Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Medicine

The skies cleared, and armed with my new handicapped parking permit, John and I headed to Encore Park for the Steve Winwood/Tom Petty concert. It was as good as I had hoped. I stood through most of Petty's set, and never felt overly fatigued. I am not sure that I could have handled this on any other night besides a Wednesday, as it's the farthest day from the chemo treatment. So the timing gods were definitely on my side.

John and I are both long time Winwood fans. He played several Traffic songs, which are my favorite, and he played a couple of songs with Petty. Tom Petty is amazing. He looks funny, he talks funny, but he creates music that rocks my world, and I am clearly not alone in that sentiment. And he doesn't even break a sweat. His only hard work is finding songs that the audience doesn't know every word to. In fact, he went back to his Mud Crutch days to find something that the audience couldn't sing along with. I'm not sure why the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is so appealing to so many. Perhaps other avid fans who I know are out there can do a better job of articulating a reason.

There are several other good news items on the agenda. First, today was my third chemo treatment. Three down, four to go. The effects are cumulative, so I am expecting the weekends to be rough, but so far so good. I still have my hair (more about that later), and my good spirits. And, surprisingly, my appetite returned this week. I have been eating like a normal person. Or at least the way I normally eat. Two days this week I had eggs for breakfast, and I have probably eaten an egg for breakfast only one other time since my diagnosis. I have a healthy appetite for lunch and dinner. I am savoring my food now, instead of shoving it in with a grimace. This is a huge improvement.

Now for the hair. I am really not happy about this issue. Nothing screams CANCER PATIENT! like a bald head on a woman. Right now I have the option of revealing my situation, or not. For those of you who have not seen me lately, I look like Elyse at her "fighting" weight, which is not a bad thing. Last night at the concert, a woman struck up a conversation with me in between sets. We had a pleasant chat, which I enjoyed. If I'm bald, I doubt that I will have the option of chatting idly. Which I enjoy. Once I lose my hair, there will be no escaping the diagnosis, wherever I go.

I have one other matter to address. Princesses like good seats at concerts. This Princess loves good, solid rock and roll, but would pass on a lousy seat to Springsteen, and would not even consider lawn seats at Chastain. This is the same Princess who loves to camp out, but does not like shlepping her dry bag from the raft to the camp site. She loves the outdoors, but does not mind guides cooking her dinner. Or even pitching her tent. As you may have guessed, our seats last night were less than stellar, and they were not inexpensive. So please, if you have suggestions for scoring good tickets at prices that won't make me gasp, and you are willing to share this information with your unconnected-in-the-rock-world friend, I will be eternally grateful. (Please, no jokes about the eternal thing).

I'm bracing myself for a rough weekend, but on balance, life, such as it is, is good.



Team Dream 2009 said...

Glad you're back to occasionally feeling like a Princess again. Your old self is still there, it's just been on sabbatical for a few weeks. Your friends and fans (and there are a lot of them) love you, Princess or non-Princess, with or without hair.

Patti said...

After this is all over, you'll need to maintain an outlet -- and time -- for your writing. Your eloquence blows me away.

Love you,

Anonymous said...

Are there ways to decorate a bald scalp? Can we draw things on it? You can sketch in a tiarra. If I have to end up in spandex for a bike trip, can Amy shave her head to show solidarity with you? There are so many possibilities to this bald thing.

Joe Rosen

Adam Gaslowitz said...

About the hair, I can only say that my daughter, Kati whom I think you know well, used to have magnificent, thick, down to her butt hair. Before going off to college, she cut over 18" off and donated it to "locks of love." I was heartbroken, but it was hard to argue about the cause she chose so eventually I got over it. She said it would grow back and it was finally starting to. She is now home for the summer from her sophomore year. Lea and I went away for a weekend, and when we returned (on father's day!) I found that my daughter had shaved her head down to a stubble. That's right, shaved her head!

With all due respect to Elyse, she looked like a cancer patient and I was rather mortified. I loved her hair. And then a funny thing happened. After the shock wore off a few days later, I realized all over again how beautiful she is and that it had nothing to do with her hair. I'm not talking about that sentimental, deep down we're all beautiful, politically correct kind of beauty (which of course she has in abundance.) I mean that bald really is beautiful and she looks great with her new haircut (that she and my son did themselves with my beard trimmer.) I really like it and I am close to thinking I like it better than all the hair.

I'm also pretty certain that nobody thinks she's a cancer patient.

Its a rather long winded way of saying that everything's going to be fine and you may not be as noticeable as you think. Maybe you might even think about beating the chemo to the punch and just getting a nice buzz cut now (I wouldn't recommend the Michael Jordan look though). Then it can just be your styling choice. You might feel more in control instead of like everything is just happening TO you and out of your hands. After a week or two it grows out a little and it looks great (it even feels great-my daughter lets us all rub her head whenever we want.)

I too have been a long time, diehard fan of both Petty and Winwood (probably both on my top five list of performers) and I can't really explain why. I suspect it has something to do with a powerful beat combined with lyrics that have some poetic depth to them. But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

I went to see the Eagles at Verizon recently and had great seats. I'll ask the woman who got them for me who she had to bribe.

Anonymous said...

Hey Elyse,

Great post! You are a really good writer - not that I'm at all surprised. Glad to hear/read that you enjoyed the concert so much. I have 2 things for you in response:

1.) The best way to get good seats to a concert is to make friends with a Turner executive. They've got great corporate seats at the major venues. If that's not an option, then try ebay. I got 7th row center tix to the Police and floor seats for Springsteen for face value. I also got tix to see 2 broadway shows last time we were in NY for less than face value. I've never had a problem with counterfeiters b/c I only buy from sellers with good feedback ratings for ticket sales. You can't always find a good deal, and there are still overly inflated prices but if you're patient the prices usually get reasonable (there aren't that many people willing to pay 3x face value for a concert).

2.) I like the scalp decoration idea, but you could also try a hair weave. There are plenty of places in my neighborhood that would be thrilled to see you coming, and I be you'd look fabulous with braids!