Chemotherapy the gift that keeps giving and giving

Chemotherapy the gift that keeps giving and giving

Chemotherapy the gift the keeps on giving! On the Path Blog by Cheryl Schatz

Chemotherapy the gift that keeps on giving

It was a surprise to me that chemotherapy has gifts that keep on giving…and giving…and giving! Did you know…

…that the results of chemotherapy can cycle over and over again for a year or longer? I didn’t know that, but I do know that now. My eyelashes have started to fall out AGAIN! And my eyebrows are thinning. It seems that even doctors are unaware of this gift that keeps on giving. Perhaps it is because their patients do not always share with them about these ongoing “gifts”. I had to find out the hard way by seeing the loss of hair myself. It was then that I took the time to google side effects to find out if I am an unusual. ducky. I am not.

Chemo damage can cause hair to cycle on and off at the same time

It appears that when hairs come back in at the same time, they are bound to fall out at the same time. Eyelashes live a certain length of time and then they fall out, and a new eyelash comes in. Normally eyelashes do not all drop out at the same time, and then all come back at the same time…except for the effects of chemotherapy. Not all chemo medicines will cause hair to fall out, and not all will cause your eyelashes to fall out. But when your eyelashes fall out and then grow back, they can be on the “united” cycle.  That means that when one eyelash’s cycle of life is done, the others follow suit. Sigh! I thought I was done with the “gifts” that come from chemotherapy and I am back into it again. From the reading I have done since my eyelashes started to fall out again, I learned that this cycle could happen 8 or more times before the eyelashes learn to stop falling out in sync. Oh, joy!!

So far not all of the lashes are in sync, but so many have fallen out that my eyelashes are very thin again and they are completely bare in some spots. I think it must be an art to putting mascara on isolated eyelashes. It is even worse to try to put mascara onto the stubs of those lashes that have fallen out. I am not an artist like my daughter Misty.

Dolly-the-Sheep-stage hair

I also have to laugh about my hair. My hair is starting to grow faster and just this week, I noticed that I am at Dolly-the-Sheep-stage hair. That is the wooly-frizz stage. The new chemo hair is dry and lackluster, and so the frizz is “on” with the new curls. I am so NOT used to this. I have always had poker-straight hair and consequently a headful of curls is a challenge for me. The top of my head is now curling just like the bottom, and I look like I have just had a perm. But this “perm” has a mind of its own. With the curl shortening the length of my hair, it is unfortunate that my hair is not long enough to cut off. I have no idea if this new curl is permanent or just a passing fad. The one good thing is that the gray hairs are being taken over by a new batch of colored hair. My old red hair is starting to show up, although it is not the same red as it used to have. It is more of an auburn color rather than the bright red I used to have. It gives me hope that the gray “grannie” hairs will subside and maybe even be gone someday. I can only hope.

Watching for recurrence

I am also in the watching phase for anything that might be a sign that the cancer has recurred. The other day I noticed a red spot on my chest skin that looked like it was the start of a skin bump. The skin bumps that I had last year were the first sign that the breast cancer had spread to the skin. Today I noticed that the bump is not as big as it was the day before. I can hardly feel it anymore although it is still visible. I gave a heart-felt “Help me Lord!” not wanting the cancer to come back, but I am not panicked. I know that I am in His hands and that whatever happens, He will never leave me nor forsake me. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.  My wish is for life, but I am not fearful should my pathway intersect with death. It is such a peaceful feeling to be okay no matter what comes my way. Life is living, and death is passing over into the real life.

Living as if life is assured

I am now once again living as if life is assured and I am moving on to continue our ministry and the projects that I am so passionate about. For awhile I didn’t like to buy anything for myself wondering how long I would be using the new purchase. However, I have decided that it is better to live life as if life is assured so that I can be free to press on to see my goals accomplished. I still want to see each day as a gift from God and know that no day should be taken for granted, but I also have eternity fully grounded into my heart. This life is just a short breath in view of eternity and if I can help people to see the importance of preparing for eternity, then I will be grateful for the lesson that I have learned.

Laughter is healing

You may have noticed that I like to laugh and the silly graphics that I choose are an extension of the importance of my sense of humor. For awhile I was feeling too serious, and things that got me down had become too much a part of my life. I have chosen to move on and leave the negative things aside so that I can give place to the laughter that I truly enjoy. The two puppies on the graphic above make me laugh. There is a double message to the words that I added to the picture. Not only is there the surprise of hair loss long after chemotherapy is finished, but chemotherapy and the entire cancer process gave me a renewed joy for life and with the joy came laughter. The puppies on the picture above may look grumpy, but to me, they look funny and loads of laughter peels forth from this picture to my eyes. I see joy and laughter! I look at my hair, and I laugh. I try to put on mascara onto dwindling eyelashes, and I laugh. It is all too funny for words. The laughter shows that I have healed.

If you are in need of healing, I pray that you will see the Lord Jesus as your source of joy. He is the one who has already entered eternity, and He is preparing a place for you if you will let Him. If you don’t know Him, know that all He asks of you is to turn from your sins and turn towards Him in faith. He will meet you in your need because He died to make you spiritually whole and freed from the guilt of your sin.

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9 thoughts on “Chemotherapy the gift that keeps giving and giving

  1. I love this post. Joy is a choice and you have chosen well. You remain very inspiring and so Christ centered. No surprise. I love Gods ability to restore. It looks so beautiful on you Cheryl.

  2. Glad to see you are recovering and learning to laugh again and enjoy what the future may hold. Life is full of surprises some are nicer than others. I have the same eye lash problem and it is because the mascara lumps and when I use my fingers to remove it, whoops there goes a glob of eye lashes. I should be using eye lash mascara remover but that is an extra step. Dark auburn will look very good on you.

  3. Ruth, laughter is so important. It helps us not to take ourselves so seriously. When I look at my hair, I have to laugh and shake my head – not only because of the curl and frizz, but because my bangs are not growing much at all so it makes me look some kid gave me a very bad hair cut and then my mom gave me a perm on top of that. I totally remember hair like this when I was a kid. As far as my eye lashes, they are a hoot. But it is far more common than I imagined for one to have one’s lashes fall out many times. They did not grow back full to begin with so it isn’t easy to hide the bare spots. I may go back to putting eye liner around the edges for the time being and wait for them to fill in again.

  4. Cheryl you are such an inspiration and I thank God for that! To walk this walk with you is simply one of the most amazing adventures I have been on! Your explanation of your journey, your humor, your gut wrenching ability to share, all make this a most incredible experience. I actually ‘feel’ like I am there with you, going through these episodes as you are doing. I praise the Lord that you continue to share and give us this insight, so that we in turn can share it with others. Thank you so much Cheryl, you have no idea how uplifting this is to me and I am sure many others.

  5. Glad you are getting better, and I agree with you about laughter that it can be good for you even in dire circumstances. Good luck with your road of recovery and God Bless.

  6. Keeping you in prayers! I first read your update about a week ago, and shortly after got my first copy of your magazine! Thank you!

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