40. Chemotherapy – round 7……and an ode to Ev

Monday 21st October to Sunday 3rd November, 2013

I turned up to my routine pre-chemo appointment with my haematologist with a bit of attitude this time. I walked in, sat down in the chair and said “I need answers. I need to know what the future holds for me.” I left the last appointment with him a fortnight earlier really having no idea if he thought my PET scan results were good, or if he actually thought they were bad because I didn’t have bulky disease and the scan wasn’t negative.

I think he was a little surprised by my assertiveness. He turned and faced me and looked me in the eye. I asked him a lot of questions about whether he thought the PET scan at the end of treatment would be negative, what would happen if it wasn’t, what my chance of relapse was and what sort of treatment would be involved if I relapsed.

He said if the PET scan after 4 rounds of chemo had been completely negative he would be “super bolshy” (I think that means arrogantly confident or something like that) about the PET scan at the end being negative. Since that PET scan wasn’t negative, he said he was “bolshy” rather than “super bolshy” about a negative PET scan at the end. If the PET scan is not negative, I will probably have radiotherapy to any spots still showing activity, as long as they are not widespread.

If the PET scan at the end is negative, does that mean I am cured? He said he hoped so, but of course there are no guarantees.  I will continue to see him every three months initially to see how I’m travelling. I had asked him at one of the very first appointments about how we would know if I relapsed. I assumed I’d be having fairly regular PET scans but he told that wouldn’t be the case. Apparently they do that in America, but not here. Obviously it comes down to money. If I relapse with lymph nodes involved in my neck, armpits or groin, I can feel them, but if it’s in my chest or abdomen, I can’t feel those lymph nodes, so the lymphoma could just march along with me completely unaware….unless I get itchy again. I didn’t really go into it too much at this appointment, but diagnosing a relapse is definitely something I’ll go into in great detail if I am given the all clear after the next PET scan.

If I am given the all clear, there is about a 10% chance of relapse in the first two years. After two years, the risk of developing other cancers is actually higher than having a relapse of lymphoma. The risk of other cancers is higher than the general population because of the chemotherapy I have received! Good chemo for the good cancer. It might cure the lymphoma but then give you another cancer. Awesome! If I do relapse, the treatment is likely to be a stem cell transplant. He was a bit hesitant to go into too much detail or commit to what sort of treatment I would have, as any treatment for a relapse is likely to be performed in Melbourne under the care of a different doctor.

I left the appointment feeling a little clearer about his thoughts on my prognosis. He doesn’t have a crystal ball so I guess I couldn’t ask too much. It seemed to me that a negative PET scan at the end of treatment was the most likely outcome but the possibility of a relapse and how that might be detected was a concern.

I went downstairs to be hooked up to chemo and was back in the naughty corner again. Getting number 7 under my belt was a bit of a milestone as it would mark the first time I had less chemo ahead of me than behind me. The nurses informed me that my neutrophils were 0.6. I was neutropaenic again having not G-CSF after the previous round of chemo. I wasn’t even the slightest bit concerned that I wouldn’t be having chemotherapy that day but the nurses told me they’d have to run the results past my haematologist to make sure he was happy to proceed. I was OK with that. They were just following protocol.

Of course, my haematologist was happy to proceed but he also told the nurses that I would now be having G-CSF after every round of chemotherapy. I guess I had earned it now, being persistently neutropaenic. My lazy bone marrow hadn’t realised that it needed to work a bit harder so it would be getting some help. My chemotherapy infusion was otherwise very uneventful. Given my episode of vomiting after the last round, which I forgot to mention to the haematologist, I made sure I was sent home with some extra anti-emetic drugs.

The fortnight after chemotherapy was fairly uneventful too in terms of the effects on me. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in bed feeling completely drained, but there was no vomiting which was very fortunate. I hadn’t spent three days in bed after previous rounds of chemo. I had been told the tiredness would be cumulative and it felt like that was exactly the case.

It was in this fortnight that I started the dodgy hodgy chemo cuts reveal challenge and formed ‘The Good Team’, which was soon after re-named ‘The Good Tittie Team’. So it was quite fortunate there were no particularly nasty after effects as I was very busy fundraising and blogging.

