Oct 29 2005

The Best Bangs On The Market Today

Patsy Stone models the latest in cancerwear

Yesterday my oncologist persuaded me to have a PET scan, which is one of those shoot-you-up-with-radioactive-isotopes-and-lie-absolutely -motionless-in-a-giant-metal-tube-for-an-hour dealios. Supposedly it will tell her (the oncologist) where else my disease has migrated, but according to the technician the results are classified until I have had a chance to enjoy 48 hours of panic attacks.

The PET scan experience was unpleasant, but I survived, largely due to a prophylactic Valium. The worst part was the dark little room where they parked me for 45 minutes while the glowing chemicals coursed their way throughout the Twisty physique; during this interim I was not allowed to move a muscle, which instruction extended even unto the thumbing of an issue of People magazine or the using of a cell phone or the lifting of the Twisty melon off the headrest. No, I was enjoined to recline on the ubiquitous Barcalounger and "relax," the latter of which was impossible due to the persistent cacophony of (a) a flaccid new age musical composition on permaloop and (b) a trickling tabletop fountain which sounded like an incontinent old man.

Then I had Cancer School, in which a chemo nurse addressed a group of the newly-diagnosed (seated, of course, in Barcaloungers) with a gripping litany of the repellent side effects of chemotherapy ("sores on your bottom"), recipes for home-made mouthwash ("for the sores in your mouth"), and suggestions for concealing one’s inevitable baldness ("lots of women use turbans").

Then I had a flu shot. Damn, that hurt. Almost as much as the idea of me in a turban.

Afterward my sister and I adjourned to P. Terry’s Burger Stand–currently my favorite burger stand–and ate burgers in P. Terry’s little outdoor burger-garden. The weather here in South Austin is still pretty clement, and the siren call of the outdoor burger-garden is difficult to resist. P. Terry makes a small, two-dimensional, crispy burger which I can recommend without hesitation.


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  1. Ron Sullivan

    (quacky screech ) GET THAT HAIR OUT OF YOUR EYES!! (/quacky screech)

    Sorry, sometimes I get out of bed too early and channel the Universal Mother.

    Ok, OK, I’ll turn it on myownself and Monday I’ll make an appointment for the Twisty Invitational Titsquish. Go ahead and make fun of me; I’m 56 and haven’t has my tits squished yet. We have a family tradition of heart attacks instead.

  2. jayann

    during this interim I was not allowed to move a muscle,

    like MRI scans (but they did give me a panic button!), I managed to move very slightly and they had to redo it.

  3. Tony Patti

    My heart popped a little when I read that your sister was with you. Sisters are good for things like this. It’s nice to have someone there who can still see you as you were when you were a kid. There is a certain timelessness to the way your relatives, especially siblings, see you that is therapeutic, since they unconsciously see the little kid you were without any effort at all.

  4. larkspur

    Turbans. Yuck.

    There’s a young woman who works at my local Borders Book Store who’s in treatment, and she wears one of an assortment of smooth page-boy wigs in colors like Candy Apple Red, turquoise, and shiny shiny silver.

  5. Sally

    No, I was enjoined to recline on the ubiquitous Barcalounger and “relax,” the latter of which was impossible due to the persistent cacophony of (a) a flaccid new age musical composition on permaloop

    Eek! When I had my MRIs, they let me choose my own music. They said they’d either put the radio on the station I wanted or I could bring in my own CD. Being sick is crappy enough. There is no reason to compound the misery with Enya.

  6. Amanda Marcotte

    Too bad they don’t make paste-on Mohawks. Someone somewhere should be thinking of the funny.

    I hope chemo goes well for you. I’m sure you’ll pull through just fine.

  7. Anonymous

    A member of my dissertation committee was photographed mid-treatment last winter with a BLUE wig!

    She always wanted to do the blue-died hair thing – we’re talking bright blue here. For her, this was a chance to do all sorts of temporary random hair things she would not do with her permanent real blonde hair. She also had a screamingly tart red wig too.

    No need to look as if nothing was happening to you, so that you can look like a PMA trouper and not tax the sympathies of those around you. Damn those bangs! Go bald if you can stand the Texas sun or winter chill on your head! Or how about a devo flowerpot hat or basket of fruit or what have you? I’ve even seen body paint. Just go for whatever is you.

  8. Twisty

    I hope I did not give the impression that I intend to be sporting a turban with fake bangs.

    Although back when I was a rock star I had a ton of different wigs, my favorite of which was a salt-and-pepper semi-frizzy one that made me look like a 56-year-old East Coast Jewish art historian. I enjoyed its incongruence with the banging out of songs like “My Baby Won’t Go Down On Me” in dank and delightful punk clubs.

