Friday, 19 August 2011

Hair today, gone tomorrow :(

Since my last diary post I am happy to report that things have improved...  well kind of!  Unfortunately it took close to 9 days for me to start to feel better after my first Chemo treatment, which was a lot longer than I had expected.  I suppose it didn't help that I picked up tonsillitis from Baylee along the way - which has since progressed into a bad cold!  Seriously when it rains, it pours :( After seeing my Dr it was decided I needed to take a good dose of antibiotics in order to improve my health in time for my next Chemo treatment which is next Wed 24th Aug.

With the Chemo sickness behind me (for now!) I started to count down (or should I say, dread) the day when I would lose my hair.  It might sound vain but the thought of losing my hair really frightened me.  I have had long hair for as long as I can remember and I take a lot of pride in looking after it.  To some it may not seem like such a big deal, but to me it was.  In fact, the week leading up to day 17 (D Day, when I was told my hair would fall out) my dreams would always be about losing my hair!  Well I didn't have to wait long.  I had a shower late on Wed 17th Aug (day 14) and whilst washing my hair I could see it falling out :(  It had started and it was terrible!  I gently towel dried it after my shower and was very reluctant to brush it but knew it had to be done - I would just be kidding myself if I tried to hide it!  It was a very surreal moment and I called Ryan into the bathroom to show him what was happening - he couldn't believe the amount of hair that was sitting in our sink.  He often whinges about the odd strand (or 3) of hair I might leave in the bathroom sink but this was really going to shock him! It was all happening so quickly!  I had a good cry with him - losing my hair made everything seem real again :(  He suggested we shave it straight away but I wanted to wait.  The reason for this was that my beautiful sister Lizzy told me a couple of weeks earlier that she wanted to shave her head with me!!! Her way of showing her support for what I was dealing with. I honestly couldn't believe it and had a good cry when she told me - what an amazing thing to do! Anyway, we shaved our heads last night and had lots of laughs along the way. There were no tears (what a relief), I needed a good laugh.  I have posted some pics below of our 'before' and 'after' looks and I can honestly say I couldn't be prouder of my sister Lizzy.  She is so amazing and I love her very much :)  Such a special thing to do and I will be forever grateful for the sacrifice she has made to help and support me through my journey.  We also have some wonderful friends shaving their heads (and raising lots of money for charity) next Friday evening and I am really hoping I feel well enough to see it all happen in person!  I will post some pics of this night too on my next blog entry.  Again, I am blown away with everyone's support and generosity.

Lizzy also gave me a very special little book a couple of weeks ago called 'There's No Place Like Hope' and it is a wonderful read.  It has really helped me these past few weeks and I am often referring to it for various reasons.  I can relate to so much and I wanted to share a few things with you that stuck a chord with me - all relating to my hair (very relevant at this time):

'The fear of losing your hair, along with actually losing it, is truly worse than having it gone.  I would have never believed it, but it is true'

'The next person who carelessly says 'it's only hair' , ask them to share the experience of baldness with you!'

'Hair loss allows our illness to enter the room before our name.'

'When I lost my hair, my eyelashes and my eyebrows , I felt as if I was being erased'

Unfortunately my treatment won't be over when Chemo finishes.  I have to endure 5 weeks (5 times a week) of radiation therapy.  I met with my Radiographer during the week and she is lovely - phew :)  I was really hoping I wouldn't have to have this treatment but my medical team decided this was the best course of action.  I will definitely be taking their advice but it just means this will take me into 2012 - such a shame, I was hoping to start the new year a little differently!

We have also been receiving lots of delicious meals from our wonderful friends.  Thank you again for keeping us well fed and saving me the trouble of preparing and cooking a meal - we greatly appreciate all of your help!  Thankfully I haven't put on much weight since starting my Chemo.  My medical team advised that I should expect to put on a few kgs over the coming months.  I was quite shocked to hear this as I always thought you lost weight whilst on Chemo.  Apparently this isn't quite the case with the treatment I am on, primarily due to the steroid injection they give me to assist with nausea - it makes you very hungry!  

Well on that note I will sign off for now but at least I can be assured of no more bad hair days for a while ;)

BEFORE - Lizzy and I 

Me holding my pony tail - a little sad although quite liking my 'interim' do!

Stevie looking on as I show off my new 'do'!

Lizzy's turn - I got the honours of chopping off her pony tail!

Bye Bye Hair - Day 15 (Thursday 18th August 2011)

Lizzy and I showing off our new looks for the camera!

Getting used to wearing our scarves