I had to go back to the hospital on Monday 28th October for a routine flush and change of dressing on my PICC line. I was fortunate to have an earlier than usual appointment that day which meant I could get out in time to pick up my daughter and her friend from school and take them to gymnastics. This has always been left to the parents of my daughter’s friend, which they have been very happy to do and for which I am extremely grateful. They also usually take my daughter back to their place for tea and then deliver her home, fed and happy. Thank you Tash and Richard! The support from the school community really has been amazing. Although taking my daughter and her friend to gymnastics is really no great feat, it is important to me that I do simple things like that in the ‘good’ weeks as I know my daughter hates the ‘bad weeks’ when I spend a lot of time in bed and everyone else runs her around to school and other activities.

On that Monday, I developed quite severe bone pain, due to the good old G-CSF. It was a strange, throbbing pain around my hips and sacrum. It was constant but made much worse with any change in posture or position, like moving from standing to sitting or vice versa. I also had a band of throbbing pain around my chest when I moved. It was quite a bizarre kind of pain but fortunately it settled considerably after that day. I didn’t take anything for it. As I later told a nurse, I just sucked it up.

This fortnight was also the first time I was asked what once would have been a very confronting question by a complete stranger. I was in Adairs, doing a spot of Christmas shopping (taking advantage of the good week and getting organised early) when a man who looked like he was in his 70’s came up to me and said “Excuse me, have you got cancer?” I thought it was really quite odd to ask that question to a stranger and I did wonder about the state of his frontal lobe (for the non-doctors reading, people with frontal lobe problems are disinhibited and often socially inappropriate) but I wasn’t upset or offended. I actually thought it was pretty funny that he’d just blurted it out so I smiled and said, “yes, I have cancer”. He then told me that his wife had died of cancer about a year ago. I think my behaviour then was even more inappropriate than his! As I was in full-on fundraising mode, I thought “Hmmmm, I could get a donation out of this”. I asked him what sort of cancer his wife had and he said “ovarian”. Bingo! A women’s cancer. So, I told him about the walk to end women’s cancers that I had signed up for but he just said “Oh, good luck with everything” and walked off.

I mentioned in the previous post that my hair loss had not been quite as advanced as I had expected it to be. I think every chemotherapy regime is different and every person is different in their response to it. My hair had thinned considerably, so there was no question it had to be shaved off,  but I had very thick hair to start with so I was far from completely bald. The hair that was there was even starting to grow so I really was starting to look quite a sight with very thin hair exposing much of my scalp. I thought I was looking like a balding old man. In fact, I thought this hair style was quite similar to that of my good friend Ev! I promised Ev that if he joined ‘The Good Tittie Team’ or made a sizeable donation, I would dedicate a blog post to him. Everyone loves a blog mention! Unfortunately he couldn’t join the team due to work commitments (whatever!) but he did make very generous donations to both Lisey and myself. So Ev, this is your time to shine……sort of, because it won’t all be nice.

I’ve already mentioned Ev a few times throughout this blog. He is a high school friend and one of the very few high school friends I have kept in contact with in the now 21 years since we finished. Ev was a cycling fanatic in high school; he still is but age has slowed him down a bit. He used to call cycling hammering, so I bought him a hammer, and got it engraved, for his 21st birthday. I wonder if he still has it. As we got older and our lives got busier, the face to face catch ups became less frequent but there were still fairly regular phone calls and text messages between us.

After I was diagnosed with cancer, Ev stepped it up and really has been a tremendous friend and support to me. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you really find out who your true friends are and Ev is definitely one of them. There have been many text messages and phone calls, a good percentage of which haven’t been responded to but he hasn’t given up on me! He has visited me several times, once straight after finishing night shift and he even brought dinner! He did confess however, that his beautiful wife prepared that meal, not him. That visit was the day before my PET scan so that Shepherd’s Pie became the celebratory meal when the results were good. We went out for brunch that day and I remember the day well as I talked like a woman possessed and I don’t think poor Ev got a word in, but he sat patiently and listened.

Sadly Ev’s father passed away very recently. Fortunately for me, the funeral was in my good week, so I was able to attend. There were at least seven people, and a few partners, from high school at that funeral, which I think says a lot about Ev. I told him that to have that many high school friends there, so long after finishing high school, really is testament to the great guy that he is. I’d say Ev’s wife is lucky to have him but I actually think he’s luckier to have her!

Sorry Ev, but it can’t all be nice. With any glowing reference there needs to be a bit of a slap in the face too. When I told Ev I thought my current hairstyle was resembling his, I asked him to send me a photo of himself so I could put it next to mine on this blog. To my great surprise, he did send me the requested photos with the accompanying text “Very uncomfortable doing this. It’s just for u and that fucker cancer”. I was also very surprised to learn that these were not Ev’s first ever selfies. So here is Ev and myself sporting our very similar hairstyles.

