It's a creekmore world

Week #5: Hair loss and Hair bands at Cancerpalooza

Such a bad-ass.  I'm in love.
We finally have a great week, one so exciting we named it Cancer-Palooza. Where were YOU?  It was the hottest event in NYC.

But for the hair, you wouldn’t have known this family was grappling with cancer. This week reads like our travel blog, which is a nice change of pace.


Hair loss is hard

Trish has thick, gorgeous hair.   It’s long, curly and accents her face perfectly.  Hair (like teeth) is a major source of image and strength and people get depressed when they loose their hair, naturally or otherwise.   Total hair loss is like some kind of prison camp punishment.

Tink looks a lot happier since she quit her job last fall!
When her hair started falling out in 2004, Trish went to the salon to get a bob, thinking that a shorter cut would last for a few more weeks.   Our beloved stylist, Sonja, had to hold back tears because the hair was coming out in clumps.

Sonja knew it would be gone shortly.  But she couldn’t tell Trish. Only a few days later, the hair fell out and  Trish sobbed and sobbed.    It was really, really hard.  Our little girls, 4 and 1 years old, were pretty freaked out too.

She's no Cheap Trick.
This time, I am determined to avoid some of that heartache by cutting her hair in a celebratory ceremony, before it comes out in chunks.   The plaan, devised a few weeks ago, is to give her a giant liberty mohawk, dye it pink and go to a punk show.  (The original Punk for Tink outfit (left) was designed to go with the mohawk).  The girls will get their hair dyed pink and help out too.

Trish didn’t feel good enough to go to the punk show or have a haircut and though she was game for the mohawk ceremony, she also wanted to keep the hair as long as she could. So we waited a few weeks. The ‘hawk didn’t last for long.  The hair was coming out in clumps by the time it happened.  But it was pretty fun, and helped take the sting out of the loss.

Aquanet makes cancer her bitch.

Before the event, I had bought a wahl clipper set and found the best instructions for mohawk-making.  My tool set included a large bottle of Aqua-net and some ultra-pink Manic Panic.

All the neighborhood kids want pink hair now too.
The first step was to streak the girls hair in bright pink, which they absolutely loved.  Then they each, (somewhat recklessly)  make a ceremonial cut in Trish’s giant head of hair.   Off come the largest clumps with scissors, then I buzz it down to the scalp on both sides.

Trish laughed as I began to spray the Aquanet.  “This smells like clubs in the 80’s”   But I’m not laughing.  This is much harder than it looked in the video.   Her hair is so thick and long that it flops over.  I can hear the cancer mocking me ‘HA HA RETARD.’  Aquanet covers my hands and the loose hair sticks to it like a hair paw. It looks gruesome and feels creepy.

Lily sprays Aqua-net in my mouth.
’More Aqua-Net.  Stat!’ Lily, my assistant, grabs the bottle and sprays the Aquanet, but misses Trish’s hair and gets it in my mouth. ‘Aaaaahhhgg.  Bleh.’  I wipe my lips futilely with the furry hand and get a mouthfull of hair.  Yuck.

Determined to make the hair stand up,  I grab the hair dryer, hold the aquanet bottle right at the roots of her hair and spray until I can see silver droplets form.  Then I heat-blast her scalp until Trish yells ‘OUCH, THATS FUCKING HOT” ‘Oh, sorry’, I mumble to Trish unconvincingly.

But the hair stood up. Victory!  Take that, Cancer.  You’re Aquanet’s bitch now.

10 minutes later, and a half-bottle of Aquanet, we had a full mohawk. Trish looks amazing.  She has a beautiful scalp, perfectly proportioned to her face.  See all the pictures of the Mohawk Ceremony here.

The whole thing makes us laugh, which is good, because I can tell it’s a little hard for Trish.   She doesn’t want to break down in front of the girls.  It’s not really worth keeping the mohawk for very long. In short time, Trish is down to a buzzcut, which I think looks adorable.  She has a perfect little head.


