Touch and Go

Although (as with last time) this weekend was practically symptom free (although I was tired, as usual, but again, I never know what’s cancer and what’s college), today brought a mixed bag of news. Ok, so I guess the only actual news was good, while the downer was more of a realization. But enough nitpicking.

I had bloodwork done today to certify that I’ll be able to proceed with my next treatment. Although it took a bit longer than usual (I actually had to have my parking validated, as it was over an hour), the news was quite welcome. All my numbers were good, but the best one was my nuetraphil count. This is the one that determines the degree of my neutropenia. As it turns out, it was at 1500. While it needs to be at 2000 to be completely out of the woods in regards to infection, it was far higher than the 500 threshold for treatment. This also means that I’ll no longer need to run out a room screaming at the sound of someone sneezing; I can just hide under my desk from now on.

Now for the bad part. From the very beginning I’ve been assured that I would lose my hair; it’s just the nature of one of the drugs (adriamycin). I even went ahead and cut my hair in anticipation. Still, I can’t say that was thrilled with the prospect of being bald. Everyone knows that I’ve always depended on my looks to pay the bills… the sense that someone pities my terrible haircuts and gives me a tip to help rectify the situation. All kidding aside though, I have an interesting history with my hair. All through my childhood I was plagued by constant cowlicks, but I always kept my hair in more of a, well, typical little kid style. However, around 12, I got a buzz cut for the summer. It was so much easier to keep. Combine this with the fact that my mother could actually perform this sort of maintenance and that, for me, puberty brought a precipitous decline in my interest in all things “fashionable” (I guess it’s the geek gene), I just never went back. At times it could become unwieldy; if I went for too long I developed what was distinctly labeled “the poof.” Not quite an afro, as my hair is straighter than most rulers, but there was a distinct sense of “body” or whatever hair stylists use to describe just plain thick hair. Still, the style worked, as it helped undergird my credentials as an upstanding young man or a pretentious jerk, depending on your age. However, after graduating high school I lined up all my yearbooks to my page, leading me to coin the new adage “The more things change, the more Craig stays the same.” However, I never really pushed the issue. My mother seemed to enjoy cutting my hair, and college made me even lazier in regards to fashion. However, I kept missing in the field of romance, and suppose in my delusional state developed the one condition I had hoped to never have: vanity. Yes, I actually believed that perhaps my run of bad luck was not due to the fact that I lace my conversations with Simpsons references, or that I know of both John Anderson the Singer and John Anderson the politician, or that I still listen to vinyl records. No, I figured that, rather than simply having a unique personality that is simply hard to match, it surely had to be my appearance, specifically my 50’s high school football coach hair, that was impeding my success with the opposite sex. So I decided to let it grow, along with an ill-advised attempt at growing a beard. While the beard quickly succumbed to pressure from, well, everyone, the hair stayed. And I was satisfied. I thought it gave me a somewhat more professional look. But alas, it was not to be, because right when I had it where I wanted it, with a nice little “geek peak”  just peering over the edge of my head, I found out I’d be needing chemo.

As I’ve said, I’m not generally one to obsess over my hair. Particularly now that I’ve determined it really wasn’t my hair after all. But there’s still something unsettling about washing what little hair you do have and having your hands covered in follicles. Also, one hair or two is perhaps to be expected on a desk. But the entire area beneath your keyboard should not be layered with it. The real conundrum is that I don’t know how to approach baldness. Since I’ve always had a head of, shall we say, a peculiar circumference, I’ve never been able to find a hat that fit properly. Yet I’m just not sure if nothing up top is going to look right either. But that’s a problem for later.

For right now, I’m going to abuse the platform that I have with a wide swath of people and remind everyone to VOTE TOMORROW. I care not for whom you choose; certainly I have my opinions, but the glory of our country is that I can not only posess such opinion but also act on them. Indeed, we all can, and for that reason alone we should hold tomorrow as a celebration of Democracy, just not a day with an assigned task. I could go on and on with high minded rhetoric about how people have no right to complain if they don’t vote, but there’s no need. You know the choice. Make it.

As an aside, one upside of this whole ordeal is set to reveal itself tomorrow. In the past five years of being involved in politics, I’ve never been able to celebrate Election Day in the manner I’ve always wanted: my own personal Christmas. I know, geeky, but seriously, it’s just a really special day for me. Every year I’m completely floored by the fact that we live in a country where we can have a peaceful transfer of power with a full airing of the issues. For some people Election Day can’t come soon enough, with all the ads and calls and tension. But I relish the day. I just get a swelling feeling whenever I hear CNN’s Election Coverage theme music; my penchant for drama and narrative simply cannot resist the spectacle of Election Night. I have to admit I feel guilty that I’ve been able to add little to the cause this year, but I hope to be back in the swing of things soon enough. Besides, sometimes a break can remind people of why they do what they do in the first place.

Oh well. Enough for now. Busy day for tomorrow, then a long night. Best wishes, and remember: VOTE!

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