Ready for a day at Anderson

Ready for a day at Anderson

What is it about hair?  Why would I dread getting my head shaved more than having chemo?  And considering the hair I had left, it shouldn’t be a big deal to get rid of it, should it?

For the next six weeks, Mondays are going to be my least favorite day.  We were up bright and early and over at MD Anderson for blood work and then chemo.  There was time in between so I decided today would be THE day.  It was silly to hang onto the last few clumps of thin hair that graced my cute little head.  So immediately after I got poked for the millionth time (I’m exaggerating) Jerry and I headed up to the beauty shop to get everything shaved off.

The woman was delightful…We took pictures…before, during  and after.  The “during” picture was a Mohawk.  She said to me, “You probably won’t ever have a chance to do this again.  Want to try a Mohawk?” Lots of fun, plenty of  silliness, crazy pictures.

“You have such a nice head,” she said.  “You look good.”

Bet she says that to all the girls.  I mean, she couldn’t say, “Oh my God, what a lumpy head.  I’m so sorry.

Anyway, no more hair.  Jerry says I look great but that poor guy tells me every day how great I look and believe me I do NOT look great every day.

Went and got my port chemo ready (they stick a needle in) and then downstairs to wait to be called for chemo..  They use a pager system similar to restaurants.  Only difference is that when the red lights start going crazy, it does NOT mean come sit and have a glass of wine at a table by the window overlooking the water and enjoy a great meal.   It means, Come with me my friend to your little room, hop in bed, pull up your blanket, get out your laptop and get hooked up to the poison of the week.

The pager did not go off for a VERY long time.  They were running an hour late at the chemo factory.   The 10:30 appt.  started at 11:30.  Then back to Anne’s and we’ll then back here at 8:30 for Proton.  (Yes, that’s 8:30 PM…Trust me I know.  I’m not ever awake at 8:30 PM many days.  This will be  a drag.)  I’m bringing my iPod to Proton…not sure if I can use it or not.  When I had radiation in 2000 for breast cancer, I used a cassette player, I think…played my church music and visualized light rays melting the main cancer guy trying to kill me…I’ll play my church music again tonight if they’ll let me.  Hope so.  If not, I might have to sing.  They’ll probably let me use my iPod so they don’t have to listen to me sing.

LATER…I wrote the part above while I was getting chemo.  Writing the rest at night.

No lie.  We got back to Anne’s from chemo and the phone rang.  Opening for proton at 5:00…do I want it?

Sure do.  5:00 vs. 8:30…no contest.  It did mean getting right back in the car because it was going to be rush hour traffic and might take almost an hour to get there.  It didn’t take an hour but there was paperwork and assorted “stuff” for first timers so it was good we were early.

Because we rushed out, I didn’t have my iPod with me.  (yes of course I can bring it and use it)  But they have Pandora and pipe in the music of your choice during the session.  What did I want?

Hmmm..Broadway Show Tunes (I am such an old lady)  So as I lay there with my hands over my head I listened to music from Rent and Les Mis and Book of Mormon and some new ones I hadn’t ever heard.  Nice.  I will go back to my church music because it works for visualizing but it’s nice to know they have tunes.

Proton is fascinating and I’ll write more about it tomorrow.  I’ll bring in my iPhone and take a few pictures so you can picture the room.  By the way, radiation (Proton) doesn’t hurt.  The worst part is probably my arms are stiff after being above my head for twenty minutes.

So now we’re in for the night.  The rest of the week is easier.  Most days we’ll need to go to MD Anderson  for proton…Usually at some weird evening hour, sometimes in the morning.  Jerry will have time to get to the Y.  If my energy level is as good as today, I’ll have time for yoga and exercise and walking.

Not dizzy any more.  I was pretty good yesterday and today I could definitely walk and chew gum at the same time.  More energy today than I’ve had in days.  No trouble running up and down stairs.  Took at nap during chemo and woke up feeling great.  Life is good.

Yesterday I saw the movie The Intouchables (thanks, Shirley for the recommendation!)  I just loved it.  Talk about some people having it really hard.  Touching…and funny.  I laughed right out loud.  And we watched Downton Abbey …What is it about that show that has us hooked?  Heaven only knows but we’re hooked. (By the way, we have Netflix…if you have it, send me your recommendations)

Going out to lunch with Jackie (Chris’s wife) tomorrow.  She’s terrific…fun, funny and smart.  And she doesn’t mind hanging out with sick, old ladies.  What more could I want?

