Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Savor the Flavor

It would seem I am at risk of turning this blog into an online hiking photo album.  Another weekend came and went, and we spent another Saturday out enjoying the sun.  The morning was blanketed thick in Anchorage fog.  Tired of the gloom, we drove up to Glen Alps, a near-town trail head up in the alpine.  Part way up, we breached the low lying clouds and emerged into brilliant blue skies.  C let out a squeal and clapped her hands.  Just seeing the sky made it all better.

(House above the fog with Mt. Spur in the background.)

(Fog lapping up on the foothills of the Chugach range.  That is what we lived in the whole of last week.)

We had no real destination to start with, but ultimately set our sights on Ship Lake Pass.  The sun continued to shine, our feet continued to move one in front of the other, and the miles ran away like so many scattering mice.  I did tire, and before long we picked a turn around spot not far from the pass itself.

(Standing where we decided to throw in the towel.  The Peak on the left is the Ramp.  The pass is, well, the pass pictured on the right.)

But we had already come so far!  Our we really turning around?  Yes.  We should stick to our guns.  But is it really that much further?  Should we just soldier on?  Yes.  OK, then.  To the pass it will be after all.

(At the pass, looking into the further reaches of the Chugach.)

(Looking down on Ship Lake in its fall finery.)

So the hike ended up being something over twelve miles, with something around 3,000 feet of vertical gain. It was a good day in the hills, and we were glad for the views.  As we creep up on the end of the third chemo cycle, I've been feeling pretty good, and I'm thankful I could put in a good twelve miles.  I've had more energy than at the end of the second cycle.  I'm not sure what to credit for that, but I will not complain.  C and I went for a run after work today, and the legs felt spry.  I was able to push up to a 7:30 pace and hold it for about a mile.  Not exactly pre-chemo levels, but it nevertheless felt good to pick up some speed and let the legs loose.  And I couldn't have done so at the end of the second cycle.

Now to talk hair.  Hair loss is the most obvious manifestation of chemo, and accordingly always a fun topic of conversation.  Long time readers will recall a prior post with "then" and "now" photos comparing the bearded, full-head of hair version of Scott with the post clippers version.  The truly observant will have noted all along the continued presence of a flavor saver, aka soul patch, aka pretentious patch of hair left behind on my lower lip.  The flavor saver started as a joke, something I would wear to work for a few days and then shave off.  But soon thereafter my hair started falling out, and I decided to save the saver until the bitter end.  The other day, C and I were looking at pictures on the hard drive (remember when you had to do so in albums?) and noted a remarkable change in its appearance.  See for yourself.  Then (first in profile, second straight on):

And now (in a smaller crop):

The vast majority of my pretentious lower lip hair seems to have fallen out.  I knew it had thinned, but didn't really appreciate the degree to which it had done so.  At least I still have my eyebrows.  With eyebrows, the general public is left wondering: Is he a racist neo-Nazi from Idaho?  A straight-edged punk from D.C. circa 1986?  Just a lazy guy who prefers low maintenance hair cuts?  Once the eyebrows go you really take on the look of a chemo-patient, and all mystery disappears.   

I start the fourth cycle tomorrow.  Here's to the approaching 2/3 milepost.


  1. Dude, I have never run a 7:30 mile. And a 12 mile hike would be pretty rough. Now, I am not going to suggest that raising two kids under the age of 4 is more exhausting and fitness-sucking than chemo, but come on....

    And one other possibility when you lose your eyebrows is that people might think you are a devotee of The Wall.

  2. No, I'm willing to agree that raising two kids under four could be as exhausting as chemo. At least chemo is cyclical. The kids are there all the time! No running or hiking now. I'm at that stage where a 15 minute walk around the block puts me under.

    Ah yes, Pink. A famous eyebrow-less character from film. I'm pretty sure the brows will be in place from here on out, but if they go I'm using The Wall as my excuse. Thanks for the tip!