Things happened quickly after Thanksgiving 2012: The metastasized breast cancer was biopsied, analyzed and charted, Libby had another port implanted and the drug protocol was established. On December 17, 2012 we began Chemo Round Two and I posted the following message on Libby’s Caring Bridge website:
I have been a “fixer” all of my life and I have the accumulated tools and workshop to prove it. When our boys were little they naïvely thought their dad could fix anything that they broke and believe me, they broke a lot. I inherited that “fixer” mentality from my dad who saved everything and was capable, in my mind at least, of fixing anything (are you sensing a pattern here?). As a boy when trying to repair a broken toy I always wanted to give up and throw it away, but my dad’s response was always the same; “Somebody, somewhere came up an idea, designed it, built all of the pieces and assembled it. The only thing you have to do is repair one little piece to make it work again.”
As a “fixer” it has always been hard to accept help from others and today was no different as I sat idly by while nurses prepared and administered Libby’s afternoon “cocktail” of Taxatere, Herceptin, Perjeta, steroids and anti-nausea drugs, hoping and praying that they would be able to fix the only girl that I have ever loved.
Caring Bridge entry by Barry 12/17/12
We had planned to celebrate my birthday after Libby’s chemo treatment but she was soon confronted with nausea, dizziness, metallic taste and loss of appetite, similar to the symptoms that she had experienced during her first round of chemo four years earlier, so we decided to postpone the birthday celebration.
A few nights later as we were getting ready for bed, Libby was scratching her head with both hands and said, “I just can’t figure out why my head keeps itching”. Then, as if a light went on, Libby raised her eyebrows and smiled awkwardly as we both remembered, at the same time, that the itching meant her hair was getting ready to fall out just like it did four years earlier.
Without much discussion nor emotion Libby said, “OK let’s get this over with.” We walked into the bathroom where I took out our trusty Wahl clippers, attached a black plastic 1/4″ guard and I gave Libby a buzz haircut, but instead of buzzing it all, I left a 2 inch wide strip of relatively long hair on the top of her head forming the perfect Mohawk.
Readers will have to take my word for this because as I stepped into the other room to get my camera and record Libby’s new hair style, she found a mirror and…well… lets just say that she was not excited about her new look. I calmly and logically explained that there was no reason to “go on the warpath” because I could easily correct it. (It was at this point that insights gained after 33 years of marriage kicked in and I decided not to take that picture). Libby insisted that I cut the remaining hair immediately becasue she said, “What if the rapture comes and I am ‘caught up together with them in the clouds’ looking like this?”.