Thursday, November 06, 2008


If you have ever found me the least bit attractive, it ends now. If you want to continue the dream, stop reading here.

OK, I warned you.

So, as part of the glamour associated with chemo, my pubic hair is falling out. I first discovered this when I stepped out of the shower this morning and noticed that I had left a little trail. In retrospect, I've been shedding for a couple of days on the toilet seat, as well, but I hadn't really noticed until I saw the shower evidence, and then I put two and two together.

If I could control this process, I would do it the way I imagine SpongeBob would do it, if SpongeBob had pubic hair: I would sneeze, and all the hair would shoot out simultaneously, and that would be that. But no - I get to shed, in a very undignified manner, for however long it takes to shed.

You might be thinking, "that's not so bad. In fact, that's kind of funny."

There's more.

For the past several weeks, I've had some kind of viral bronchitis that subjects me to violent coughing fits every so often. As a woman who has borne a child, that means that these coughing fits force me to "leak" - in other words, to pee my pants ever so slightly. I have peed my pants many, many times in the past couple of weeks, so frequently that I am now permanently sporting a pantiliner. Thankfully, I am not (yet) in need of something with more absorbency (such as Depends), though I do need to change pads after every "episode." I developed a head cold this weekend, and found that sneezing can accomplish this same outcome. If you ever see a woman walking, and she stops walking to cough or sneeze, you can safely assume that she has stopped walking so that she can press her thighs together with every ounce of strength she can muster.

Still here? I haven't gotten to the most disgusting part yet.

So, I get these weird pimples on the backs and inside of my thighs, usually after I shave my legs. They don't clear up like normal pimples do. Instead, they swell up and get really red and disgusting, and then they eventually chill out and fade somewhat, leaving me with dark purple marks forever. I've stopped wearing my swimsuit without shorts because of this. Anyway, so now that I'm on chemo and I have to be worried about all manner of infection, I've had to clean the latest one with alcohol and bandage it up with antibacterial ointment. But first, of course, I had to call my mom, the former nurse, and ask for her advice on disgusting and embarrassing pimple care (the obvious question: to pop or not to pop? We decided not to, since breaking the skin involves a greater risk of infection.), which in itself involved breaking a bit of protocol for me, since I usually don't share this sort of thing (not that you can tell from this post). I sincerely hope that when I wake up tomorrow morning and inspect the area, I don't see anything that means I have to show it to my doctor, since this particular one is quite high up on my inner thigh and therefore in a location I would really prefer to keep to myself (well, I've shared it with you, but enough is enough).

There's nothing else particularly disgusting going on with me right now, but rest assured, I will keep you posted.


bobvis said...

I can't believe I'm actually posting on this post, but I might as well because I have a question: why shave your thighs if it causes pimples that you seem less than proud of?

Plain(s)feminist said...

Well, it's an obvious question. I started using an electric razor, which mostly ended the problem. I don't know what happened this time, but this was not shaving-induced.

bobvis said...

Got it. Thanks for sharing! (I think.)

Most of the people I have known closely for any length of time have some medical issues or other that involves stuff that isn't polite dinner conversation. It isn't so much a question of whether you or someone close to you goes through it, but when. And at that point, you have to deal with physical things that don't fit the norm.

I long ago decided that the norm is actually pretty disgusting by itself. I mean, all of us have slime we carry around with us all the time, and just talking to someone involves opening this slime-infested orifice and blowing air out of it.

Did I mention I'm great fun at cocktail parties?

Anonymous said...

Could the pimples be ingrown hairs? I get those after I shave.

Renegade Evolution said...

I hope the evil pimples go away with no worry or infection or whatnot.

Ahhh, thats why they stop walking...learn something new every day!

Anonymous said...

You realise that your humour about these "unmentionable" things makes you more attractive than ever !

Anonymous said...

I agree with diva.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Sounds also like borderline B-deficiency, which I had in high-school and again as a drug addict. You might try some folic acid or a B complex. The chemo is stressing you out. That's why so many vitamin concoctions say "Stress Tabs" or whatever; they have extra Bs. (The body uses up B vitamins in times of stress--the normal amounts may not be sufficient.) I wouldn't take a multi-vitamin unless your doctor advises it (K might interfere with chemo)--but some extra B in the form of nutritional yeast or brewer's yeast is harmless and very good for the diet. I sprinkle nutritional yeast on my popcorn and now prefer it to anything else.

And if that qualifies as preaching, sorry, but I can't restrain myself. :P If I didn't care, I wouldn't say anything. And believe me, plenty of people I don't care about. ;)

Also, you might try NEEM lotion for the irritation; it's the most amazing thing for skin in the entire world. The only negative is it smells a bit like Citronella, which I don't like. (I have one customer currently on chemo, also using it, and rave reviews.)

My aunt told me about the pubic hair already!

Anonymous said...

Take care of you, plain(s)feminist. After my own diagnosis three years ago, I still find these unexpected moments of confronting the issues so strange, almost. Yet, they pass, you know, in their own fashion.


Plain(s)feminist said...

hee hee - Daisy, I appreciate the concern. Thanks!

Julie - I don't think so, but I'm sure it is some kind of hair follicle irritation.

DD and Danielle - thank you. I kind of thought that would be the case for folks who appreciate a good sense of humor! It's too funny not to blog about!

Plain(s)feminist said...

Thanks for the good wishes.

I would *love* to chat with you at a cocktail party! (I think.)

bobvis said...

(I think.)

Wow. That was really well done. Respect.

Alcuin Bramerton said...

Pubic hair is a metaphor for the fears of the jungle. What may be concealed therein, listening, waiting? And with what malevolent intent? Remove the jungle and the sunlight enters, dissipating irrational fears.

Octogalore said...

This too shall pass, PF. You're taking everything in stride. And Bobvis is right. Even under day-to-day circumstances, or hell, pregnancy, we all have very unglamorous things going on that could kill any crushes anyone who's just about the outer layer has on us.

Anyway, a lot of good thoughts happening out here for you. Hugs.

Erica said...

I already knew I loved your blog, but this was AWESOME. I feel like we communicate in similar ways.

Anyway, you rock. Had to say it again.

Plain(s)feminist said...

Octo and Erica - Thanks!!

belledame222 said...

Oh, whee, good times all around, eh? :/

I am also with DD.

and yeah, bobvis is right: the human condition is actually pretty gross when you stop and think about it.