Monday, October 26, 2009

35 down

As promised, here are two shots of my new driver's license picture. They're a little blurry because of the special film used to deter crafty kids from making fake i.d.'s, etc.

I still can't reconcile the face in the picture with my own. There's still a residual fullness to my face that I attribute to steroids.

I've also taken close ups of my scalp so you can see what's happening with my hair.

I'm almost 14 months out from the transplant and I still can't grow a full head of hair. Dr. K. keeps telling me it's busulfan hair and will grow back. I've done a bit of research and found that as a result of receiving busulfan, I'm lucky to have what I do. There isn't a lot of data available on the net, but from the little I've found it appears that busulfan doesn't actually cause your hair to fall out if given during regular chemo. I assume this to mean while you actually have hair and are just beginning a regimen. For those who have received busulfan after transplant, hair regrowth becomes a problem. A study that followed transplant patients who received the drug post transplant showed that a very large percentage had spotty regrowth and diffuse alopecia.

I'd say I fit the mold. My stylist is wonderful and has done much to make me presentable, but when something doesn't exist, you can't pretend that it does. I wish it didn't bother me as much as it does, but I feel like this is the last road block to passing as normal in public. I do occasionally go out without a hat, but find it's easier to cover up to avoid the curious stares and questions.

I worry that it will make it difficult to conceal the fact that I've had cancer when I'm finally able to go back to school or start interviewing for jobs. It's such a petty vanity when I consider all that we've fought for and I wish I could rise above it. Unfortunately, I'm only human and haven't been able to find a way to cope with it.

I've started researching wigs online and my stylist has given me the name of a great place to find a wig in town. I just haven't been able to reason myself into actually buying a wig. I feel like I'll be giving in, but at the same time I'm sick to death of dressing like I'm 12 to make a baseball cap seem like a reasonable accessory.

My transplant PA has given a thumbs up to the minoxidil route. Chris is wary of me introducing a new chemical to my regimen and so I'm holding off until he feels more comfortable with the idea. Right now, I just want to pass for normal.

As for more mundane things, I baked cupcakes to celebrate my 35th birthday. They came from a mix, but were frosted with chocolate ganache frosting made from scratch to give them a little cache'. For those interested in the frosting recipe, it's 12 ounces of semi-sweet morsels and 2 cups of cream heated over medium low heat. You have to constantly stir it until it reaches the consistency of loosely set pudding. It takes about 30 minutes and is well worth it. It's very much like the center of a dark chocolate truffle. Once it comes off the heat, you have to refrigerate it for a few hours until it's cool. If you over heat it, the fat separates and it won't set on it's own. This happened to me last night, so I poured the entire concoction into the stand mixer and whipped it on medium speed for 15 minutes until it came back together.

I managed to eat two cupcakes for lunch before I had to raise the white flag. The ganache is rich. This is the first birthday in three years that wasn't spent either in the hospital or in the clinic. I'm going to finish celebrating by folding some laundry. Who says the life of a transplantee isn't glamorous?


Susan C said...

I think you look beautiful in your ID photo.

And HAPPY 35th Birthday! What a great reason to celebrate!

LacubriousOne said...

I'm drooling for the cupcakes and ganache right now!

Ann said...

Thanks, Susan. :)

Lacubrious, if you lived closer I'd share. :)

Anonymous said...

I really like the new id picture!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

I've been following your blog for a couple years now. My husband Brendan (31) was diagnosed with a high risk AML in January of 2007. He had his transplant in November 2007. II'm mentioning this because I wanted to tell you that something similar happened with his hair and it has gotten better over time. In fact it's gotten to a point where it's barely noticeable. I can really only tell when it's freshly cut. Just wanted to offer some hope that it can get better. :)

By the way - I think you look great!


Bec said...

You look amazing-I know your hair is a worry for you, but you look more like 25 than 35. Lets celebrate being at home and enjoying your space for your birthday! Love Ya!

Nancy said...

Hey Ann, YOU LOOK MARVELOUS!!! Your hair is coming in and will continue to do so. You are as cute as ever!!!

Happy 35th birthday... hey, you are catching up with me.... NAWT!!
I'd make the cupcakes because they sound heavenly and you know how I love chocolate!!! The only problem is that I just finished losing some excess poundage and will have a hard time keeping it off through halloween and the holidays.... no extra temptations necessary...

Take care & have a great birthday at home!! love ya, n

Jim said...

You look great, Ann! And love to see your counts looking good. RBC will come around. Jim

PJ said...

Umm, cupcakes. Happy Birthday. As for the hair, go with makes you feel most comfortable. It's not permanent.

Daria said...

Happy 35th Ann!

All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Ann!

You look radiant! (and younger with a little fullness to your face) Don't buy a wig yet, your hair will fill in soon. Patience, little grasshopper!

Love and prayers,
Amanda F.

Dr. Swill said...

Hi Ann!

I wanted to let you know about an interesting cancer blog a group of cancer patients have been working on.

A fellow tongue cancer patient was sent home to die. There was nothing more than can be done. Cancer survivors ask him life altering questions.

Please read

Peace B