The Bolt bus is long but our girls know how to handle it.
This is the final week before the second chemo treatment.  I remember from last time that Trish’s anxiety grows as the day approaches.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a master plan to make this a blow-out weekend of fun in NYC.  If I’ve done it right, she won’t have a spare moment to feel anxious.

We depart on Thursday, with the whole family on the Boltbus – which is a great deal.  It’s $50 for a round-trip, with WiFi, AC, leather seats, outlets for computers and a reasonably clean bathroom.  With hundreds of hours logged on airplanes, our girls easily settle in for the 5 hour drive.

It's fleet week, so there are two Aircraft carriers, a submarine and a destroyer outside our window.
I chose Ink48 as our hotel.  We like Kimpton hotels a lot, and this one does not dissapoint.  We overlook the Hudson river from 14 floors up, and it’s fleet week!  So there is a second aircraft carrier and a destroyer docked next to the Intrepid.  The view is amazing.

Trish starts Friday with a spa day at Great Jones spa, which she describes as a cavernous, water and rock themed spa with industrial elements from old New York like steel walkways and brick walls.  

Emma has oreo pancakes for breakfast before departing wiht uncle Stephen.
It sounds amazing, and she spends the day getting a hot stone massage, facial and manicure/pedicure.  Lucky lady.

My brother meets us near the hotel and, with the girls, we go to a diner for breakfast.  Emma starts her special weekend with the incredibly gross, oreo cookie pancakes.  The kids go off with Stephen who, along with my parents, will take them to parks, pizzerias, museums and movies for the weekend, leaving the adults ALONE FOR THREE DAYS!

Rock of Ages

Act 2 of Cancerpalooza is a Broadway Musical, ‘Rock of Ages, featuring former American Idol participant and long-time heartthrob of Trish, Constantine Maroulis.

But first we see close friends for drinks (Anthony and Allison, it was great to see you.) and eat an amazing dinner at Del Posto, where they turn out a roast chicken that was more memorable than any lobster, fois gras or aged steak I’ve ever had.  The dining room is elegant, with perfect service that’s never snooty and has no dress code.

After the show.  Constantine was sick  :(
Oh crap! As dessert comes, I realize that I’ve forgotten the damn tickets to the show at the hotel. We bolt out of the restaurant and make the cabbie wait at our hotel as I race up to our room.  We arrive at the theater with a minute to spare, and are escorted to our excellent seats, 3rd row center.

Phew, I thought Trish might miss Constantine.  The lights dim and the announcer greets us warmly with devastating news:  Constantine is sick and is being replaced by his understudy.  Dammit, this totally blows.

Trish went to college in the mid-eighties in Santa Barbara, and has always been a huge fan of Heavy Metal.  The Hair-band, L.A. scene in which ‘Rock of Ages’ is set was her thing. It’s easy to enjoy the goofy comedy and fun music of the show even without Constantine.

On the rooftop terrace of Ink48.
She even gets a guitar pick (and a wink) from Night Ranger guitarist Joel Hoekstra. But, I can see that she’s sad.

So, at intermission when she’s in the ladies room I buy us another pair of tickets for Sunday evening’s performance.  Constantine is part of Cancerpalooza and I can’t let Trish down.   When we get out of the theater I surprise her with the replacement tickets and she almost falls off her Rock n’ Roll heels.

After the show, we hit The Living Room at the W hotel down the street which is fun enough.  Then to the top of our hotel we go, where there is an amazing roof bar and view of the city but it’s getting late.  It’s tiring having an epic blow-out weekend and we’re only on day one.

Trish agrees to marry me?

Carriers by daytime.
The next day we awaken to a beautiful view and have breakfast in bed. We attack H&M for two hours and come out with a monstrous haul of cheap but great stuff including the $30 dress she wears to Lincoln Center the next day (picture below).

We skip the trip to Soho designer stores and take a long nap with the windows wide open looking out onto the aircraft carriers.

The evening plan, as I’ve explained to Trish, is to go to a 6:30 reservation at the Spice Market and then see Sex in the City 2 at the Ziegfield.  

