10th – 18th September 2013
Strange title for a post but all will become clear. The days after the 4th hit of chemo involved the usual exhaustion with Wednesday spent in bed but there was nothing too out of the ordinary, or what was becoming the ordinary. Whilst the exhaustion was ‘normal’, it was more annoying this time as there was so much I had wanted to get done around the house while there were no children to make a mess, and time was skipping away. Just in case you’ve forgotten, or haven’t read the relevant post, the rest of my family were in Bali on that holiday that I couldn’t go on because of cancer and no neutrophils!
On the Thursday before the 4th hit of chemo, I had gone out for a lovely dinner at a local restaurant with a few school mums. We had a great night with lots of laughs and a few wines. It was just the night before that dinner that I had shaved all my hair off. One of the mum’s, Andrea (member of ‘The Good Tittie Team’) mentioned the trivia night that was coming up on 14th September at the primary school our children attended. She said they had a spare seat on their table and asked if I would like to join them. I said I would love to. At this trivia night, each table dresses up in their chosen theme and the theme for our table was punks! How I wished I’d known about this just one day before. I would have kept the mohawk!
How perfect would that have been for a punk theme??!!
Saturday 14th September came around soon enough. I had borrowed some ‘punky’ clothes and accessories, including a fake nose ring, from my sister (the one who hasn’t commented on this blog yet) and found some fishnet stockings but my outfit wasn’t quite complete and I hadn’t been able to find a ‘punky’ wig anywhere. As luck would have it, my good friend, Lisa Waugh (of chemo show bag fame and also a member of ‘The Good Tittie Team’) texted me that morning and I mentioned my dilemma. She happened to be in a shopping centre and she jumped at the challenge of finding me some appropriate attire. She arrived at my house several hours later with a mohawk wig, tattoo sleeves, safety pins and all sorts of other ‘punky’ accessories. Thank you Lisa!
I wasn’t sure whether to go with the mohawk wig or to bear my shaved head. My sister, Jenni (fav sis) convinced me that the shaved head option was the best and that I might as well take advantage of it. I got dressed into my punk attire and then went to Jenni’s for the finishing touches. After that I went to Andrea’s house for the application of the punk make-up and we were ready to rock!
The trivia night was a lot of fun for reasons other than trivia. People who knew I had cancer thought I was very brave exposing my shaved head. And those who didn’t know I had cancer? Well I told them I had shaved my head especially for the night and they were very impressed with my level of commitment to the theme.
I also heard what is possibly one of the most inappropriate things to say to someone with cancer that night, but I thought it was hilarious. A fellow punk who was a hairdresser and was slightly intoxicated was told I had cancer. She had recently lost a good friend to breast cancer and was very interested in my story. She told me I had a beautiful shaped head which I thought was a bit of a strange thing to say, but she told me that she was a hairdresser so basically she was qualified to make that judgement. She told me the shaved head really suited me and then all of a sudden she came out with “YOU’D LOOK SHIT WITH HAIR!” Most people I have told think that is a highly inappropriate and offensive thing to say to someone with no hair due to having cancer, but I thought it was funny, funny in it’s complete randomness, and I laughed. And I wasn’t intoxicated.
On the morning of Tuesday 17th September, I picked up the family from the airport after their 17 night holiday in Bali. When they left, I had the short dodgy hodgy chemo cut number 7 hair cut. My daughter had wanted to help shave my hair off before they went to Bali but we never got around to it. I had told her via FaceTime that I had shaved it off while she was in Bali but I hadn’t shown her. I arrived at the airport, wearing a scarf of course, and when my daughter saw me, she could see some (very) short hair in front of my ears that wasn’t covered by the scarf. In the middle of a very busy airport, she ripped off my scarf and exclaimed very loudly, “You told me you would have no hair when I came back!” For a split second I was angry and was about to tell her off but then I thought, “Who cares?” and I laughed. I was rather grateful however, that I was wearing a scarf with a built in cap so it was very easy to slip back on.
Now, an update on that challenge to avoid a PICC line. I had been feeling that big vein that the diluted, slowly infused chemo had gone into every day since hit number 4 and in the early days things were looking good. No pain, it felt soft. I thought we had succeeded. Then over the weekend it started feeling a bit tender and by the next week it was definitely feeling hard. Mission aborted. I rang the chemo ward on the Wednesday and told them I needed a PICC line. I thought I might be able have it inserted the next day as I would be in a radiology department having a PET scan (a PICC line is inserted by a radiologist) but I was informed I had to be admitted to hospital to have it inserted so it was booked in for the following Monday and would go in before hit number 5 of chemo.
I was having a procedure performed by a radiologist. Naturally, I had to make sure any old radiologist could do this and there wasn’t anyone I needed to avoid. Doesn’t everyone do that? No, just doctors. I sent a text to my helpful radiologist colleague letting him know when and where I was having this procedure performed and asked if there was anyone there I perhaps shouldn’t trust. Within what seemed like a split second, a text came back telling me the name of the radiologist who would be doing it, that this radiologist was a good guy, and in fact was the husband of a work colleague. Small world. There are so many colleagues to thank at the end of this adventure, and I think they might be thankful this adventure is over too!
So, the next day, Thursday 19th September, is the day I would have a PET scan and find out if the chemo I had already grown to hate was working on the good cancer.