The front on view……..

IMG_1377     IMG_1387

And the more telling, top of the head view……..

IMG_1378 IMG_1386

Fairly similar I think (although Ev carries it off much better), so I have dubbed that hairstyle of mine ‘The Ev’ as a tribute to my good friend. After taking that photo, I shaved all my hair off again as it really was looking very average. Quite vain of me!

So that was the end of the fortnight after chemo round 7. Seven down, five to go wasn’t sounding too bad.

Unknown-2

30. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cuts Numbers 11and 12

Well it took two days, but we have attracted another two members to ‘The Good Tittie Team’, and a generous donation from Len and Barb (BT’s parents) got Jenni over the line and she has now raised $2000 and is the second member of the team who has officially qualified to walk. It is quite fitting that the donation came from Barb, as she is one of the people we are all walking for. Hence, the dodgy hodgy chemo cuts 11 and 12 will be revealed after a bit of housekeeping.

The Good Tittie Team tally now stands at a staggering $9551 with generous donations continuing to trickle in, and we have 15 members in our team!! All this, in just one week.

images

This is what I would look like if I had hair and was looking at ‘The Good Tittie Team’ tally.

We again had three members in the top 10 fundraisers of the week for the past two days. A stirling effort.  Here’s the proof:

IMG_1400

Saturday’s top 10.

IMG_1400

And Sunday’s top 10. Not much movement over the weekend.

AND, ‘The Good Tittie Team’, despite having been in existence for only one week, is 14th on the tally of top fundraising teams.  This is partly because we are such a large team but it’s still an amazing feat and amazing that we have attracted so much talent, including interstate talent! But don’t become complacent. Keep donating please!! Every dollar counts so everyone out there who hasn’t donated yet, can you spare $10? If you can, donate now please!

I have great pleasure in introducing our two latest recruits:

  • Charismatic Cousin Chris. Son of Uncle Noof (former fav uncle). Uncle Noof is the one who has chosen lawn bowls over walking with his niece with cancer and now has two of his three children stepping up. No pressure Cheyne. I was absolutely “shocked” when I found out Chris had joined the team, and that’s not just because he is an electrician (thank you Sonya for that joke). Chris was hoping to be the first male in the team but by his own admission, being male, he got sidetracked by something irrelevant. Hence, he will have to be content with the title of the youngest male in the team and, according to him, the funniest. Chris is ambitious, or delusional, and has set his fundraising goal at $1,000,000. Since he joined the team, we went from having achieved 25% of our target to achieving only 1%. Hmmmmm.
  • The legendary long lost friend, Lee Neave. I wish I could say more about Lee but I haven’t seen her for about 27 years! Lee, Lisey and I all went to primary school together so I am pretty ecstatic that she has joined the team. Lisey and I were texting today and reminiscing about our primary school nicknames. We have no idea how we earnt them but Lee was Fozzy Bear, I was snake and Lisey was Ozzie Ostrich.  Kermit, if you’re out there, come and join our team!!

Roles are being filled in the team. Lisey and I are co-captains, Jenni is self appointed uniform co-ordinator and Unca Russ (the Godfather), being a sign writer, is the logo designer.

Well, here it is, Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 11; the completely shaved head.

IMG_2986

Even I got involved with the shaving for this one.

IMG_2989

Nearly all gone.

IMG_2991

Ta da! The skin head.

IMG_2992

A side on view just to prove it’s all gone.

I haven’t had so little hair since I was a foetus! I was born with more hair than this!

IMG_1397

This is me at 3 months of age.

IMG_1399

And at 10 months of age. Yep, I think I’m a wog.

Just to remind you what I used to look like, and what I’ve become:

IMG_2895IMG_2991

A fairly substantial change! I actually think I like the pic with no hair better.

Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cut Number 12 is my personal favourite. It’s not really another cut, I mean, what more can you do with a shaved head? It’s more of a statement. Here it is.

IMG_1219

A picture says 1000 words……or maybe only two.

IMG_1220

With the supportive fav sister.

I think the part of all this hair shaving that was the most fun for me was making such a mess in Jenni’s bathroom! If you don’t know, both Jenni and BT are clean freaks. BT even makes his kids tap their feet before they get in the car so they don’t carry dirt in.

IMG_3008

Jenni’s bathroom after the shaving. Apparently she left it like this for three days!

