28. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 8

OK. Back to the fun stuff. Before I reveal cut number 8, a quick recap on the status of ‘The Good Team’ and our fundraising efforts. Great to see Dr Connelly off the mark, with some funds in her account. Amanda’s balance is slowly but consistently rising, Kate is making progress and Pam got off to a good start but appears to have done a hammy. Jenni has been working hard and our youngest recruit, Daisy, is looking like being the number 1 draft pick! Check out the status of the top weekly fundraisers today. I draw your attention to numbers 1, 7 and 9. Three members of ‘The Good Team’ in the top 10! Nice work team (and of course donors) BUT, these same three people have received no further donations today. No room for complacency!

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We also have another two new members, both my uncles and both amazingly making the trip from WA to walk with ‘The Good Team’.  What a tremendous show of support for their favourite niece.

  • Uncle Russell. My godfather. Also known as Unca Russ (but I can’t remember why, I’m sure someone will enlighten me in a comment). A talented sign writer in his younger days, a talent which I’m sure hasn’t left him. Unca Russ now takes over the title of the oldest member of the team, and also the first man to join the team.  Finally some tamoxifen to block all that oestrogen
  • Uncle Max. Affectionately known as Uncle Fucker. Whilst being the first man to commit to joining our team, he was pipped at the post by his older brother who signed up first. Uncle Max never forgets a birthday but is happy to argue with you about the age of your children. Uncle Max was a caring older brother to his sister; he kicked her in the mouth when she was about 10 years old breaking her front tooth.  He will be easy to spot on the team. He’ll be the one with the towel over his shoulder to blow his nose on.

Welcome to the team boys!! Both have opened their fundraising accounts already. After being in existence for four days, ‘The Good Team’ has already raised over $7000!

And a recap on the previous haircuts from the starting point to cut number 7 in the space of about 2 hours.

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The remaining cuts go from cut number 7 above, to a shaved head.

So, here is the dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 8; my attempt to look like Pink which I have to say was very unsuccessful as my hair is not blonde or pink, it was too short and I look nothing like her.

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I probably should have tried to pull a rock star face in one of those photos.

Please keep the donations and new members coming.

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception only 4 days ago.  We now have 11 and two more have committed but have not yet officially signed up.  Many more are welcome.

Dodgy hodgy chemo cuts 9 and 10 are quite similar so will be revealed together. These are the mohawk cuts. All that is required is a further $345 in donations or those two people who have promised to join coming through with the goods. Every dollar counts so you don’t have to donate a huge amount. Thank you!

27. Chemotherapy – round 3

Monday 26th August, 2013

The day started like any other chemo Monday.  I took my daughter to school, stayed for assembly, returned home to meet Jenni and off we went to hospital. We were running a bit late so Jenni dropped me at the front door and I went in while she parked the car.

I had an appointment with my haematologist first, so I went upstairs to see him. This was the first time he’d seen me scarved up and without long hair so the appointment started with me saying “I’m looking the part now aren’t I?”.  He made a comment along the lines of once you get into the swing of things it’s not that bad and that the fear of the unknown is worse.  I told him about my sclerosed and painful vein following the last round of chemotherapy and asked him if I’d need a PICC line.  PICC stands for peripherally inserted central catheter, so now I’m sure you know exactly what one is.  I’d been having chemotherapy through an intravenous cannula which was then removed upon completion of chemotherapy. A PICC line is inserted peripherally (as opposed to centrally, usually in the upper arm) and goes all the way to a large vein (the superior vena cava) just before the heart.  The advantage of PICC lines is that they can be left in for months.  My haematologist said that it is not uncommon to run out of veins (because they all sclerose or go hard) towards the end of treatment.  He said that my hardened vein may open up again but not in time to be of any use to me for chemotherapy.  He didn’t seem to be keen on a PICC line and I asked him why? Was it because it might get infected? He said it was just another procedure I’d have to go through if we decided to go down that path. Many cancer patients are subjected to many procedures so it is sometimes wise to minimise these if they are not really necessary.  I felt that I’d been subjected to relatively few procedures compared to most cancer patients.

