Yesterday, as we reached the waning hours of New Year's Eve, I wrote an email to my MUSC neuro-oncologist. You may not have noticed this, but my cheeks have swollen. JUST a tiny bit, but noticeable. My brother Trey observed earlier this month that my cheeks were changing, and he was right. So yesterday I wrote:
I'm a little surprised. Since when am I a woman who cares about my appearances? But I read a feminist book last semester about the fact that I can be a radical AND interested in how I look. So I'd like some thoughts that popped into my mind. You are the audience:
- My ability to communicate is, of course, crucial to me, second only to Maybelle (and I'm feeling better at letting my guilt fade as others help). Gotta start here.
- But under all the truly important things, I find that I'm sort of obsessing with my face. My body, too, sure, but whatever. I'm looking at pictures from two months ago, and I really look different than I do today.
- So, what about that?
- You said you and I could step back a bit from the dexamethasone [a steroid]. When would that happen, and why?
- Is this appearance—the slightly noticeable but visible face—going to get larger? If I just keep looking this way I can work looking through it. But if it keeps getting larger, I will have TOO MUCH material for this book I'm writing.
- Oh, minor question: I took dexamethasone pills last night. I'm planning to do it around mid-day, when I'll be able to eat and have more. Do I do one more day, or am I done since I'll have gone through two pills, twice?
I had a lot of these thoughts at 3:30am. Then I went and got an Ativan, and at least I could rest. But I didn't forget the questions I wanted from you!
Thanks for taking care of our Feminist Body Struggle.
My Great-Guy-Who-Won't-Be-Named-But-He's-Awesome wrote last night:
So sorry for the late reply. It turns out you are already on a reduced dose of steroids, from where you were. The steroids are now only around the irinotecan infusion every few weeks. I think you're currently experiencing the cumulative effects of the prior more frequent dosing. I expect the puffiness in your face to stabilize and slowly decrease.
How nice that it's the New Year's Day.