If you’re wondering how we got such perfect writing on my head, wonder no more. I will tell you. BT has a sticker business, as anyone who lives within a 100 km radius of him will know, as you would have woken up one morning to find a sticker on your car….or motorbike….or caravan….or lawnmower. For my head, BT printed a sticker and we simply removed the letters and used the surround as a stencil. Pretty good hey? You can even get this sticker on your car.

IMG_1326

I reckon these stickers could take off in the cancer world. Not the purpose BT intended them for, but  I don’t think he’ll complain. You can order whatever phrase you want at http://www.myracecarsticker.com.au  At the moment they come with a flag, but if there is enough demand I think BT could be convinced to do cancer awareness ribbons instead of the flags. When I sent this to Lisey she said she wanted one for her car, front door, back door, letterbox and pram.

Well, there you have it. Twelve dodgy hodgy chemo cuts revealed and a plug for the brother-in-laws stickers at the same time. The next dodgy hodgy cut is not really a cut, it’s what happens after two months of chemo when some of your hair falls out and some of it actually grows. This is the one I am calling ‘The Ev’, after a very good friend of mine from high school.  I’ll talk more about Ev when it’s revealed. So, Ev. The pressure is on. Time for you to either join the team or make a sizeable donation if you want a whole post dedicated to you. And since you’ll be torn between donating to either Lisey or myself, I suggest you walk!

Please keep the donations coming. Although I have raised the $2000 required to walk, I am hoping to raise $5000. Pam still needs help to reach the walking target too, as do many of our team members.

If you are planning to donate, but haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Do it now. We are not far away from being in the top 10 fundraising teams and we are aiming for at least a top 3 finish. If you’re not planning to donate, change those plans right now please!

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 Tittie Team, in case you’ve forgotten) or search for an individual by name.

If you want to join ‘The Good Tittie 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 one week ago.  We now have 15 and are one of the biggest teams walking!  Many more are welcome, and there are rumours of several more members, including one from overseas!!!

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!

IMG_1375

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.

IMG_2895IMG_2925

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.

IMG_2957

IMG_2960

IMG_2964

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!

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’:

IMG_2925

Number 7 from the front.

IMG_2926

From the side.

IMG_2927

And from the other side.

IMG_2928

And with a silly face for good measure.

IMG_2922

My daughter with her new mum.

IMG_2924

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.

IMG_2929 IMG_2930

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

IMG_2932

And another with my daughter, who loves a photo!

IMG_2931

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

IMG_2936

Kelly making sure the look is just right.

IMG_2937

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?

IMG_2925photo

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.

19. The Dodgy Hodgy Chemo Cuts Reveal Challenge

Anybody who is following Lisey’s journey will think this sounds remarkably similiar to her ‘Shittytittie Chemo Cuts Reveal Challenge’.  Well it is.  I am blatantly copying her fabulous idea, but I have her permission. For those who don’t know what Lisey did, click here to read about it.  Lisey came up with the awesome idea of getting a few hair cuts in quick succession prior to cutting it all off. She decided to take control of the hair loss herself and not let chemo and cancer dictate it’s effects to her.  She found it quite empowering and judging by the photos, she had a lot of fun doing it.  But she didn’t stop there.  She challenged people to make a positive change to their lives and every time 10 people told her of something they’d done, she’d reveal a new hair cut.  Over 100 people contacted her.  Truly amazing and inspirational.  She put together a clip of all the haircuts once they’d been revealed, which you can enjoy by clicking here and playing the video. I will warn you now, you won’t be getting a video like that from a technological retard like me, unless of course Lisey or Cousin Lisa, who has recently displayed her talents, wants to do one for me.  I probably also won’t come up with creative names for my hair styles, but feel free to come up with names of your own.

I thought it was such a great idea and it looked like fun (and having fun is important when you have cancer!), so I decided to copy.  When it was time to cut my hair off, on Friday 23rd August, my hairdresser was ready.  She’d been pre-warned by Jenni, that this is what I wanted to do.  My challenge is a little bit different to Lisey’s though.  Since I am copying her idea, I thought I would raise money for the hospital she was treated at and for the cancer she has been inflicted with.  I will be participating in the ‘Walk to end women’s cancer’ which will raise money for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to remember those lives we have lost to breast or gynaecologic cancer and to celebrate the lives we are saving. Proceeds will provide vital funding to research and clinical care at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer, and home to Australia’s largest cancer research group. Read more about the walk by clicking here.

