Hope and a little peach fuzz

I’ve been a little blue over the past month. The atypical glumness came with the deaths, in rapid succession, of several people I cared for. Despite their passion, humor and tenacity, they didn’t manage to hang on to the life they loved so fiercely. Perhaps I believed deep down that, somehow, fighters will prevail; against disease, against the ups and downs of life. How true my former belief is not saddened me for weeks. It all seemed overwhelmingly unfair.

Then this week arrived, and my scalp started sprouting baby-fine peach fuzz. I was initially elated, then depressed thinking that it’ll soon fall out once chemo begins again. Baldness isn’t the end of the world, but I really do miss my hair. Today brought some good news: Wednesday’s CT scan showed normal sized lymph nodes, and a minuscule reduction to the primary tumor. My oncologist will have tissue from January’s biopsy sent for ALK mutation testing to see whether I’d be a candidate for that new wonder drug, Crizotinib. I’ll begin a new regimen of prednisone to reduce lung inflammation, undergo another PET scan in two months. Oh yes, AND for now we’re holding off on more chemo. I may have hair by Thanksgiving!

So, I get to spend the next few months buzzing around like the Engergizer Bunny (side effect of prednisone). This means that all my clothes will soon be mended and ironed, we’ll have an extremely clean house for the holidays, and maybe we won’t have to cancel our Christmas party, after all.

Nothing has really changed: Those who recently died are still dead, I still have cancer and we haven’t hit the super lotto just yet. What I do have more of this week: hope and a little peach fuzz.

©2011 L Joyce Croker

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Hey, hope and peach fuzz are good. Take 'em and run. :)

I've been wondering how you were doing, Joyce. Glad to hear the good results on the CT. Hang in there. You are doing it.


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That's good your CT results were better.........hey, that's awesome. That peach fuzz holds endless possibilities. Just give it a couple of months. I am sorry to hear about your friends. Like you I believed somewhere down deep that the fighters stood a good chance of defeating the beast. Take care Joyce, Diane

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Hi Joyce:

Good to hear from you. I am sorry that you have been feeling blue. We all buy in to the "fighters win, quitters fail" mindset in the beginning. I think, it's a protective self deception that does a good job of keeping us motivated through the rough patches in initial treatment. Once it's gone you have to dig a little deeper in your psyche. The good news is that I found that underneath the first round of self deception is an experience-based revelation that having a good strong attitude feels lots better than curling up in a ball of self pity.

Peach fuzz is great! When mine started coming in it felt so nice, like a baby's head. I teased everyone, making them rub my head while making a wish. Silly me. It was fun. Now my hair is in - about 1 inch long and wavy. The chemo I just started is supposed to cause hair loss but I have heard from some taking it that their hair stay in place.

The CT results sound good, and I am glad they will test to see if you are a candidate for Crizotinib. All fingers crossed here for you! In the meantime, enjoy the prednisone energy- it is really powerful!

You will be in my prayers and thoughts,

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Hi Joyce, I've been through your pain of loosing fighters. In the late 80's and 90's I lost so many friends that were just amazingly brave. Now 20-30 years later, I'm drawing on their strength and dignity. Im so excited you could b a candidate for the new drug. I got some irregular scans this week and I'm hoping its a lung infection and not the cancer coming back. Dreading having to have surgery again, and the chemo which was very hard for me. My fuzz is coming back, and for me its more than just hair, its a return to normalcy. If at least for a moment I think I have my old life back. If only for a moment.
Stay well and keep us updated on the drug (and the hair!).

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Hi Joyce, my sister's hair is about an inch long now. She says she is not getting used to it because she never knows when she will lose it again. She is on the wonder drug now. I don't ever look at anyone has quitters. Their bodies couldn't handle the treatments or the cancer or they were just too tired to fight any longer. With all you cancer warriors have to endure, i am amazed at your tenacity.

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Hi Joyce, we are pretty much in the same boat lately. Losing too many strong people in such a short period of time really deflated my spirits. The prednisone I am on for the pneumonitis just takes a sad mood, puts an anchor around it's neck and sinks me even further. Alimta has stolen my prednisone energy buzz. But I have only two more to go before we scan and decide on a break or more chemo and I too finally have some growth on the top of my head. A little beyond peach fuzz....more like electrocuted pubic hair lol, but I cherish every strand. I actually had to put some gel and blow dry my little sprouts as they are all over the place now, but boy am I grateful for it. Never thought losing my hair would bother me, but have to admit it has been traumatic. Mostly because I look nothing like the person that I was. Friends have walked right past me without recognizing me. So, peach fuzz, hope and a chemo break probably feels a little normal again. It is exciting to focus on normal! I have not been able to work as I work in an inner city emergency room, and in my position I work very closely with the homeless, drug addicted and unfortunately very infected population. I miss the work, but realistically, it could kill me. My docs say if I can get off of the prednisone, I may be able to go back soon, so I am in the peach fuzz and hope section too! Hang in there and enjoy the hair. I always admire your strength and wit...hold tight to it!


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Man, the hair has been a doozy to lose.People tend to stare alot so I had to get past that.Now I just wear a dew rag.I expect the rest of the fuzz to come out wit chemo...I cant wait

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Atta girl !! Sometimes I think life is a matter of always reaching for the next happy moment - no matter what it is that we can find to give that happiness.

I'm in a similar boat right now - good things and bad things alternating all the time with the disease and chemo and scans and the bad news about lost warriors. But right now I am doing a fairly good job of focusing on the positive (for today, anyway).

It's tough to do our journey, but so wonderful to have Inspire where there are people going through the same thing - it alleviates the loneliness of feeling like you "are the only one". I am SO grateful for every one of our Inspire friends, but sorry you have to go through cancer to be on this site to support us.

Joyce, you are so accurate when you say "The good news is that I found that underneath the first round of self deception is an experience-based revelation that having a good strong attitude feels lots better than curling up in a ball of self pity " - you really expressed that feeling so well.

I hope my next sentence will not be offensive to anybody, but sometimes I just get so "bored" with the whole "being sick" thing that it's much more fun just to pretend I am fine (of course this may only last moments, hours or days, depending on the next debilitating symptom or side effect), but it's so good to pretend I am "normal" - even if only for a short while.

Regardless of whether you are the patient or the caretaker, I love you all so much for your bravery, encouraging one another and your inspiring thoughts on the one hand. On the other hand, I love you just as much for the times you put into words the depressing thoughts and lousy experiences we all go through... and really - just everything that our Inspire friendships do for us all.

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Hi Joyce-
At least you wear hats well! I look like a goof in mine and only wear them to take the dog out. When my hair came out in handfuls I was not shocked as they told me it would happen but as I have always been a girly girl, it stunk. One of my friends shaved what was left all off. We had a ceremony. My sister-in-law took me out before my treatments and bought me two beautiful wigs. I think basically I look like I have hairy hats on when I wear them. Which is most of the time. Still I can't seem to get them to look like real hair. Although I will admit it takes less time getting ready these days.....just pop on a wig.

I ask, would having hair make this any easier? Not at all. But I guess it allows us to focus on something rather than the unknown. So like you, I rub my peach fuzzy head and wonder where the heck did the gray hairs come from. Heck- no will know me when this mop grows back. I have gone from dirty blond to black and white. I may have to wear the blond wig after this over anyway!!!

By the way, we have the right to have a a little blue now and then. But try to keep focusing on the hope- fuzzy head!! And by all means talk to us anytime you feel too blue. We will turn on the sunshine! (:
Julie JB

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