I awake at my usual time 5:30 A.M. but do not get out of bed until 6. I have resorted to sleeping pills to help me rest. Without rest my body cannot heal so I begrudgingly take a tiny tablet each night to lull me into REM sleep. I have always had difficulty sleeping and was given a prescription for sleep aids after my husband died. I tried that for about 3 days and threw them away. This time however, sleep is not optional but necessary and so I follow the doctor’s orders. My plan was to shower and wash my hair but upon running my hands through my “bed head” of hair and seeing the amount of dark brown hair in my hands and on the counter I decide to go to work with dirty hair. My hair always cooperates better when it is slightly dirty anyway. I debate; do I dare touch my hair with a curling iron, will it break off at the touch of heat? I pray asking God to help me keep my hair until Friday. I am vain. I take the chance. Surprisingly, the iron doesn’t remove too many of my precious hairs. I whisper, “Thank you, God. Please help me keep it until Friday?” I starch it with hairspray so nothing will move. The plan is to shave my head this coming weekend after my second round of chemo. My eyes have dark purplish rings and bags underneath of them. I carefully dot makeup concealer to camouflage and apply the rest of my makeup. I finish and smile broadly satisfied with the way I look.
I am anxious to return to work for several reasons. I miss the customers and my household is single income. I am the source of it. I worry about the amount of time I have already taken for sick leave and am hoping the next round of chemo won’t be as difficult as the first and I can return to work sooner. I am employed by a large financial institution. We are not a bank however. We are an agriculture lender; loaning to ranchers, dairymen, farmers and country home buyers. We have some of the finest customer base and I unashamedly admit that I am friends with them. I care about their world and they care about mine. The outpouring of love our customers have sent my way since the announcement of my cancer has been extraordinary. My heart is deeply touched and I worry that I will be teary when I greet them. I fatigue easily and do not plan to work a complete day. I check my bag for the noontime pills, juice and food that I need and eagerly head out the door to work.