Warning.  Below are some pretty ugly pictures.  If you don’t like looking at ugly pictures, do not (repeat) do not scroll down. If you think ugly is kind of funny, scroll on.  The one at the top isn’t ugly.  It’s from this morning when we arrived at MD Anderson.  I’ve got the beach bag (now my chemo bag) that Sean and Carly gave me.  It’s perfect for my blanket, my Kindle and any extra electronic toys I might bring…laptop, iPad, whatever.  The three at the bottom are the ugly ones.  Enjoy!

Ugly hair

Ugly hair



No hair
No hair


30 thoughts on “Hair

  1. Linda Underwood

    You have a great looking head! What are you talking about? You will look great with your hair short when it grows back. I feel like I am learning so much from reading your blogs. Thank you.

  2. Oh, my gosh. You never fail to charm with the pictures! Loved them all . . . but must say, the top one was your sweet adorable self. Plus a bag that could even hold Jerry, if needed. So glad you are feeling better and the Proton therapy is not a terrible ordeal, aside from the stiff arm position.

    Take care – glad you got the early appointment. Love, Barb G. (PS: BTW, enjoy the weather there, Mary. We are at -6º on the way down to -16º tonight. Wind chill of -40º. Schools, Gov’t offices and highways are closed. Indiana is not equipped to handle this like you folks in MA!)

  3. I just KNEW you would love The Intouchables! Another one that’s fun, also in French is Haute Cuisine. Wasn’t Downton wonderful?

    What’s amazing about no hair, Jerry’s right btw, is that it shows just how pretty you are. No distraction. And you DO have a great shaped head. Your humor (I sound like a broken record) is amazing. (Loved the Mohawk)

    Your beauty is not JUST outside, it’s luminous from the inside too! Love you.

  4. OMG I LOVE the Mohawk!!!!!!
    And you do have a nice shaped head (and I’d totally be honest with you about it). I had a nice head too (it was a pleasant surprise because who actually gets to find that out about themselves?). Plus when my hair came back it was awesome hair. Soft and silly, Curly!!!!, and less grey (proving they chemo can make you younger!)

  5. Needless to say I scrolled down….the mohawk WAS funny but not your style, Mary! You DO have a nice head and not everyone does, It looks cute. Glad all is going well. Enjoy your lunch tomorrow, we will miss you at book club!

  6. I think you look beautiful Mary…with or without hair! That sure was quite a day! So glad the Proton therapy is tolerable. Big bag but then you’ve got many toys to keep you busy! So good that today was a high energy day as I’m sure you needed it to get to your appointments…crazy schedule you have! You are amazing…keep those spirits up girl! Sending many thoughts and prayers your way. Pam G

  7. Mary, you are the only person who can make me chuckle describing the travails of chemo and radiation! You look adorable with a Mohawk…I think you could start a trend with the baby-boomer hippies. Recommendation for Netflix: Call the Midwife. I’m hooked…badly!
    Till next time,

  8. I’m sure if we’d been with you, we would have had Mohawks (not) so you wouldn’t feel awful about yourself.  It is too funny…so glad they can make one feel better about going through the whole process.  Temps have dropped from low 70s this morning to below 45 right now (10 pm).  It’ll be 80 by Friday but I am slightly enjoying this little cool down.  Hopefully we’ll go to Jim’s on Friday (I can’t make yoga until Thursday…and, no, it’s not because of the cold!). 

    Jerri 521 Cedarwood Lane Venice, FL 34293 941-445-4118

    “Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business”.  Dave Barry

    • Somehow, Jerri, I cannot imagine the yoga group with Mohawks. Not by a long shot. And much as I love you and would do (almost) anything for you, shaving my head wouldn’t be one of those things. I just don’t think I could bring myself to do it.

  9. Mohawk, huh? Oh man, you certainly did look off! More odd, in fact, than bald. If you really want a realization, close your eyes during proton therapy and envision yourself walking into your second grade classroom with that hair style…that vision should make your day.