As much as I hate cancer of any kind, I think breast and gynaecological cancer is just wrong! Your ovaries provide the eggs to create your children which develop in your uterus and feed from your breasts (usually).  Then these breasts, ovaries and uteri (that’s the pleural of uterus) try to kill you, sometimes even before you’ve had children, and are too often successful.  It’s wrong! So, although I don’t have a women’s cancer as such, I still have a cancer that women can get and I am very happy to raise money for this cause.  I am doing it in support of three people: Lisey, Amanda and Barb. Amanda is my sister-in-law and a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As a member of the cancer club, she has been a great support to me on my adventure. Barb is Jenni’s mother-in-law and she was very recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She has completed three cycles of chemotherapy and will be having major surgery in a couple of weeks.  So to cancer, I say “FUCK YOU!” (Sorry about the profanity Barb but I think it’s warranted).

The walk to end women’s cancer will take place in Melbourne on the weekend of 1st and 2nd March, 2014. Jenni is concerned that I might not be able to complete the walk.  She tells me that’s because it’s only two months after I finish chemotherapy (according to the current plan, I hope they don’t decide to throw in some radiotherapy) and I may not have recovered enough.  I actually think she’s concerned because I am not one to exercise and she probably doesn’t think I’m fit enough regardless of whether I’ve finished 12 bloody sessions of chemo or not.  I think it will be hard and I’m sure it will hurt, but I also think if I can survive that much chemo, I can do almost anything.  If I can do the walk, maybe a marathon is next. Just kidding! I might also add that I am taking the credit for Jenni being a fitness fanatic.  I made her come for a run with me about 20 years ago.  About half way into a short run, she turned around and walked home.  After that, she kept running and did  few marathons, but I stopped, with a few short lived stints of returning to running over the years.

In order to be eligible to participate in the walk, you have to raise a minimum of $2000. I have created a team which currently has two members; Jenni and myself.  Since I have the good cancer, I have called my team ‘The Good Team’. So what is the challenge for you? You have the option of either joining my team or donating money to my team.  I will reveal a haircut every time somebody joins my team or when the sum of donations received adds up to $200 (I hope that’s not too optimistic).

  • If you would like to join my team, send me an email or a text, or comment on this blog, and I will provide you with the password so you can join ‘The Good Team’.  Keep in mind though, that you have to raise $2000 in order to be eligible to participate. It is $2000 per person, not per team.  You also have to pay a $50 registration fee. Hence, joining my team is not a decision to be taken lightly.  Oh, and you also need to be able to walk 60 km in two days.
  • If you would like to take the simpler option of donating money, click here to be taken straight to my team page.  You can click on either Jenni or myself to donate.  You can only donate to an individual, not to a team. Otherwise, if you’re on the home page of the walk, click on donate and you can either search for ‘The Good Team’, or Jenni or myself by name.

I thank you in advance and in anticipation.  There is just one thing I need to tell you. When Lisey set her challenge, I just sat back and let everybody else do positive things to change their lives.  I didn’t contribute anything myself.  I thought about a few things but didn’t do them.  And I got cancer!  I’m not saying there’s a causal link there but you wouldn’t want to risk it would you?

So, on the evening of Friday 23rd August, I went to have my hair cut off.  I was supported by Jenni (chief photographer), her two children and my two children.   I wasn’t nervous or upset.  I was ready.  The hair loss was at the point where it was annoying and messy. I’m pretty sure Kelly, my beautiful and generous hairdresser (who is also hairdresser and friend to Jenni and many other close friends) was a lot more nervous than I was.  She told me thought I was going to be a mess and she had the tissues ready.  They weren’t required.  She kept asking me if I was sure about each cut, and kept doing that thing that hairdressers do when they make sure both sides are symmetrical.  I had to keep reassuring her that it didn’t matter, because I was only going to have the haircut for five minutes.

IMG_2895

The last photo with long hair.

IMG_2892

Here we go. I think you can tell I’m not scared.

IMG_2891

Just making sure I’m sure about how much to cut off.

IMG_2934 2

The support crew! And Jenni behind the camera.

I had ten different hair styles in total; six with Kelly and another four a week or so later when it was time to shave it off completely.  There is an extra little bonus at the end so there are eleven Dodgy Hodgy chemo cuts in total to reveal.  What are you waiting for?  Start donating………….please.

Oh, and a huge thank you to Kelly (somebody I forgot to thank in the thank you post) for donating her time and generosity to give me six haircuts in about two hours.