shower and have no hair to shampoo. You can't imagine how weird it is to get in the shower and lean your head back in the water - you know, like you're going to wash your hair. But there is no hair there. (Habit.) I still use shampoo to wash my scalp though. I wonder about why I do that. Who knows. My next big sad moment will be when my eyebrows and eyelashes fall out.

When you finish chemo, are you going to have radiation?


Why not?

I don't need it. As far as the doctors are concerned, every bit of my cancer was removed when I had my mastectomy. I also didn't have any cancer found in my lymph nodes. Radiation is not needed when there isn't a tumor to blast or no concern that some cancer was left behind. The doctors believe they got all mine. Hey! They've never been wrong before. Trust me...nothing to worry about.

How do you stay so strong through this?

Please feel free to ask me the names of the friends and family I call so that I can scream, cry and whine to them often. These are the people that might raise an eyebrow at how strong I am. I do fall apart. It ain't pretty.

I've heard you talk about a port or port-o-cath several times. What is that?

My port or port-o-cath was surgically put in place at the same time I had my mastectomy. It's in my chest close to my right arm pit area. It feels like a little plastic piece under my skin. The nurses poke a needle into it and clamps it down in order to give me my chemo meds which are fed to me through an IV. They didn't have to give me a port, but it makes life easier on everyone if I do have it. This way I don't have to have an IV put into my arm each treatment. Also, the chemo meds are really harsh and could tear up the veins in my arms. I posted an old picture I took of me with my fingers around my port.

What do you do while getting your chemo?

Nothing much. My main job is to sit there while they feed me the 3 chemo meds plus my drug trial medication one at a time, one after another. Last time I slept for awhile and I texted with friends on my phone. Basically I sit in a chair for 4+ hours doing nothing - so I do exactly what I do when I'm at home, but hooked up to an IV machine.

I feel so helpless to help you. How can I help?

You're perfect. You are reaching out to me and showing you love me. You're thinking about me and praying. I couldn't ask for more than that. Unless you want to come over and clean my toilets. I'll warn you now, though, Jacob seems to have one serious aim issue. What the heck is up with that? It's a huge target and he's close to it!

Can I do a fund raiser for you?

That is sweet and thoughtful, but not necessary. I'm very blessed with very good medical insurance. We have a yearly maximum out of pocket and we are able to cover that. I really thought this through and decided to have my cancer detected in January. Hopefully by the end of this year, this will all be a distant memory. I know you want to help, but really all I need are your prayers.

How soon after you get your chemo treatment do you start getting sick?

Pretty quickly. Couple hours. Last time I was wishing I had taken a barf bag with me for the drive home.

How long are you sick after your treatment?

Last time I was sick about 2 weeks and this third week was me whining about my fissure more than anything else. I feel certain y'all didn't get tired of my complaining about my torn anus.

There is a button and link on your blog now that says Mothers With Cancer. What's that all about?

I am so glad you asked me that! That is a super wonderful website called and they have asked me to be a contributing writer for them. I've not written anything yet, because I've been too busy flipping out these last few days about my next upcoming chemo treatment. But I will get it done and hope you pop over there to read some of the other posts by these fantastic women who, like me, are mothers with or who have had cancer.

I love you!

Yeah, that's not really a question. But I love you, too.

P.S. Mad props to my cousin Valerie H. for bringing me the most perfect butt tube to sit on. I could actually sit up today without screaming in pain. She brought me other wonderful stuff, but that tube gave me such great comfort, I thought she deserved a shout out. More mad props go out to my dad who was the one who could figure out how to blow up that idiot thing. Val and I looked pretty stupid. It was tougher to blow up than you think, ok?


  1. Hi Sheri,

    I just recently started following your blog. What an excellent post. It covers some really good basic questions.

    I look forward to reading more.


  2. Hi Sheri,
    We just wanted to let you know will be thinking and praying about you "more" than we already do. We love you and stay strong! Matt, Chrissy and Matthew What is your email address?

  3. Hi Sheri
    Yep you do have a beautiful head. You might get to keep your eyelashes and eyebrows. I have all my upper lashes though I am missing alot of the lower lashes. I have about half of my eyebrows-strangely the darker hairs were the ones that fell out. I had them until the the last Taxol treatment (I had the same chemo as you). Hang in there-you are doing great. The Taxol won't be so tough on your digestive system. Ow!

  4. Ah Sheri - you will get through this. As sick as it sounds, chemo will get into a pattern of feeling like crap one week and then quasi normal the next two. Thank God you don't have anything in your nodes. Just thank God.

    You said this:
    "I still use shampoo to wash my scalp though. I wonder about why I do that everytime I do. Who knows. My next big sad moment will be when my eyebrows and eyelashes fall out."

    Keep massaging your scalp every day. I used conditioner after all my hair was gone because it felt good. This will stimulate the scalp, keep it healthy and allow strong healthy hair to grow back in. Get yourself some Nioxin serum at the beauty supply store. It helps to keep your scalp healthy as well. Don't let anyone sell you the shampoo yet - just the serum (Renee and I have both used it - it came highly recommended by my hairdresser who also used it when she lost her hair to steroid asthma treatment).

    I kept my eyelashes and brows for all of chemo and they fell out a month after it stopped. Hope this is the case for you as having eyelashes (plus mascara) seemed to make it all a little more tolerable.

    I highly recommend the "Look Good, Feel Better" program. Check with your patient advocate at the hospital. Lots of free cosmetics, help applying them, wearing wigs, and tips for taking care of the special skin needs of chemo patients. It's like a fun day at the spa. Me, I was skeptical and not a girly girl but I had a blast going with my mom.


    Keep up with the positive outlook. Whining is great - get it out.


  5. I appreciate your patience with the questions, and the humor. You bring light whereever you go! Blessings to you!

  6. Hey- post a picture of that "butt tube" cuz I am pretty sure that the picture in my head is wrong about that one. :0)

  7. I felt the same way about my hair when it fell out. I still washed my head everyday and put lotion on it too! Someone told me that it is good to keep your scalp stimulated. I did not loose my eyebrows completly. They thinned out a goo bit, I put mascara on them to make them look thicker. I did not miss shaving one bit!