  9. Dylan

    Does anyone else find it fascinating that the “Best Bangs on the Market” can be had for less than $20?

  10. Twisty

    Does anyone else find it fascinating that the “Best Bangs on the Market” can be had for less than $20?

    I remember when I made my first sexist pun on a feminist blog.

  11. Kyra

    I have it on good authority that the best bangs on the market are Molotov cocktails.

  12. FlippyO

    When I had my MRI, they didn’t even offer to let me listen to music. I’d even brought my own CD. Instead, I had to listen to the thumping of the machine. The Xanax I took made me think the process only lasted a few minutes. The patriarchy taketh away, yet giveth at the same time.

    “Sores on your bottom”? Ugh, I had no idea.

  13. Chris Clarke

    Twisty, that is so going in the iPod.

  14. kathy a

    i always thought pet scan sounded a little weird, like a pet rock, only not as entertaining. crossing fingers about the results.

    the thought of wigs made my friend apoplectic, although she had some good laughs looking at them –she went with scarves that she liked but wouldn’t otherwise indulge in. when my dad had chemo, he simply announced that he looked like “uncle fester,” which had the humorous advantage of suggesting he finally looked like a well-known TV star.

    the art-historian look in a punk club — how fabulous!

  15. Rene

    I have a long, white glow-in-the-dark wig that I’ll gladly send you if you want it. On the basis of my mother-in-law’s post-chemo experience, I have concluded that the more expensive and realistic the wig, the worse it actually looks. She found turbans much more comfortable, but they seemed to bum out my father-in-law, so she wore some custom-made number that was supposed to fit perfectly but somehow never did. (I’m happy to report that, thanks to surgery and chemo, she’s now free of ovarian cancer, with the unexpected bonus of newly curly hair.)

    As for burgers, I prefer the crispy and lacy-edged ’50s diner variety, too. Xian, who, like most hardcore carnivores, prefers the jaw-taxing, pink-in-the-middle kind, has learned through hard experience to make the only kind I’ll eat. He calls it the Betty Lou Burger.

  16. nicky

    Sores on your bottom and in your mouth — from chemo for breast cancer? Never heard of such a thing. Are they going to give you the “red devil” cocktail? I forget the actual science-fictiony-sounding names of the drugs — Adriamyacin, perhaps? It’ll make your pee look like red Kool-Aid, for a day or so anyway after each “treatment,” which is kind of fun in a perverse way. Just make sure they put plenty of those anti-nausea meds into the mix. I never even barfed once during my chemo, although it can kick the shit out of your energy level.

    In terms of bald-head decor, I wish I’d had the nerve to do what I saw one young woman do during her treatment: sail through her daily routine sans scarf, wig, or turban, her beautiful round head adorned with temporary tattoos. I do like the idea of a paste-on Mohawk. I had to get all conventional-like and buy well-made wigs that mimicked my normal dark-brown bob style as closely as possible. I’d run into people who didn’t know I was going thru chemo who truly didn’t know it wasn’t my real hair, and at the time that gave me a much-needed feeling of semi-normalcy. But whatever, it’s all patriarchally-prescribed bullshit anyway.

    Fuck it, it’s just hair. It grows back.

  17. TimT

    … a small, two-dimensional crispy burger …

    Two-dimensional? The mind boggles. That’s one of the more original phrases employed by restaurant critics. Has P. Terry found a means of subverting the dominant three-dimensional burger paradigm? What will this master do next, I wonder? Create a burger which is molded to the curvature of space-time?

    Now that’s something I’d go anywhere to eat!

  18. chessie

    Chemo will take with wind out of your sails.

    Not to worry it will pass. As the previous poster said INSIST ON THE ANTI-NAUSEA MEDS!!

    Hair does grow back, but it’s best to cut is close so you don’t get into the mange look.

    The biggest problem is that people don’t know how to relate to you. Many will shy away as if you had leprosy, because they don’t want to say something like “how ya doin” It’s odd but you will find yourself making the healthy fell comfortable to be around you.

    Strenght is your greatest asset, so just hang in there.

  19. ae

    When I had my MRI (for shoulder troubles), I made the mistake of not being worried about it at all and therefore not making arrangements for being medicated for it. As a result, what I considered a not so significant case of “claustrophobia” became actually kind of significant. I had to force myself into the machine and in doing so ratcheted up my adrenalin so high that it had nowhere to go but into uncontrollable all-body shakes, during which I heard a little tinny voice come over the mini-speaker to say, “She’s shaking too hard; I can’t see anything.” DAMMIT! 10 minutes of my MRI = completely useless. I almost laughed. Frickin’ bodies, they don’t do what you tell them. (But sometimes this is a good thing.)

