Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life on Chemo

Well, I had my 3rd chemo treatment on Monday. I was tired when I went in the door and more tired when I left. I also felt a little queasy, possibly because I didn't eat breakfast that morning. I hadn't slept particularly well the night before, either. Some of the meds I take can tend to make sleep a little hard to come by. The muscle relaxer can cause insomnia. And on the day I get the chemo they hit me with a massive dose of steroids, which I follow at home with more steroids for the next 3 days. The steroids can make you antsy, which interrupts my sleep as well. So I generally sleep for a couple of hours at a time, wake up for a while, then go back to sleep. It's kinda annoying, but it isn't so bad. At least I'm not trying to work while going through all this. If I need a nap, I can take one. I don't know how the women who work through their cancer treatment do it!

Okay, I'm going to post some websites now that offer scarves and hats for chemo patients... or anyone else who is looking for a head covering. First I'll list the sites I've actually ordered from, or who have sent me something for free. Yep, I said free! Amazingly, there are people out there who want to help just for the sake of helping.

First up is The Lydia Project. I mentioned them in an earlier post, so I won't go into a lot of detail on them. They will send a homemade tote back, filled with encouraging and useful items, to any women with cancer. They will also send encouraging emails or cards, or make phone calls throughout the patients treatment. If you happen to live in an area where they have volunteers, they will even make personal visits. It's a wonderful program and well worth supporting or contacting if you know any woman with cancer.

Next up is Heavenly Hats, an organization that collects and sends brand new hats to anyone with hair loss due to any medical condition. Men, women, children, whoever is in need. The organization was started by a ten year old young man in 2001. He and his mother still run the organization with the help of volunteers. It is another wonderful program, and one that deserves support. They offer many ideas of ways to help that are not just centered around monetary donations. I have requested a hat package from them, but have not received it yet. I'll post more when I do.

Now we'll talk about the Good Wishes Program run by Larurie Erickson through France Luxe. Here is their Mission Statement:
Our mission is simple: to provide, free of charge, one beautiful It’s a Wrap or Good Wishes Scarf to women and children experiencing the thinning or loss of hair as a result of illness or treatment, to in some small way, to ease their journey. Our goal is to provide a small bit of comfort and share the power of positive thinking and good wishes with these individuals on their path to healing and recovery.
I requested one of their It's a Wrap's a few weeks ago. Laurie herself responded via email to my request and asked me to select a couple of patterns I liked. I wound up narrowing it down to three. I received my package from them a few days ago containing one of the It's a Wrap patterns I had chosen. Included with the wrap was a sweet card signed by everyone in the office offering words of hope and encouragement. It was very sweet. Even Mark seemed moved by it. (No tears or anything, but he had to admit that it was a very nice gesture. LOL) The Wrap is very simple, but there are just so many beautiful fabrics that they use that I had a difficult time narrowing down my choices.
This is the style I got, though mine is actually a green background with teal flowers. Same print, just different colors.
Okay, so that's it for the freebies. Well, the American Cancer Society has offices all over the place that I believe offer hats, scarves, and/or wigs free of charge to cancer patients. I have not visited one of their offices, but I've read pamphlets from the Dr.'s office that mentioned them, as well as seen them mentioned on their website. Also, they partner with many private businesses from hair salons to wig shops, to others who sell head coverings to provide free wigs to cancer patients.

So, here are some of the places I have actually ordered from. I got many of these sites via the Cancer Survivors Network. The ladies there are just a font of information on pretty much any subject relating to breast cancer. Someone mentioned an Etsy shop called The Hat Cottage so I paid it a visit and just fell in love with a couple of their hats. Had to buy them. Primarily, I loved this first one. It just thought it was so adorable. And they ship a second item at a reduced charge so I picked up the second one mostly for that reason. I have worn both of them, though, and I like each of them.
I just fell in love with both the fabric and that adorable little ribbon at the back. I couldn't resist it!

Turns out she doesn't have any more of the one I ordered, but this one is made the same and the fabric pattern is similar.
The American Cancer Society also produces a catalog with all sorts of products from wigs to hats and scarves as well as bras and just about anything else you can think of. It's called TLC and I ordered a couple of hats from them.
This one looks kinda stupid on me, so I haven't worn it. I might once the weather turns a little colder, though. We'll see.

