Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saving my hair

How vain can I be? My friend Nancy said that Beaumont Hospital gives scalp coolers to its chemo patients. You wear it while you are getting chemo and an hour or two afterwards and it's 75% effective in preventing hair loss even with Adriamycin. They presumably rent them out to their non-patients but I see nothing on their website. I did look this up and it seems to be valid. If I don't make a trip out to Royal Oak, I suppose I could construct something.

The last few years seemed to have aged me. Alot of it has to do with weight gain. I had gained 10- 15 lbs during my forties but things have snowballed in my fifties especially last year with the broken arm. To be fat and bald just will be too depressing aside from all the other crap I will experience. The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday on 'nocebos', the evil twin of placebo. Basically if you tell a patient of negative side effects, they will experience them in greater frequency than if you didn't tell them. About 15 years ago a truck nearby spilled about a quart of Drano, which for the record, is odorless and non-volatile. It was reported as a 'chemical spill' and several people from up to a mile away were hospitalized from the 'fumes'. Tightening of their chests and difficulty breathing were the main complaints. I am trying very hard to immunize myself from this 'nocebo' effect.

It was very cold yesterday and I didn't run though the roads were clear. Nancy, one of my roommates from my Italian stay, came over with her picture album. She liked to take pictures of the people whereas I concentrated on the scenery. We had a good time remembering our experiences. I seem to already have chemobrain as I couldn't remember for the life of me this town we went to for its winery. It finally occurred to me in the middle of the night-Vittorito. I had loved saying its name-I can even roll the 'r' as its letter combinations put my tongue in the right place. (I seem to have especially poor tongue control and a poor memory for sounds-I had numerous speech defects as a kid-some of which persist today. Worse it seems to be genetic as Josh needed speech therapy for as it turned out, poor tongue control despite his superior control of every other muscle. Naomi, despite her other cognitive weaknesses, is an expert mimic and even corrects my Italian pronunciation) I digress, per usual.

We then went to Silvio's on campus. Silvio is from the Abruzzo region, Chieti, which is much closer to the Adriatic than we were. On Tuesdays, he bakes Pugliese bread. As Nancy's relatives are from Puglia, she was thrilled. They featured a soup-dinderlion and bean. Don't you mean danderlion? No dinderlion-some sort of bitter green. They let us taste. It was good. The place is covered with posters from the Abruzzo region-including a poster of Sulmona, our favorite city. Everything is organic-a term I hate because it means something a whole lot different to a chemist. But they do have interesting food there-truffle pizza, for example, even though the place is usually too hot to tolerate and is sort of divey looking.

The chemobrain study is back on. The MRI had broken down and I thought the chance of them fitting me in with the now pent-up demand would be slim.

Right now, the roads are covered with a fine dusting of ice crystals. I am waiting for this to melt.

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