Chemo radio silence

It’s been a week now since surgery. I kept trying to write sooner, but honestly I didn’t have it in me.

On Thursday, I was released from hospital in yet another comedy of errors.

Both the oncologist and surgeon agreed that I could go home from hospital, but neither actually informed the hospital of their intentions. I was meant to have chemo as an inpatient before being released, so I spent Thursday in a state of increasing hysteria as hospital life went on as per usual, with no sign of chemo or any indication that I would be discharged from hospital.

It was 3pm by the time I figured out that the hospital hadn’t heard that I was to be discharged. It turned out that they were awaiting a bed on the chemo level so that they could transfer me and my treatment would continue as an inpatient, with me staying on in hospital.

I hit the roof.

You can’t tell someone they’re going home from hospital and then say “oops, no, you’re just getting some chemo in a whole new ward and staying on” and expect it to go A-OK.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (I’m boring me), I was in my new hospital bed for a whole three hours before successfully escaping the hospital and returning home.

Thank. God.

I think with all my hospital rabble rousing and hysteria I gave a close family member the impression that I wasn’t just planning on skipping the hospital, but my chemo and future treatment and future livelihood as well.

Let me assure you that if I decide to skip out on my treatment, I won’t be returning home to Darlinghurst, five minutes away from the fricking hospital.

I will be booking a one way ticket to deepest, darkest Africa, or maybe sun kissed Mauritius and you will be hearing nothing from me. Not a thing.

So here’s where I’m at.

I’m bald. Really really really really bald. The shaved head was cool. It had street cred. My new mannequin head is not cool at all. It’s freaky. I’ve been looking at it for a week now and it’s still freaky.

I’m also nauseous, and exhausted. The latest round of chemo really hit hard. Evidently the last round was insufficiently vile and so they upped the dose (true).

I also only have one breast. So any remaining body confidence I had is now a distant memory.

The chemo also brings with it depression, so I’ve been alternating tears and rages, favoring the tears. Pity, because I actually think rages are probably more fun, but I’m just not really the raging type.

Cancer, you’ve really got me now.

I honestly spent a week trying to figure out a positive way to present this, on this, my happy blog.

But the simple truth is, sometimes you just have to say it like it is and say yes it sucks.

I managed to avoid the cancer feeling for a really long time. I was diagnosed on June 8. I had the bilateral mastectomy on August 8. I went through IVF and then started chemo, and then lost my third breast on October 8. So really I’ve done pretty well to go this long before going and now I really feel like I have cancer.

Superficial I know, but I think it was the baldness. That’s the point where I ceased to even feel comfortable in my own home. I keep a hat on standby at all times in case someone comes to the door and avoid open windows on to the street.

So, in response to the concern that I might run for my bloody life, all I can say is, it’s too late. I had ample time in the first four months to bolt when I was healthy(ish) and looked like everyone else.

No, I’m here, and hanging in here.

The side effects of round two are lessening now. Hopefully within another few days I’ll be back on my feet properly.

I’m sure I’ll get my head around the hat/wig/scarf thing as well, but I think it’ll take some time.

Currently I’m shunning the scarf thing because it looks too cancer. It sounded like a great idea in theory but in practice I just look tiny headed and sick. The wig is pretty hot, and as it’s headed for summer here I’m not sure I should get too dependent on it.

It seems that caps and hats are the go, so I’ll be building my collection rapidly.

I’ll also need to get myself a fake tit (charming) which I’m sure will make for an interesting blog post.

So bear with me. Allow me my space to whinge and mourn and tell the truth and I’m sure things will be on the improve soon.

Much love.




  1. Noni Edwards

    Hang in there Nic! Cold comfort I’m sure, but if you want the warmer variety I can also offer that. Come and visit me in Dubai! It would be a natural stopover for either deepest darkest Africa or sun-kissed Mauritius. You really could experiment with headscarves here, they’re pretty popular. If you can wait until next March, the Qantas alliance will kick in so you can fly with the kangaroo too. But Emirates is pretty sweet regardless. I think you should do it but I don’t want you to quit anything in the meantime. Come anytime xxx

  2. highinbrixham

    My heart goes out to you. I know how you feel. When I had my bilateral mastectomy, 10 years ago, I was OK. I guess because I just looked in mirrors that were shoulders up, and my cleavage was pretty good (that was the ONLY thing that was any good about my reconstruction!) Then one day I caught myself in a mirror lower down, and had to admit that my body – I’d never been particularly proud of it – was scarily mutilated. No more communal changing rooms for me!
    But then you get to realise that what you look like has got bugger all to do with the REAL you. The beautiful essence that comes through in your posts, for example. That’s the REAL you. Not this manky, cancer-ridden shell of a body. Beauty of thought, wit, intelligence, eloquence – that’s the real you.
    So, mourn a bit, then try to look forward again. That trip to Dubai sounds like a winner!

  3. highinbrixham

    PS. Sounds like confusion is a universal phenomenon with hospitals! Administrative cock-ups all round, causing as much grief as the treatment. It’s quite comforting in a way to hear similar stories from all continents.

  4. YAPCaB

    Wow! I like your style! I’d suggest you do both. Some safari camps in Botswana, Africa and then a trip to Mauritius. Add a stop off in Dubai for good measure. Seriously, why not? Be sure to swipe the car and house keys from both the oncologist and surgeon to take with you. No reason they shouldn’t have some fun as well.

  5. Georgette

    I can’t say I know how you feel… but I send you a hug and prayers for more strength. You sound like you have plenty! but just in case you need to top up someday.

  6. Niccola

    Hey amazing blog community! Thanks so much for these heart warming messages, they really cheered me up and carried me through… Maybe I should do the African adventure (plus Dubai) when chemo is behind me? x

  7. Pingback: The bucket list tour | Kit and Kabooble

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