The last few, tortuous weeks have been leading (bloody slowly) up to today – the day I start fighting back. Up until now I’ve had no weapons to battle with and I’ve felt pummelled into submission. But not any more. Today is my first day of chemotherapy. Today I start the journey back. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about the side effects of the chemo – but I’m way more scared about the effects of the cancer. So I am welcoming today with open arms. Bring. It. On.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started to prepare myself for what lies ahead. Hair loss will almost certainly be a side effect, but I figure that life is going to be difficult enough without enduring cold cap treatment. Initially I was really upset about the thought of losing my long hair. But actually this is a small price to pay to get well. So in an attempt to regain a little control of the situation I dragged one of my lovely friends, Libby, to a wig shop (http://www.bazoldershaw.co.uk/) to try out some wigs.
Of all the wigs I tried on this made me feel most like me, despite being shorter than my own hair. The colours are very similar to my own hair, it was comfortable and the fringe worked. In fact, I’ve been considering having a fringe for some time (the Botox or fringe dilemma!) but just hadn’t been brave enough to do it. So I also made the decision to have my own hair cut in a similar style. Having less hair will, I hope, reduce the trauma when it falls out. Plus everyone, including me, will have chance to get used to the new look, making the transition to the wig much easier. Hopefully. That’s the plan anyway. So, a week later, I walked out of the salon with a new hairstyle and a new wig and feeling like I had taken a small step forward.
I have actually been working on giving up control over the last few weeks. I’m well known to be a bit of a control freak. I’m super organised at work (I have to be) and that also extends to home. I work with dates and deadlines, plan everything, have numerous spreadsheets and calendars that I live my life by, and research everything to the nth degree. And now I can do none of that. Life is one big unknown at the moment. So I have to let go of this side of me and embrace a world of chaos and unknown. I had this conversation with Libby on the way to the wig salon (she’s even more of a control freak than me so totally gets how difficult I’m finding this) and within a couple of days she turned up with yet another gift. And this made me smile. Because I’m now winging life to the max. There’s no choice in the matter.
The gifts continue to arrive almost daily – magazines, gift hampers, flowers, alcohol, cards, chocolates. The list is endless. I even got a onesie, from one of my besties who knows how much I dislike onesies! (They just don’t go with stilletoes!) She thinks she’s very funny. But in the spirit of embracing change I’ve even wore it – much to her surprise!
My friends and family have continued to be a massive support to me. Hugs, phone calls, emails, text, whatsapp messages and nights out have carried me through the last agonising few weeks of waiting. Any my husband and kids totally rock. I’m not sure where they find the strength – but they do!
But at least the waiting is over for now. As I write I’m hooked up to some drug or other. This first session is going to be a long one – I will need long observation periods since there is a risk of allergic reactions (none so far) from at least one of the drugs. I’m loaded up with gadgets, books and magazines and I have 3G so an 8 hour stint will be a piece of cake! I’m feeling really strong today and happy to be doing this. It might be the effect of the steroids (I was told they could make me feel great for a couple of days) but I suspect it’s more to do with the relief that I’m actually starting to bitch slap this cancer (stealing the words of one of my lovely work friends here!)