A String of Sundays; or, Who Needs Eyelashes Anyway?

I’ve been home in Madison now since December 20 — about a week. Since then, I’ve visited with friends, shoveled a lot of snow, picked up some friends at the airport, dropped another friend off at the airport, shoveled more snow, spent lots of time with neighbor John’s cat while he’s gone for the holidays, done several “around-the-house” projects (mostly replacing electrical outlets in the kitchen, which seems to take me forever), raked the snow off the roof with my homemade roof rake, and shoveled yet more snow. But mostly, I’ve been lounging around the house reading a lot. If I’m not reading online (NY Times, Slate, posted items on Facebook, etc.), then I’m reading magazines (The New Yorker, This Old House), local rags (The Isthmus, 77 Square), or books (McCarthy’s The Road, a memoir of life with Charles Mingus by his widow called Tonight At Noon, The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins).

It’s like Sunday everyday.

Sometimes I feel lazy. But mostly, especially after doing something that takes some physical effort — shoveling snow, let’s say — I recognize how physically weak I still am after undergoing high dose chemo, and being confined to a hospital room for nearly six weeks in total. It doesn’t take much for me to get winded and get my heart rate up. Even working on the electrical receptacles makes me tired.

It was beautiful here in Madison on this true Sunday, with a light overnight snowfall cleaning up the streets and the sun shining brightly. After concentrating on house projects all day, we managed to go out for a walk before the sun went completely down (it’s generally dark here by 4:30 this time of year). Then we went to the Washington Hotel Coffee Room, my favorite coffee shop on the planet that happens to be around the corner from our house. It’s the first time I’ve been there in months, and it was nice to be back. On the way home Dawn said, “It’s nice to be out doing something as a couple again.” Amen.

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How Cancer Alters One’s Self-Image Part 352: Eyelashes grow back, don’t they?

Unlike last year’s chemotherapy, the high dose stuff seems to have really taken all of the hair from my head. Last year I even remember writing a post about how it would’ve been nice if chemo disposed of my ear hair for a while. Well, this time it did. Add to that my eyebrows and eyelashes, and what you’ve got is one bald brother.

Dawn took this photo of my eye  this evening -- if you look closely you can also note the lack of eyebrow and ear hair.

Dawn took this photo of my eye this evening -- if you look closely you can also note the lack of eyebrow and ear hair.

On Christmas Eve, I got into a discussion about hair with my mother-in-law Georgia when she noticed the still relatively thick hair on my arms. “Yeah, it’s weird,” I said. There is a patch on my left arm where my PICC-line was that is bald because they shaved it and it has not grown back, and the hair usually on the back of my hands is gone, but for the most part my arm hair is as always. Last year, I shaved my arms to avoid slowly pulling it out everytime a piece of tape was removed after being poked with a needle for lab work or a chemo IV. It never grew back, just like the PICC-line patch this year. I postulated that the reason my arm (and for the most part leg) hair remained was due to the type of growth pattern normally associated with it. “It seems like the hair that grows continuously is the hair that falls out,” I said to Georgia. But she made a fine point: “Eyelashes don’t grow continously do they?” And so my theory was shot through. So far, I’ve been unable to find any useful information about how eyelashes grow (frankly, I quickly tired of wading through the cosmetic information surrounding eyelash growth on Google — including this hot news story).

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2 Responses to “A String of Sundays; or, Who Needs Eyelashes Anyway?”

  1. As I read the first paragraph here, I thought, “What a miracle! This recently hospital-bound dude is shoveling snow!” I’m sure the distance to your previous strength seems vast, but my gawd, I am encouraged to hear that you’re shoveling snow. And being a couple! Miracles, I tell you.

  2. My sister is a makeup artist, and she said that eyelashes grow to a certain point and then they fall out. According to her they grow very slowly, she ripped hers out by removing false eyelashes to quickly and it took almost a year for them to grow back, but they did. I think you should be like my Grandma and wear false eyelashes and draw your eyebrows on.

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