|Not Ilia's I-cups|
Technically, my tumor was staged as IIA, but upon its departure from my body, it was found to have been 2 millimeters away from attaching to my skin. So, while that was considered a "clean margin" by my surgeon, it was considered as Stage 3B by my oncologist, aka "put it up to 11". The end result was 50% more chemo than the standard course.
Thirteen days after my first dance with chemo, I was sitting in front of my computer trying to deal with various English-challenged citizens of Bangalore when I felt something tickle my face. No, it wasn't General Ilia with a feather. Strands of my hair had just bailed on me en masse. I put up with it for maybe two hours before I decided that I didn't want to look like the "before" in a Rogaine ad. I couldn't bear to shave my head right away so I cut my long hair to Requisite Butch Length. However, my RBL hair failed at being Sapphic and kept on falling out. Four days later, I surrendered to reality. My husband sang this song as he shaved my head.
At this point I had told only a few people outside of my family that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had decided to be open about it after I was "all done". (In reality, one is never actually "all done" with cancer until they're dead.) I'm not sure why I did this, but I sent a few friends pictures of me wearing a bandanna, wearing my wig, and bald. Luke commented that my bandanna picture made me look like a white Aunt Jemima. Everyone else said stuff like "You look great!" and "That suits you!". To this day I don't know if Luke was just trying to extend our eternal pissing contest or if he was being honest and everyone else was full of shit. The wig looked OK, but it felt like my head was wearing a hairy condom. Thus, Lieutenant Ilia the Bald was born. I would wear the hair condom in public only because I didn't want to have people look at me with that "she's gonna die" look.
Throughout the six rounds of chemo (one every 3 weeks = 18 weeks of hell), I still could not believe that this was now me. The evil steroid Decadron which prevented me from copious Exorcist-style barfing had made me gain 20 pounds in one week. (Suck it, Supersize Me Guy!) Also, I had to take a leave of absence from my job. I had just enough left to acknowledge my family's existence, and anything past that was unpossible.
After the fourth round of chemo, my saline implant started to leak. I'm sure that was my fault, but damned if I know how I did it. My short term memory was totally shot. (Who are you again?) My plastic surgeon refused to operate on me until at least six weeks after my last round of chemo. So now my husband had a deflated-boobed fat bald lady to sleep with. Surely there's a "tube" out there for that look?
After it was all done, I wanted to go back to "normal" as quickly as possible. However, there is no normal anymore. It's a twisted form of existence, but being on the green side of the grass is all that counts.
And now, back to the funny.