I’d had a blood test on the Friday of the week before so I asked him how my neutrophils were as that was really the only thing I was interested in.  You might need to read the chemotherapy – round 2 post to brush up on your neutrophils. My neutrophils had been 0.5 prior to the second round of chemo.  0.5 is very low but we proceeded with chemo and I managed to stay well in terms of not developing a fever or an infection.  My haematologist had said that sometimes the bone marrow (where neutrophils are made) gets a bit of a shock after the first chemo and then recovers so I thought the level this time might be better.  Well, it was a bit better; 0.7 – still very low.  He said they might be higher today and we’d check them again just for fun.

My haematologist also told me that he’d be away for the next few weeks so I’d have to see the doctor who was covering him prior to round 4 and that I’d see her on a Friday instead of a Monday. He also reminded me of the PET scan I’d be having after round 4. I hadn’t forgotten.  He explained that it would be done towards the end of the two weeks after treatment.

I went downstairs to the chemo ward and realised I’d forgotten to sign in to the hospital. Chemo brain. Jenni got the paperwork from the front desk and I signed it so I could be admitted for chemotherapy. I was in seat number 1 and Karine, my chemo buddy had it all sorted so we were next to each other. Karine was accompanied by her mother that day. We chatted about the past fortnight and how the previous dose of chemo had affected us. Karine was happy to hear that round 2 had been much kinder to me than round 1.

We then went through the usual routine of soaking my hands and forearms in hot water to make my veins more prominent.  The first attempt was not successful so the task was handed over to the charge nurse.  I’m sure she didn’t like me telling her what vein to go for.  I could feel a nice big, juicy vein on my forearm and I was telling her to go for that one. I remembered my days as an intern; I must have inserted hundreds of intravenous cannulas, and from experience I knew the veins you could feel were easier to cannulate than the ones you could see.  She didn’t like the vein I was suggesting because she couldn’t see it so she went for a big vein in the front of my right elbow.  That was going to make texting annoying, having to keep my arm straight.  But she missed, or went in and out of that one. This was not going well.  Two failed attempts and I didn’t think my veins were that bad. Maybe a PICC line was a good option. Fortunately the third attempt on the outside of the left wrist was successful.

Blood was taken and sent to pathology to see if my neutrophils were higher than 0.7. Nope, they were lower -0.5. A quick phone call was made to my haematologist to see if we were proceeding with chemotherapy. Of course we were! And I still wasn’t qualifying for bone pain causing neulasta (the injection which makes your bone marrow produce more neutrophils).

The highlight of the day was the realisation that I could order a hot lunch instead of having the same old sandwiches week after week.  Not that there’s anything wrong with sandwiches but I was feeling sick at the thought of seeing them. I think it’s just the sameness of it. So Jenni enquired with the ward clerk and a nice hot lunch was delivered. Much more appetising than sandwiches. I can’t remember what it was and I didn’t take a photo of it this time.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. There was some pain in my arm with the infusion of the last drug so it was slowed down a bit and a heat pack was applied.  I was really hoping the vein didn’t sclerose this time.

The week following chemo was actually not too bad.  I spent Wednesday in bed, so it hit me a bit quicker than round 2 when I spent Thursday in bed, but this time, I was feeling quite good on Thursday. Friday was my mum’s birthday so Jenni, my mum and I treated ourselves to a pedicure, went to my daughter’s school swimming and then went out for lunch. Uncle Noof (former fav uncle) also came out for lunch.

On Saturday, I had my first social outing as a scarved up cancer patient.

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The fabulous Baker sisters.

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Oops. I almost forgot, there was a wedding, the youngest Tomo cousin tied the knot. It wasn’t about me having cancer and my first appearance in a scarf.

On Sunday, I noticed the vein that had been used to deliver the chemo was becoming painful and had gone hard. So that’s two out of three veins sclerosed. Not good. It wasn’t excruciatingly painful but it was certainly annoying and enough to interfere with sleep at night.

On Sunday, which was father’s day, I also drove my family to the airport for their 17 night holiday in Bali, a holiday I was also supposed to be going on but had to cancel because of cancer. On the way home from the airport I was just thinking ‘Fuck cancer’. I wasn’t sulking because I’d missed out on a holiday, I was just pissed off that cancer had robbed me of the opportunity to spend time with my kids on a holiday. I know, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but it was how I felt. I drove to Jenni’s house for a father’s day dinner with my dad and then went home looking forward to a sleep in, but I woke up at 6:45 am on Monday morning, and the next few mornings.

