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Monthly Archives: July 2013

I’m two weeks into my second chemo cycle and all is not well.

It started going wrong when they hooked me up to my second round of Taxol. Ten minutes later, I felt odd. my tongue and lips felt prickled, and I felt flushed. I told Chris that I felt funny and he looked up from the internet and confirmed I had red blotches creeping up my neck and my face. I pressed the nurse button, and Chris rushed out to get someone, and in a few seconds I was surrounded by nurses pulling the Taxol drip, pulling blood from my arm, pushing hydrocortisone into me and setting up a flush to dissipate what Taxol may have been in my system. I didn’t tell them that what I’d really been worried about was that it had felt like someone was sitting on my chest. That went away pretty much as soon as they stopped the drip. I didn’t realise it at the time, but that was the start of my heart giving up, and I could have died.

So no more Taxol for me.

Because of how late in the day it was, and the lack of consultant staff in the hospital, I was sent home full of steroids and tears, wondering where this would leave me. Where this would leave my tumour. Where this would leave my future. It wasn’t a good day.

They called me back in the following day to have the Carboplatin part, only an hour’s worth but better than nothing, I figured, and I left quite positive. But now, a couple of weeks later, I’m not so sure.

I have to go back in on the 24th for chemo again but it will only be the Carboplatin part. And while again, I’m happy to be getting Something, it’s still not what I was supposed to have, not the planned course, not what supposed to cure me. And it’s really hard to be positive about it. What if half the medicine means half the job?

I have another scan booked in for the 30th. I can’t wait for it. Even though it will mean I have the wait for the results of it too. The scan will determine the next step. Whether I have an operation in the next month or so, or more chemotherapy. I’m definitely not ready to lie down and let this thing take me yet, so they better have something else up their sleeves.

I’m annoyed at my body. First for letting the Cancer spread, leaving me needing this treatment, but more for deciding it’s allergic to the thing that would fix me. On the second go, instead of the first. When the damage has already been done, and my hair has already fallen out. If it had happened on the first go I’d still have my hair. It feels like a cruel trick.

So, I feel a little in limbo again.

And I don’t like how this feels.

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Right on cue, two weeks after my first cycle of Carbo-Taxol, my hair started to fall out. At first it was just a couple of strands at a time, but the day after it was more than a few strands if I put my hand through my hair, and then, I washed it. And clumps began to fall out. It wasn’t so much distressing as bemusing – which surprised me. I thought I’d cry, but I haven’t, yet. Well, my bottom lip has wobbled a couple of times, with me moaning that I wasn’t quite ready yet. But I haven’t really been as upset as I expected to be.

My head is not the shape I thought it was. I had it figured for round, but it’s actually completely oval. And I think I may have been dropped on it as a baby. But I’m getting used to it now. I’m not comfortable to the point where I’m wandering around with no hair and no hat. Only when I’m in the house on my own, I suppose – though it still is early days. Apart from feeling the cold on it, I do just think I look better with something on it, at least until it all drops out. Because at the moment it’s kind of patchy like leopard skin, kind of red and blotchy, and not very pretty.

I have five different coloured chemo caps. And two wigs. One short, and one long one that’s almost what my old hair looked like. Minus the spit ends. I’ve been wearing the short one. It reminds me of the 60’s, it kind of curls up at the bottom, and looks all choppy at the back. I think it looks pretty realistic.

The first thing I did after getting it all cut off, is test run the wig outside. It’s been a bit windy here recently, and I figured I’d rather see how it sat in the wind sooner rather than later. I didn’t want to stay indoors frightened of being outside with it, of being in public. Because what kind of life would that be? Exactly. So I took the dog for a walk in the park and it was absolutely fine. No one pointed and laughed. No one even gave me a second glance. I felt brave, and happy and I’m so glad I ventured out. It is strange feeling the wind blowing through it onto my bare head though.

In the end, I let my son start the final cut. C had shaved it to a grade 2 the day before but it was falling out so fast I figured I just wanted as much of it away as I could. So we set up in the living room and I let our boy loose with the clippers without any guard on. He enjoyed it, said it was the best job ever, and I guess that made it easier for me – knowing he wasn’t going to be freaked out about it, about seeing me with no hair – because he was involved in it.

final haircut

Extreme hairdressing!

So yeah. I’m facing the next few months, years maybe looking not very much like myself. But I just keep telling myself – its better to be bald and alive than be dead with beautiful hair.

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