    This is all to say, Twisty, take the drugs. All of them. Then ask for more, especially anything that will help you not have panic attacks and will help you sleep. And if they offer you some sort of mild amnesiac, take that, too! “Relaxing,” while always relative during cancer treatment, is possible. Also, in high stress situations, normally unperturbed folks can become highly perturbed or little phobias can become big ones. Contingency plans can save a lot of further stress.

    And I’m glad your sis was w/ you, too. As Tony said above, they remember who you are, not to mention that they have already fought w/ you for a lifetime so you can forego the effin’ PMA and be full on grouchy and self-pitying. F*ck it. I’m happy she’s taking care of you. Sending good thoughts during these interminable 48 hrs for which I blame the patriarchy.

  20. ae

    P.S. Will “The Best Bangs on the Market” perhaps become the companion piece to the peerless “My Baby Won’t Go Down on Me”?

  21. Indri

    When my dad was having his PET scans, I got the idea that they need to integrate spa treatments into PET/CAT/MRI scans. Like, aromatherapy wraps or something, where you’re covered in warm goo and bundled in warm towels, and only then do they pop you in the tube. I think it would make relaxing and holding still a lot easier. Here’s hoping that your results are clean.

    One point about chemo that I think is worth mentioning: yes, you can have side effects, wretched ones. But you won’t necessarily have all of them, or they may not all be as severe as the doctors are preparing you for. My father went through three rounds, and the side effects really varied from round to round.

    Good luck, Twisty!

  22. Erin

    My significant other’s dad came down with a pretty bad case of the colon cancer three years ago. After surgery, when they told him he needed chemo and sent him to cancer school, he was all set to have an awful experience. He said the fatigue was bad and made him feel old, which was depressing. But he only puked after the first treatment, and his hair actually got thicker for the duration of his treatment. Which is good; he would have looked terrible with bangs.

  23. Joolya

    My aunt and godmother both had some very soft cute hats, made out of that fuzzy blanket material, because they said wigs and regular hats itched like crazy. I think it’s time to bring hats back into fashion – if anyone can make chemo cool it’s Twisty – maybe some little cloche flapper hats?

  24. syfr

    Twisty, I am one of the knitters, and I can also crochet. If you are not so inclined, but find a pattern for something you like, please email me (the address is checked at least weekly), and I will see if I can make it for you.

    BTW, my mom lost 2/3 of her hair in chemo (ovarian), and she still had enough that she looked like she had a full head. I don’t know if the different drug regimens will affect hair loss, but there is the chance you will not need anything.

  25. Nancy M

    Classified results?
    Much preferred to hearing the “oh shit what a mess” from the ultrasound tech.
    Forget what hair looks like, it insulates.
    Anything fluffy and air-holding feels pretty good.
    Turbans are not in that category.

  26. julia

    When my husband had cancer, he hated the Barcalounger he had to sit in for chemo. He always hated ugly furniture.

    He wore a baseball cap, not just to hide the baldness, but to hide the scar from the surgery.

    We had fun with the wigs. He would put one on and talk with a funny accent and we would have great sex. Weird, sure.

  27. yankee transplant

    I’m voting for the paste-on Mohawk, myself. Thinking of your patriarchy-blaming self, Twisty. Keep the faith.

  28. syfr

    Twisty, I am serious about making you a hat; it’s something I can do for you as a thank you for your blog.

    I thought maybe some horns:

    or cat ears:

    or even fruit:
    (which I will make in an adult size)

    If you are mathematically inclined, there is always the Klein bottle hat:

    If you are interested in anything else, please let me know what and I will search for a pattern for it.

  29. weeza

    Me (in MRI scanner, shaking with cold because of the draught sorry draft whistling through it to stop people passing out): Could you stop for a moment? I’m going to sneeze.
    Tech: No, hold it, only one more 4 minute scan to go
    MRI Scanner: bi-bip-bi-bip-bi-bip DRILL DRILL DRILL CLANG CLANG CLANG
    Me: uh…uh… WA-CHOOOOOOOO!
    Tech: Bollocks.

  30. Octopod

    You could shave your scalp completely and get it tattooed all over. I’ve always been vaguely tempted to do that anyhow.

  31. Ledasmom

    What about the Chicken Viking Hat?

    Stylish and appetizing!

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