On Monday I was feeling tired again. I did some weeding but found myself back on the couch quite often, having a rest. My hair was shedding quite a lot and given that I was wearing scarves everyday, there didn’t seem much point in having the short hair that I had, so I decided it was time to shave it off. On Wednesday 4th September, I went to Jenni’s house for dodgy hodgy chemo cuts 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The rest of that first week without children, prior to chemo round 4, was spent reliving my youth (minus the alcohol) with a new found social life, catching up with friends and going out for dinner. I did a bit of weeding, tidying up around the house, had a massage and even went for a few walks. I spoke to my daughter in Bali via FaceTime and I was content that she wasn’t missing me as during one call she was more interested in picking a flower than talking to me. It was definitely a pleasant week with nobody to worry about except myself.

26. Lost for words

Well, I am all out of words to express how surprised I am, so I am moving on to pictures.

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The donations continue to roll in. Since creating ‘The Good Team’ on Sunday with two members, we now have 9 signed up members and another one on the way. We have also raised over $6500!

Check this out peeps! Taken straight from the end cancer website.  Play close attention to number 1 and number 6, both of whom have raised more money since this was published. We are aiming for 1 and 2 tomorrow and our youngest recruit, Daisy, is hot on our heels and is likely to be in the top 10 tomorrow too.  Go ‘The Good Team’.

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The newest additions to ‘The Good Team’ are:

  • My mum, Pam, or Whamma as she is also known.  I don’t need to say too much about Pam, as if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know what an amazing support she has been.  She is reliving her youth running around after my 18 month old son and wondering how she coped with four children of her own. Pam is doing the walk to support me of course, but also to support her daughter-in-law Amanda (also on the team) and her honorary daughter, Lisey (co-captain of the team). Pam lost both her parents and her auntie to cancer as well as a very special friend, Alan Cunningham. Her cousin Cherie is a breast cancer survivor. Pam has the title of the oldest member of our team and is therefore walking for Barb too (as we all are).  As a self-proclaimed “oldie” (we’re not arguing), Pam is hoping for the support of the oldies to help her reach her fundraising target of $2000.
  • The esteemed Dr Yeliena Baber, a fellow super intelligent forensic pathologist and very good friend.  Dr Yeliena is so good (so she is a perfect addition to ‘The Good Team’) she was head-hunted and she and her family emigrated from the UK three years ago to join the best forensic pathology team in the world. Yeliena is known for many things, among them, the strange noises, usually farts (of the cyber kind fortunately) that come from her office. Yeliena has a very strong personality and I know she won’t take no for an answer when she asks people to donate. Welcome to the team love!

There are no men on our team! Who is going to be the first? Men have wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, nieces and female friends so I know they want to support this great cause and they are very welcome on our team. There is too much oestrogen on our team and that is not good for breast cancer so we need some men who can consider themselves the tamoxifen of ‘The Good Team’.

The financial contributions are many and I want to thank every single one of you. I sent an email to work colleagues today, asking for donations or new members, and within about half an hour we had a new member (Dr Yeliena) and $300!

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Even Taylor Swift couldn’t believe the response!

As much I would love to thank everyone individually (and I will via email), there is one person I must mention now, and that is April.  April is a work colleague and unfortunately another member of the cancer club.  I don’t know exactly how old she is but I am guessing around my age. I was going to say too young to go through cancer, but what age is not too young or too old? Until recently, April and I hardly exchanged more than a friendly smile or hello as we passed each other in a corridor at work but now we exchange emails and I think we have a bond we probably wish we didn’t.  April was ready to sign up to join ‘The Good Team’ but unfortunately she has another commitment that weekend so she donated money instead.  So April, we are all walking for you too!

I apologise as dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 8 is well overdue and number 9 is now due too. I just have to have a bit of chemotherapy first (that is, update you on my third hit of chemo which I had before the last few haircuts). It’s been so much fun revealing haircuts and fundraising over the last few days, I almost forgot that the reason I am doing this blog is because I have cancer.

In the meantime, please keep the donations and new members flooding in.

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception only 3 days ago.  We now have 9 and I believe a 10th is not far away.  Many more are welcome, especially men!

