Because Nothing Says Drama Like a Bloody Nose

16 Dec

I have days where it’s easy for me to feel normal, even feel well. Like yesterday. Despite being bald and all I had a lovely day. I made holiday cookies with my mom, watched the adorable documentary Babies and got to wear my apron. Drama free.

yes, i'm kind of dancing in my apron...that's why it's blurry

Or like this past weekend. Chris and I spent a lovely afternoon reading and eating at one of my favorite bars.

yes, beer is allowed during chemo

Then we decorated our Christmas tree. Very domestic.

Penny and our Charlie Brown tree

I have some semblance of normalcy.

Then there is today.

I woke up with big plans for a cancer patient. Walk the dog, do some yoga, go to the dermatologist and pick up a special prescription mouthwash to soothe my sore mouth. You know, dream big. The first sign that things weren’t going to go as planned should have been the bloody mucousy blob I sneezed up while getting dressed. See, I’ve been getting nosebleeds lately. Little ones that take maybe a minute to stop. No big deal. Avastin tends to make blood vessels more friable and my platelet count has dropped below the normal range. I sort of figure nosebleeds are to be expected. That said, my marvelous chemo nurse scolds me when I don’t call her when weird things happen, so I’ve been keeping track and reporting in.

This morning, I ignored the bloody mucousy blob. Why? Because I do denial right. I swaddled myself in my long puffy coat, big hat and scarf covering half my face and headed out to walk Penny. About 15 minutes into my walk I felt the distinct below the nose trickle that has come to mean to me: nosebleed. Previously my nosebleeds had been one, maybe two trickle nosebleeds. Wipe away and move on sort of things. I tried this classy technique on my walk. More trickles followed. Hmm. I realized, due to my denial I chose not to bring any tissues with me on this walk. Hmm. I also realize that I’m still 10 minutes or so away from home and I really like this scarf. And these gloves. Oh dear.

Suddenly, this turned into the worst nosebleed yet. Worst nosebleed ever! I was on a busy road, standing across the street from the firehouse, leaning over, trying to let the blood just flow on to the ground in an attempt to spare my winter clothing. This quickly failed. I cupped my gloved hand under my nose and try to hustle back home. My glove transformed from ivory cashmere to bloody mess. Finally I surrendered, taking off my glove and stuffing it under my nose.

So yeah, if you were driving around East Haddam this morning and saw a deranged looking person wearing a purple Steve Madden hat and clutching a bloody rag (that used to be a lovely glove) to their bloody face…that was me.

I made it home. But blood, it turns out, makes a big old mess. I removed my glove from my face and woah! Suddenly there’s blood splashed all over the floor! I try this process again, leaning over the sink with some toilet paper ready and woah! Somehow blood still ends up dripping down the cabinets! I also may have accidently touched a white towel. Woops.

The bleeding has stopped. Finally. My gloves are soaking in some detergent. My day is going to proceed. I’m going to skip the yoga as any time spent upside might make it all just start back up again.

And all this before my first cup of coffee. What else will today bring? Whatever else happens, I hope it happens after I get to CVS and stock up on those little tissue packet things.


8 Responses to “Because Nothing Says Drama Like a Bloody Nose”

  1. Emily December 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    Penny has never looked so regal!

  2. Barbara Call December 16, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    Colleen: your nurse would love to hear about this I’m sure! I wish I was there to play mommy with Bobbi, you know how moms always have that tissue in their purse…

  3. kathy bryson December 16, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    If I had been driving to work that way….you know I would have given you my ugly glove to use! (and probably a ride home!) See you Sunday! It’s okay if you bleed here too.

  4. Tony December 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm #


    Hi, It’s Tony. Lifelong friend of your Dad. I hate to inform you that Chris is wrong. Even on your worst day (and his best) you look *nothing* like Michael Douglas.

    You seem to be weathering the storm well. It will pass, and you will be back in medical school with a very interesting perspective to share. I think you can indeed make lemonaid of this.


    The only quote that seems appropriate is:

    “Medicine and writing go well together, they shed light on each other and both do better by going hand in hand. A doctor possessed of the writer’s art will be the better consoler to anyone rolling in agony; conversely, a writer who understands the life of the body, its powers and its pains, its fluids and functions, its blessings and banes, has a great advantage over him who knows nothing of such things.”
    –Thomas Mann

    • thezebrachronicles December 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

      Love that quote – thank you for the encouraging thoughts, Tony!

    • Mama-Zebra December 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

      Tony, you are, as you always have been, a brilliant man…thanks for being there for my child

      • Tony December 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

        Bobbi; As I recall Colleen was knee high to a duck, shortly after Stamford. Of course, I would do anything for such a brave. beautiful and promising person.

        Brilliant? No, I am but a student of the great curmudgeons.

        “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Yogi Berra

  5. Christina F. Temelini December 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    I just found out! You are amazing !
    Thank you for being you And your words of inspiration !
    Titian my Aussie would like to get together with you if you have the energy! He is in remission from his brain cancer and is starting to visit people that have something in common!

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