Dingbat that I am, I didn't realize this one was actually a scarf with a hat-like brim. It still has to be tied at the back, which just sort of annoyed me a little since I thought it was pre-tied. Still, it is cute. I haven't worn it yet, though. 
Up next is Topsy Turban. They sell more than just turbans, though that is one of the things I bought from them. In general, I don't like the vast majority of the turbans I have seen. The style of them is just too weird for me. But, I liked this one because it came with one scarf and it can be paired with any others I already have. I loved that idea. Plus, while most of everything else I have purchased is what I think of as more for summer, this had is definitely for cooler weather.
I got the black one because I figured it would match all my scarves.
I also bought this one because I thought it was cute and I loved the idea of a scarf that was pre-tied. Plus, it looked like something that would be pretty easy to duplicate out of my own fabrics, which it did indeed prove to be.

I think that's it for the things I've ordered. There are other hats and such that I've picked up here and there, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

Here is a not so short list of other places I have visited. I have not ordered from any of them, though I have seen some things I liked. I'm just including it for reference. All of them can be found by doing a simple Google search for "Chemo Hats" or "Chemo Scarves."

Chemo Savy
Headcovers Unlimited
Just In Time (so named because they tailor their catalog to the season)
The Beau Beau (VERY expensive, but beautiful.)
Hats 2 Cover
Hats, Scarves and More (They have hats, scarves and other accessories for Women, Men, Teens, & Children)
Hats For You (They have hats and scarves of all kinds.)

There are no doubt countless others out there. Etsy.com has bunches of stores that sell all kinds of hats and scarves. Just do a search for "Chemo Hats" or even hats in general. Also, many, like those sold by The Hat Cottage I mentioned earlier, are marketed both as chemo hats and as scrub hats for nurses. In fact, it was one of the nurses in the recovery room when I had my lumpectomy that first made me consider looking at scrub hats. She was wearing a really cute hat that looked a lot (in style) like the second one I ordered from The Hat Cottage.

So, here are the resources I've found for head coverings. They offer all kinds of options for anyone going through this mess. I just couldn't see myself doing the wig thing, so I'm sticking with hats and scarves.

I mentioned that the second photo of the pre-tied scarf from Topsy Turban turned out to be easy to duplicate. Several days ago my friends Carolyn & Mary (made famous by video of "The Woman With the Crown" that I published in a recent post) got together and used that scarf as a pattern to make me scores more. (11 to be precise.) Well, we cut out and partially assembled 22 of them. They were keeping half to take to a craft show coming up early in October. They managed to fully finish 4 of the scarves for me. I'll get the rest when they get them finished. I don't mind the wait, since they're the ones doing all the work. And the fabrics I took over - as well as some they provided - were just gorgeous. I'll post some pics of their stunning work as soon as I figure out how to show them off to their best advantage without trying to model them myself. Not feeling much like posting pics of myself right now. LOL Needless to say, though, Carolyn and Mary are both artists. Carolyn makes the most stunning quilt projects I have ever seen, and Mary is a true seamstress as well as an embroiderer. Between the two of them, I doubt there's anything they don't know about fabric and/or sewing. They've been very generous to teach me many things, though I have a LONG way to go before I can even scratch the surface of their combined knowledge. But they are much more than friends who sew. They are emotional, spiritual, and trusted advisers and supporters. Mary is my pastor's wife and has taught me so much just by her example. Carolyn is a very dear friend who I have the utmost respect for. She is the most young at heart 70 year old I have ever known. I have never spent time with her that she didn't bring multiple smiles to my face. Usually I laugh out loud. I love them both dearly and am so thankful that God brought them into my life.

Having said all this, I need to make mention of a desperate situation in Mary's family. Her granddaughter, Eden, was struck terribly ill earlier this afternoon. She was having convulsions and/or seizures. And ambulance was called and as of the last report I received, she was not breathing and as the ambulance was rushing her to the hospital it had to stop twice to work on her. The situation is dire and in need of much prayer. PLEASE PRAY FOR HER! God hears and answers our prayers. And whatever happens with Eden, I know God is in control and will grant grace and mercy to her family in this time of crisis.

That's it for now, I think. I still have much to say, and I don't post as often as I should, but sometimes it's hard to sit down and just do it. Sadly, I'm often too addled by the "chemo brain" to string coherent thoughts together anyway. LOL Everyone take care, and remember to keep counting your blessings and giving God the credit for them all.

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