25. Especially for Cousin Turtle

Cousin Turtle lives in WA and as you may have seen from her comments, she is working very hard to achieve ‘favourite cousin’ status. Cousin Turtle recently sent me a lovely gift of Victoria’s Secret products (fragrances and lotions, not lingerie!) and Napoleon lip gloss.  Thank you! She is also the daughter of fav auntie Karyn from WA who has called and texted often and just today I received a card from her with a Kit Kat taped inside. Cousin Turtle has made multiple requests for a photo of me wearing our beloved nana Phyllis’ wig and apron. I believe there may be a wedding in Perth in the near future, which will hopefully coincide with my remission tour, which cousin Turtle has volunteered to organise.

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This is cousin Turtle.

Yesterday would have been Phyll’s 100th birthday so a few of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren got together for dinner, a cake, a few wines and a bit of reminiscing.  Uncle Max in WA even sent us a photo of the birthday card he bought for her.  As kids, we all loved Phyll and would stay at her place quite often (well the favourites anyway).  I would wear her pink apron, which I still have, and cook scones with her. We thought our nana was so cool, her nickname was ‘Trendy Gran’.

Here is the cake with the candles being blown out by some of Trendy Gran’s great grandchildren.

So, especially for you cousin Turtle.  Here I am in the wig (which now resembles a wig from the wig library) and apron.

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Anyone for scones? I think the dog would like some.

And since you kindly donated to your favourite auntie Pam, she has come to the party too!

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Any resemblance?

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of some other members of the family, mostly taken at another family occasion. I am sure they will all be pleased to have made it to the blog too!

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Madeleine

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Uncle Noof (Doug)

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Cousin Noof (Sonya). Nice facial expression!

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Cousin Chris

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Cousin (in-law) Emma

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Cousin Cheynekins

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And a fuzzy cousin (in-law) Jo

Notably absent is fave sis Jenni so I will have to get a photo and post that later.

There you go Turtle.  I hope that has put a smile on your face. The dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 8 will be coming soon.

24. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 7

Holy moly!! The donations keep flooding in.  This is becoming a full time job.  All I can say, apart from thank you, is that I’m glad I didn’t have chemo this week or I would not be keeping up with the reveals. I am struggling to as it is.

Since cut number 6 was revealed a few hours ago and we needed $70 for the next cut, a further $295 has been donated! We also have yet another member of ‘The Good Team’. My mum is still thinking about it and missing out on precious donation time.

The newest member of our team is the divine Miss Daisy.  Daisy is the granddaughter of Barb who I spoke about in the first dodgy hodgy post (Jenni’s mother-in-law who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer).  At 17, Daisy is the youngest member of our team and I’m sure her parents and Barb are extremely proud of her.  I know I am! I am told Daisy has 1000 Facebook friends so she’ll have her $2000 in no time if they all donate a mere $2!

So here is the dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 7.  I’m calling this one ‘the Sally’ because I think I could pass as my friend Sally’s sister with this one.  I’ve known Sally since 1987 when we met in year 7.  She is one of the few high school friends I have kept in contact with.  She has been a great support to me on my adventure, texting often and has visited my home on several occasions despite living over an hour away.  She has brought food, looked after my children when I haven’t had the energy (and to give my mum a rest), been shopping for birthday presents when my daughter had a party to go to and even cleaned up the pigsty of a playroom at my house; something I’d been wanting to do for about a month but just never found the energy for.  Sally even took her very first selfie today, so I could include it in this post to see if we can really pass as sisters.

I give you ‘The Sally’:

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Number 7 from the front.

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From the side.

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And from the other side.

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And with a silly face for good measure.

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My daughter with her new mum.

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And both kids with their new mum.

That was the end of the session with Kelly.  7 new hairstyles in a matter of hours. I did wonder whether my son would still recognise me with short or no hair but he seemed to.This is what was left on the floor after the snipping session.

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And here I am with my amazing, generous, beautiful, thoughtful hairdresser, Kelly. Thank you Kell!

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And another with my daughter, who loves a photo!

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I also brought a scarf along in case I didn’t like my new haircut.

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Kelly making sure the look is just right.

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Scarved up and looking the part of a cancer patient for the first time.

So, I’ve called this haircut ‘The Sally’. Do I look like Sally’s sister?

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Congratulations on your first selfie Sal!

When I returned home from having all these haircuts, the first thing I did was put my hairdryer and straightener away in the bottom drawer.  I wouldn’t be needing those for a while! My daughter decided she didn’t like me with short hair and made me wear a scarf so the new cut didn’t see the light of day too much. I could never make it look quite like Kelly did either so even this very short hair seemed to be high maintenance.

