So, as I keep alluding to, my fuzz is coming along great guns. It’s also being rapidly joined by eyelashes and eyebrows, to my great relief! It looks to my eyes like it’s growing in a sort of gunmetal grey colour, but I could be mistaken.
What amuses me about my fuzz is how people respond to it. In general, women claim to love it, men seldom acknowledge it, and then once in a while someone wants to pat it. This I understand completely – a fuzzy head is awfully nice to pat. I have befriended a number of (high camp) local gentleman who yell out Babe, love your hair! as I walk on by.
As to how I feel, I’m not quite sure. I’m ecstatic to have hair at all, but I can’t quite adapt to my face as it is now.
So, kitandkabooble brains trust, what do you think? Here are a series of photos – before, during and after chemo.
This photo was taken about a week into chemo by my very talented photographer friend Fi. I was miserable and nauseous, but I feel in retrospect the photo shows great strength. What long thick hair I had!
These two are photographic evidence of the wig and painted on eyebrows I wore to the very lovely Kylie and Ian’s wedding. Fun fact: that’s another wonderful friend named Fee in the photos. Love my Fionas. Thanks Kylie and the talented photographers for these photos!
And here I am now. Is the transformation as big to everyone else as it feels to me?
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.
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.
Oh dear, I think I scared you all with my string of Grumpy McGrumpy posts!
I’m sorry good people, chemo hasn’t permanently disabled my funny bone, it just put it out of joint for a week or so.
Today I had a day that was weird and funny all that the same time, so I thought I’d put it down for my own amusement.
I was called back in to hospital this morning, my temperature was happily bouncing between 36 and 39 degrees and I was alternating shivers and sweats (The wrong way round… How weird are fevers?). I tried to walk to hospital and wound up sitting on a low wall gasping for breath and then hailed a cab and offered the cabbie ten bucks to take me the 400 metres to the hospital.
Anyway, I returned to my friends in HOAC (please google the acronym if you’re curious, I still have no clue what it stands for) and they lost no time in sitting me beneath a TV in a recliner I was too weak to recline and taking blood straight from my chest. I love the Port. So futuristic. I feel like I’m in Star Trek whenever they “access my Port”.
OK, now the amusing part. As I mentioned, I was seated under the HOAC TV, so I had the entire cast of HOAC sitting amphitheatre style, all plugged in to their drips in their recliners, watching me and the TV above me. HOAC looks a lot like Double Bay (for those uninitiated to the pleasures of Double Bay, it’s where everyone is well-heeled, Eastern European and has high hair).
What was playing on the HOAC TV was a broadcast of various dancers doing their versions of the Korean Pop sensation PSY’s Gangnam Style music video (again, please google… I’m blogging on my iPad and I’m not sophisticated enough to add a link).
Anyway, what with me living under my Chemo rock and all, I had no idea what all this Gangnam business was about? I couldn’t see the TV and could only watch the rhythmic head bobbing of HOAC in time to the music.
Thankfully Double Bay housewife number 1 was able to explain to HOAC very succinctly what a “meme” was, what “going viral” means, and what a big deal “Bieber’s producers are asking questions” is. Cue many grey heads nodding sagely.
Oh, I couldn’t wait to get home and watch that clip, and I was not disappointed. It seriously made my week! If you haven’t seen it, do hunt it down.
So I did my time at the hospital, and proceeded to Strange But Amusing Activity Number 2, my chemo haircut. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?
Well, it was not, thanks to my hairdresser who is pretty much the most low fuss person in the universe. She was moving fluidly between cutting off my weighty tresses and doing the most amazing perm on a cross-dressing Asian chap who was wearing the best (ladies) shoes, and lectures in business studies. Only in Darlinghurst.
He was ecstatic with his perm, he had a buzz cut to his ears and these unreal curled tresses reaching skywards above it. He looked like the front man from The Cure and kept giggling “ooh, I need a tiara!”.
This was the perfect environment to lose about 30cm of hair in. It was so nice not to be in a “cancer space” and just to revel in the sillyness of it all.
I came out with a shaggy little pixie cut and feeling considerably younger again (thank god!). The final sweet point was when my lovely hair dresser refused to accept any payment for the cut. We hugged and I promised to return with whatever weird regrowth I come up with in six months time.
Now, final silly thing. I have been ridiculously excited about the new crazy Willy Wonka-ish range of Cadbury chocolate bars. I was once a real highbrow chocolate connoisseur. I am a connoisseur no longer. Chemo has given me a craving for really cheap chocolate and I was obsessed with getting my hands on these new chocolate bars. We finally cracked one open with devastating results. It turns out that the chocolate in question contains space dust (the popping candy that crackles in your mouth). And it also turns out that of all the things that turn feral and weird in combination with chemo, nothing tastes weirder than space dust. It pretty much tastes like nuclear waste shooting around my mouth.
Charlie is now delighting in the fact that he has a full chocolate bar all to himself and is crackling and foaming at the mouth. I will now seek out the non space dust Cadbury options. Or just jellybeans.
So there we have it, Munchkins, I think I’m getting the measure of your strange land. At least it’s starting to amuse me again…
Much love and giggles. Now go and watch that music video! Go!