If you’ve been following me in this blog, or on FB, or IG, you will know that I recently ‘came out’ about having just a wee bit of bc. It’s out and I’m cancer free, but I have just started 12 rounds of chemo as a proactive measure for the future. That’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about how asking for help benefits more than just yourself.
So, when you ‘do chemo’ as they say, for bc, you lose your hair. It’s pretty much a given. UNLESS you utilize this thing called a ‘cold cap.’ And after doing extensive research and really talking honestly about it, the hubby and I decided that we should give it a try. We feel that I’m going to be better able to maintain a positive outlook if I don’t lose all my hair. A cold cap is basically a neoprene helmet filled with gel stuff that you freeze with dry ice and put on your head while you’re getting infusions. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Not at all. First, it does have to be dry ice, not regular ice, so you have to find a place to buy 60 lbs of it the day before your infusion. Then you have to strategically pack a cooler one cap at a time (you get four caps) with time in between and get them to the right temperature. Then, 50 minutes before the chemo starts, you have to put the first cap on. Then you change that and two others after it every 20 minutes. After that you change it every 25 minutes throughout your treatment AND THREE HOURS afterwards. In other words, I’m driving home with the cap on and we actually have to pull over into banks and gas stations, etc. to change caps because we live about 35 minutes away from where I get treatments. So as it turns out, the damn cap is the biggest pain in the butt of all of this. They give you drugs to counteract the chemo side effects so that’s not even the problem.
Fortunately, I’m married to an Engineer. A geeky, amazingly wonderful Engineer who LOVES spreadsheets. Two days before my first treatment he comes home with the Google Sheets app on his phone with a spreadsheet set up so that all he needs to do it plug in the time of the infusion, hit enter and the sheet magically tells him EXACTLY when to pack each cap in the cooler and EXACTLY when they need to be placed on my head. (Seriously, I couldn’t even tell you WHAT to put on a spreadsheet for something like this let alone how to make one work. Just sayin’.) Yesterday, I’m sitting in my chair all hooked up and he comes in to change a cap. And here’s the thing, every single time he walks in with a new cap, I feel guilty. I feel like crap that this poor man is working his butt off just to save me my hair while I just sit there. So I’m talking to my oncology nurse about it and she says, ‘Don’t. He needs something to do. He needs to know he’s helping. Because otherwise, he feels helpless and it’s all you going through this.’ And I realized, I’d never thought about that. Right now, there are so many people in my ‘framily’ offering up help. And up until recently I think I seriously thought that that’s just what people say because that’s what you’re supposed to say and do even if you don’t really want to. But in fact, these amazing people really want to help! And I realized, well, when I say it, I mean it. So why wouldn’t they? (Yea, I get that there’s a ‘not worthy enough’ belief floating around somewhere in me…)
Growing up in my family, we were taught to deal with stuff ourselves. Put our big girl and boy pants on and just do it. Asking for help or God forbid having to rely on someone else for something was for weaker people. You just didn’t do it. Well right now, I have to. I can’t do it myself. You can NOT put these things on yourself and do all the things that need to be done around them when you’re hooked up to dripping drugs that are making you feel punky. So. What’s the moral of the story?
Ask for help. Because when you do, you’re helping someone else.
The other piece of that is that it really is kind of liberating to say, ‘Hey, could you help me out here? I could use a hand.’ There’s just something oh-so-authentic about it. There’s just something real about it. So do it. Ask for help.
(And I SO know you all want a picture of me in the cap. But it’s just so bad. I’m not really that vain, but yea, no. Not for public consumption. Only two people have seen it so far and they’ve been sworn in. Sorry.)
Live and Learn in Munay…
ps. Don’t forget to check out my podcast with ‘The Psychic Wives’ here on Apple Podcasts! And give us a Like and a review!