I had one social outing with my new haircut, which some people might say fits the stereotype of a gay persons hairstyle.  On the Saturday night, the day after the haircuts, I went to the 40th birthday party of a colleague from my work who just happens to be gay, so there were quite a few gay people at the party.  I wore my new hairstyle with pride, but did see the funny side. I could pretend a woman I was talking to suddenly lost interest in the conversation when I mentioned my husband and children but I think we’d just run out of things to talk about. I also did something that night, that I’m sure not many people can claim to have done before. I carried a wig in my handbag, just in case I wanted to change my look half way through the night.

This new haircut lasted less than a week as the hair loss increased and was again becoming annoying.  If I brushed my hands over my hair, quite a lot would come out and my scalp was getting tender.  It was getting messy, although nowhere near as messy as when it was long.  I was wearing scarves anyway so I decided it was time to shave it off. Of course, I didn’t just shave it all off in one go; I got another four hairstyles out of it.  These included my attempt to look like Pink, which is hard to do when you’re brunette, a mohawk, a mohawk with a variation and then the completely shaved head with an additional bonus at the end.

I’ve also decided I can add in one more hairstyle, which is my current hairstyle. I’m calling this one ‘The Ev’. Ev is another friend from high school who recently asked me why he hadn’t had a mention in my blog for a while.  After this one, he may not ask again.

At the time of commencing this email, based on the donations received, we were a mere $275 or one new team member away from dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 8! Newsflash – my mum is in the process of joining ‘The Good Team’ right now. Keep those donations rolling in.  We are becoming very competitive now and want your help to become the highest fundraising team in the walk.

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception on Sunday.  We now have 7 (nearly 8)! Many more are welcome.

Cousin Turtle – yes, another mention!!!! I have a photo of me wearing Phyll’s wig and apron, taken tonight at her 100th birthday celebration. It is ready to post when you have finished fundraising across WA. When you have donated, that will be a post solely dedicated to you! That will have to make you feel special.

Cousin Sonya.  Join the team please.  No excuses.  Pop it into perspective love. It’s one weekend. Do it for your cousin with cancer and raise money for a bloody good cause at the same time.

23. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 6

Well within minutes of saying we were $155 away from cut number 6, a very generous anonymous donor donated $160!! I was too tired to reveal cut number 6 last night so I went to bed.  But here it is now for your viewing pleasure, dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 6, the bad ass don’t mess with me rock chick.

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Just applying the finishing touches.

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Jenni was trying to get me to do some sort of expression. Not sure wht it was or if I achieved it.

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So I had another go. Maybe it’s the “don’t mess with me, cancer” look.

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Number 6 from the side. I don’t think I’d have to do anything to my hair when I woke up with this style.

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And finally, number 6 from the other side and in the mirror.

The donations just keep rolling in.  I am truly astounded by both the number of donations and the amount people are donating! You are all so very, very generous and what a great cause! I really thought these dodgy hodgy chemo cuts would be trickling out very slowly.

So last night we were $155 away from cut number 6 and here it is.  This morning, we are only $70 away from cut number 7!! It could be as easy as 7 people donating $10.

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception on Sunday.  We now have 6! Many more are welcome.

22. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 5

Before I reveal cut number 5 I would like to know why nobody asked me WTF is a breast cancer kick arser? I have amended the previous post to read breast cancer arse kicker.  I don’t think I will be capable of speech by the end of 12 sessions of chemo!

OK, as promised, here is the dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 5. And I think this one is dodgy!

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Number 5, the slick look. Gee, I must have thought something was funny!

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Number 5 on the side!

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Members of the support crew again.

Only $155 away from haircut number 6 so keep those generous donations coming! Number 6 is a bit of a rock chick style.

To donate, simply click here.  This will take you to our team page.  Simply scroll down to see the members of the team and click on whoever you would like to donate to.  When you are on the page for that person, click on the big green ‘DONATE ONLINE NOW’ button.  It’s that easy.  If you’d like to make it a bit more difficult, go to http://www.endcancer.org.au and then you can search for our team (The Good Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Team’, click on that ‘here’ button above, scroll down and click on ‘Join Team’. Let me know if you’re joining and I’ll give you the password. There were two members of ‘The Good Team’ at it’s inception yesterday.  We now have 6! Many more are welcome.

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