Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lull in communication

Apologies about my sudden radio silence. Round two of craptastic chemo didn't follow the anticipated gradient (upwards) and instead I seemed to lurch from one day to the next feeling nauseous and lacking in anything that could be described as energetic.

It culminated in an overnight stay in hospital to have some fluids put in and some checks done to make sure there were no underlying issues with my had decided to hog some of the limelight and was behaving rather badly! On strike and seemingly immune to whatever went in there to try to wake it up...and then suddenly deciding to have a hissy fit and make me seriously want to die due to the painful cramping and nasty business emanating from my nether regions.

I have tried to adopt a more relaxed routine in an attempt to cooperate with my lovely oncologist so I took to teaching myself how to crochet with zpagetti. If you're unfamiliar with this phenomenon you should check it out! My friend who suggested it reminds me that it's perfect for a more "free form" expression....which translates to "missed stitches...who cares!!!".

It was frustrating and it took quite a few attempts before I mastered the stitches...I'm doing a cheats version of the magic circle (crochet speak). My first attempt was this....

It was supposed to be a vessel but it started to look like a bottle cover so in the end I decided just to let it be:)

The next attempt was much improved and is now sitting proudly where I can admire it regularly! I am just loving playing with the zpagetti colours (trying to contain how many colours I succumb to) and have been practising stars and flowers...even made a garland for my beautiful friend who introduced me to this therapy.

So that was a great way of distracting you from how crappy I am feeling! Craptastic chemo round 3 was last Friday and I'm going to try and spend the day in bed giving my body the rest it needs.

Yes there was the happy chemo face on show....all I can do is keep smiling when I can and not focus too much on how much the after affects crush my spirit. 

Round 3 of 7 another week we will hit the half way mark. That's something to look forward to:)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Boldly bald

Sounds obvious doesn't it? It is a no brainer that people stare at a bald person. I think it's human nature and I was prepared for it.

I've always suffered from the "what are people thinking" disease. It's kept my imposter syndrome and inferiority complex company back there in the musty recesses of my self conscious.  Courtesy of many years of employing cognitive behaviour therapy to counter these snarling beasts of my mind I have learnt that it is more helpful to challenge those inner voices. I have  found that countering them with alternatives works. The conversation goes along the lines of:

"Its All About Me" inner voice: "Oh shit. Starer alert! They're probably thinking I'm so up myself. Why doesn't she cover her bald head up. Why did I think it was okay to go around the shopping centre bald?"

"Get over yourself you nutter" inner voice: "Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaase! It's a bald head. Of course there'll be a few double takes. For all you know they have a thing for bald women or they're wondering if you're making a fashion statement".

All jokes aside I did go out rocking a headscarf for the first couple of outings. I found a YouTube clip where a woman shows a great way of reusing old TShirts as head wraps (you cut them off under the armpits and wrap it around your head creating a great base for adding scarves etc. I liked it. I did it with a white one and a grey one. Thing is though it's a tad hot at the moment and I'm finding that my head (both physically and psychologically) prefers to be unencumbered.

The analogy I used with Oldest KAT when I decided midway through the week to stalk the shopping centre boldly bald was that I'm the type of person that when confronted with the cold pool would prefer to jump in the deep end and immerse myself fully rather than dither around sitting on the edge, dipping my toe in ever so gingerly. Much better to feel that momentary clench of coldness grip me and then have it over and done with that inch my way in gritting my teeth.

It was confronting entering the shopping centre with my vulnerability on full display. It did require me to do some kick-arse on-the-go CBT to banish the voices that urged me to run for cover (literally). It wasn't only the eyes of nameless onlookers. The eyes of the KATs were also absorbing both people's reactions to me and my response....would I fold like a cheap hammock?

Pleasingly I found it liberating to be boldly bald. I have had compliments which are lovely, my doctor also suggested I had better have my Gaydar on high alert as I'm likely to attract attention. Who knew that Lesbians like bald? Feel free to educate me on this so I can educate my doctor.

Accessories are in my DNA. Being a cancer-suffering wallflower was never on the agenda so out have come the scarves, hats and earrings.
There are definitely downsides to baldness which I will elaborate on in my next post but for now let's stick with the way it is already challenging my personal paradigm. I finished this weekend with a relaxing afternoon at the local pool where I walked around with my sun screened noggin glinting in the sun when I was making my way to the pool. I ignored the stares and just enjoyed the glorious sun and the equally glorious water that was so healing for my soul one week post-chemo when I've hit the wall and feel like I can't take anymore headaches and nausea.

What strangers think of me is the least of my issues.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Revealing the noggin

So here we have it. The noggin reveal. Despite the nausea that accompanied the weekend post-chemo I had decided that I wasn't going to delay the inevitable. My rapidly thinning hair needed to be put out of its misery.

On Saturday Saint Mike was charged with procuring a set of clippers when he took the girls out to the local shopping centre for a movie. On Sunday morning it was me who unpacked them and plugged them into their charger. Like most mere men, task completion can be the undoing of my husband.

The cape is a child-sized version acquired as a visual prop to enforce the "hair must be tied up or cut" rule which Youngest KAT was resisting some months back. It has sat unopened as have the scissors purchased at the same time...who said dire threats don't work?

We all congregated on the back lawn as I thought it a good idea to avoid sweeping up. However when Sally (the dog) started picking up chunks of hair it became a mad scramble for the girls to collect all the "bits" less we poison the dog with my chemo-laden hair. Quite the comedy act with peals of laughter no less.

Saint Mike seemed to take a perverse pleasure in his role as wielder of the clippers. A running commentary was given by the KATs regarding how daddy was giving mummy a Mohawk...then it became a tuft of hair which he insisted would be a good look.

Perhaps it was the flurry of activity (a confused dog chasing your hair around the lawn with three children in hot pursuit) but I didn't feel distressed. I was self conscious and felt immediately unattractive (note to self - black plastic cape isn't flattering) and I regretted that I had not stage managed this a bit better. Nausea will do that I suppose.

I felt strongly that we should do it as a family. I could have gone to the hairdressers and revealed my baldness to the KATs post-clip but having experienced their differing reactions to my pre-chemo chop I felt that immersing them in the process was for the best. Thankfully it worked.

Each of them reacted in their own way. Oldest KAT exhibited typical teen repulsion (yuck factor) but she is also painfully self-aware of how I appear now to the world and she was immediately worried for me.

Middle KAT was predictably reticent to say anything lest she reveal either her own anguish that I am suffering from this disease at all or that she might hurt my feelings by saying something "wrong". Wry smiles and gentle caresses were the order of the day.

Youngest KAT was was the tactile that was front of mind for will it "feel" when she touches it. Prickly is the answer!

This image captures the thoughts and feelings that were fluttering down around us. As someone said on my Facebook page - I am cherished and surrounded by love.

I'm now into my fourth day as a bald eagle and my next post will reflect on how it feels to face the world with my remarkably smooth billiard cue.

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