Beautiful spa nails, a silly bandz, and our Taxicab wedding ring.
I bill it as the ‘easy’ night of the Cancerpalooza weekend.  Trish, being ever trusting, buys the story wholesale.

On the way to the restaurant, the Indian cabbie asks us if we are married, and could he perform a ceremony where we renew our vows to each other?  ‘Of course’ we say together. He quickly mumbles an epic poem about how much the groom loves the bride and thumbs through a box he has on the passenger side.

At the end, when I’ve asked Trish to marry me again (and she says ‘yes.’  duh.)  he gives us each a Silly Bandz, and her a plastic ring.  Friends of ours say they had the same guy a few years back.  Gotta love New York.

A Grad school reunion surprise

On our way in the cab.  She suspects nothing.
We’re not going to see Sex in the City 2.  lawl.  In fact, I’ve been planning a reunion of her closest friends from Columbia Graduate Journalism school and they are waiting at Spice House for an evening of food, drink and Trish!

At the restaurant, we walk up to the private alcove table I reserved, pull back the curtains and SURPRISE!  She’s stunned, and shocked.  Tears roll down her face. I’ve rarewy, if ever, seen her happier. The food is amazing, we order the long tasting menu and lots to drink.

Afterward we go to the Gilt Bar at the New York Palace Hotel, the former Villard Mansion once owned and run by Leona Helmsley.   They’ve added some very modern elements to the bar that make a stunning old-world/new-world design.    It gets pretty late, and after long hugs and more tears, everyone heads home.  Her cancer took a punch to the head tonight.


Some high-brow…

When the ballet says 'Jacket Required', they didn't mean motorcycle jacket.
Trish is a trained dancer, and has helped me develop an appreciation for the art.  A stop to the NYC Ballet in the afternoon is next.

It’s a three-part performance of Balanchine’s choreography. Some of it is amazing, some seems routine.  But Lincoln center is always a special place.

Trish and I like caviar and I have arranged a caviar tasting and dinner at Petrossian the leading importer of caviar in the U.S.  

The rockers get a little kultcha at Lincoln Center.
The Petrossian restaurant serves French/Russian cuisine with gawdy decor but good service in the former space of the Russian Tea Room near Carnegie Hall.

It’s expensive, and the entree is boring (sturgeon in caviar-cream sauce with white asparagus – lol) but the caviar sampling, foie gras, and smoked salmon are heaven. We tried four varieties of farmed California caviar from the salty, bitter cheap stuff,  to the smooth, large, sweet high end of sturgeon eggs. The difference from high to low is substantial but only if you eat it straight.


… and the low-brow

Rock of Ages
And now, the final act of cancerpalooza:  Constantine!  He doesn’t dissapoint.  Rock of Ages is a million times better with him in it, and Trish gets all flushed with excitement when he does his famous love-stare at her (and every other girl in the first three rows.)

Satisfied that we got what we came for in NYC, we crash in our beautiful hotel room before waking up and heading back to D.C. with the kids. Trish says it’s the ‘best weekend ever’. It’s hard to believe that she has to do chemo again tomorrow.

Happy Cancer 101 Surprises

Nothing much new here.  Most of the Cancerpalooza weekend are her surprises.

16) Ballet and caviar: Some old school fun with a Russian theme.
17) Surprise party Best. Surprise. Evah.

They look hotter than when they were in Grad school.

18) Grand Street Spa day: This place was featured in New York Magazine as one of the top 10. Trish says is was pretty damn good. The hot stone massage can be lame, but Trish says it was perfect.

19) Rock of Ages – twice (and del posto): The music is less hair metal and more pop anthem (Styx, Foreigner, Journey) but it’s never pretentious and full of goofy humor.

20) Classic Louboutins Every girl should have these peep-toe, sling back platform pumps in a patent leather. They are classic, with great curves and amazing composition. Trish says sling backs are generally uncomfortable but these are amazingly comfortable.

One thought on “Week #5: Hair loss and Hair bands at Cancerpalooza

  1. Dave

    All of this is just fantastic. Great write-up and just a lovely read. Keep that girl happy! She will be over this a second time, in no time!

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