For some there’s the fear of not knowing

Published on August 21, 2014


How was your week besides wondering if summer was over? Mine was spent in wonderment as well: would I end up in hospital, would the rest of my hair fall out, would I be able to eat without running to the bathroom? Well I’m over the hump on the blood count dropping too low for this chemo round, I still have some hair on my head and only two Imodium a day. Woohoo.

I went looking at yard sales this week – I love yard sales and can’t pass one. I stopped at one on the west side of New Glasgow and the lady recognized me from the paper. She told me how she enjoys reading my column. I thought it was very nice of her to tell me so. When you’re on this side of the pen (ha, yes, I still write it in long hand first) you don’t really know what you the readers think. Those of you who follow my column, thank you, because I enjoy writing it.

I decided to walk around the block in town this week. Oh my, what was I thinking before I started this fight 11 years ago, and for years after I ran, I lifted weights and went to the YMCA at least four days a week. Well that’s just a memory, but every once in awhile my brain has a relapse and I think I better get walking or exercising. Then my body pipes up, what do you think you’re doing, you can hardly put up with an ingrown toenail and you want to pound pavement? I don’t think so. At least I still have the will, and the YMCA membership. If I give that up then I really gave up.

This round of chemo I had a lot of problems with my mouth. The medications made my lips blister, so they gave me prescription mouthwash – called magic mouthwash – it is magic and numbs any soreness instantly. My throat is just like it’s burnt all the way down my esophagus, and some foods make you feel like you’re choking. My teeth feel sharp on my tongue, which feels raw. To top it off, I was chewing gum, bit hard and, yup, almost took the inside of my cheek off.

My skin is extremely dry. I moisturize but nothing helps. The heavy chemo is causing acne – just what I need at this age. My face is so dry you can feel the skin tightening, like it’s pulling. Ha, you’re thinking facelift – if it feels like this I don’t want one.

Applying makeup goes fairly well until I get to the eyeliner. Pencil liner fades away after a couple of hours leaving a dull look, so the liquid eyeliner over the dry is essential to make my eyes bright. Sounds easy and it would be if I had more than a dozen eyelashes to hold it from going in my eye until the darn stuff dries. And even some days when I think this is going great, then my eyes water (they run all the time, same with my nose, from the meds) and into my eye the liner goes, I have a mess and have to start again. So a 10-minute makeup can turn into a 20-minute disaster repair. Some days it goes great and I look in the mirror and think, why bother, once I put the do-rag on my head (even if it does match my eye shadow) people are only going to think, what a sin, she’s sick… not what I see… oh this matches great. Looking good girl – woohoo.

I was at my father’s today, and on the way I stopped at a couple of shops. I told him some people who are usually friendly and talk a lot didn’t chat at all. It was like they didn’t even know me. They hadn’t seen me since I lost my hair and started wearing a bandana (which I call a do-rag). I didn’t really change my looks that much did I? He said some people might not show it or say it but they might be scared of you, because you’re sick. I said you can’t catch cancer. He said he knows, but some people even if they would never admit it are afraid – because the cause is not known. So don’t be upset about it, it’s just the fear they have of not knowing. I guess, it just makes me sad.

While there, I went to my brother and sister-in-law’s and put a mirror up in her downstairs bathroom. She didn’t know I was putting it there. Well when Tena came home and went in, she almost scared herself to death. Ha, that would have been a Kodak moment. I would love to have seen the look on her face. I’m always adding stuff to her place to see if she notices. She did this one for sure.

Weight-wise, still need a belt – woohoo.

Have a good week folks. And yes the flying grasshoppers are out.


Kathy Golemiec is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. She writes a weekly column on her experiences.