    Thinking good thoughts and praying for you (while I’m laughing thinking about you walking into a second grade classroom. You couldn’t walk into a fifth grade classroom as I’m not sure just exactly their thoughts would be.)

  10. Love the pictures and your incredible sense of humor. I read your blog to Sara and she chuckled with me. Especially loved the Mohawk! Keep writing. 🙂

  11. Sorry Mary, I never saw a single ugly one. They just can’t take the cute out of you no matter how hard they try!

  12. Bless you, Mary. Keep up with the fantastic attitude and those cancer cells don’t stand a chance! I loved the Mohawk…it could be the new rage at LHS! Only you would be brave enough to post the pictures, but then again, you look great! Lots of prayers and love.

  13. Hey Mary, half of those lovely ladies of Downton Abbey are probably wearing wigs, too! (Maggie Smith for sure…) You’re in good company!

  14. You are a courageous woman! Wig, thin hair, Mohawk, or no hair don’t change your fighting spirit or cuteness as someone said. We are with you all the way!

  15. At least you know you have a great sense of humor!
    Should we all have our heads shaved? I don’t think we’d look as good!

    We just saw “INTOUCHABLES” and thought it was terrific. Try BELLA from Netflix. I really enjoyed it!
    Look forward to your missives!

  16. Those are not ugly pictures! Jerry is right. You truly look beautiful. Must be your amazing smile.

  17. Love the Mohawk!!! And yes, I was right, you do look cute without hair-rather chic, I would say-you can really rock earrings and make-up now with this new look (maybe false eyelashes?!). I’m with you in spirit.


    You do have a good head! And I didn”t scroll down for a laugh, my friend!!!!!! Love, Marie

  19. Mary, this is such a wonderful blog post. I work for MD Anderson in the communications office and was wondering if you’d be interested in sharing more of your story with me and possibly some of our other patients. If so, please send us an email at

    And no, the women in the beauty shop weren’t just saying that. You really do look great!
    -Kellie Bramlet
    MD Anderson communications specialist

  20. I totally agree with Lynne’s recommendation “Call to the Midwife”. I loved it and I think you will too. I also agree with the others about your new do. Do you know the hairdresser’s name? She sounds like a very special person. We do meet some amazing people on our journey and they make all the difference don’t they?

  21. Mary you look beautiful. It amazes me every day how you make me laugh when you share these stories. You inspire me every day to try and be a better person. I love you and miss you!!!! I would have done a Mohawk with you but I am sure you would look better 🙂

  22. Deirdre Christman

    The first picture is adorable, and the last three are funny rather than ugly. You have such a terrific sense of humor, Mary! I think all the staff at MDA must be begging to get you for a patient. If any of us reading your blog has to get chemo, we’ll probably all think about choosing our music (show tunes?), packing a stylish “chemo bag” and shaving our heads so we can look cute in our new wigs. Missed you at book club today. Terrific discussion of Never Let Me Go. You would have added heart, as well as your considerable intellect.

  23. Mary, I loved the Mohawk. You look great and your spirit is amazing. Keep it up! Love ya, G.

  24. Mary, I LOVE the bald you!!! So glad you felt so well after the chemo and radiation. Hopekfully you can get the protons early on Fridays so you can see Erin and the kids. Thanks for being so brave and sending us the pictures. Love, Gina

  25. What I have learned to love about shaved heads, and I have several friends who have needed to do it—it how stunning the eyes become. I always look at a person’s eyes, but they show up so much more with the hair out of the way. Get a warm hat, is all, since we’re all in temperatures we are not accustomed to, even here in Massachusetts!!

  26. Yes you do have “a cute little head”. Sending love and hugs.

  27. Ed and I loved the Mohawk look. It was so YOU!!!! Keep on thinking positive and enjoy that Netflix. One of my favorite movies was a sleeper called “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” I’ll have to reflect on some other good movies. Give our best to Jerry. I mailed you out the Yoga picture on Monday. Our prayers are with you.

  28. Hang in there, Mary!! You are beautiful and brave and very funny!! Happy thoughts being sent your way today and every day! Much love!!

  29. You look fabulous…..the lady was right. You have a beautiful head! The mohawk is hilarious! ♥.

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