Hold onto your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride! Thank you for stopping by and joining me for a while. I've recently been juggling (as all mums do) more balls than I am comfy with, and just when I felt like a professional juggler - BAM!! I get hit with this - BREAST CANCER!! I'm hoping that writing this blog will serve as some sort of therapy for me, to get me through this 'rough patch' ahead.... if it's interesting, entertaining, thought provoking or helpful to anyone else out there then that's an added bonus. If you like what you read, please visit again or click the "join" button below, and feel free to spread the word.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Keeping a cool head

I am starting my chemotherapy tomorrow.  There is little else on my mind at the moment, it pretty much consumes me, day and night.   I’ve been struggling to get off to sleep due to the cogs whirring and going into overdrive as soon as my head hits the pillow.   I thought that the Oncologist told me to steer clear of any health supplements and alternative remedies. So, being a good girl I had put my Neal’s Yard Remedies “Sleep” roll-on to the back of the bathroom cabinet and ever since have had trouble getting off. Today I spoke to my Breast Care Nurse and she said I was mistaken (easy to get all that info muddled up) and any essential oils used externally would be absolutely fine!  I am SO relieved that tonight I can get back to my old habit of rolling the aromatherapy blend to my pulse points.   If this doesn’t work then I am also now equipped with some hard core sleeping pills from the Doctor!
I digress, the main point of this post is to talk about hair loss.  This is the root (pardon the pun) cause of my anxiety.  As we all know if you have chemotherapy you are very likely to suffer hair loss (and not just the hair from your head!).  However there is something that can be worn to prevent this … the amazing and rather attractive (see pic) Cold Cap.  The basic idea is that you wear the cap before, during and after receiving your chemo drugs, during which time it freezes the hair follicles and thereby prevents too much of the chemicals getting into the root and hair shaft.  To learn more about this process please visit this link:

My local hospital is lucky enough to have one of the Paxman cooling machines and it looks very new and hi-tech, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it.   The cap reminds me of a jockey’s helmet and so I shall imagine I am riding a horse running through open fields whilst I am using it!  Mad woman.    If it works, I get to keep most of my locks, not that my hair is particularly special, it just IS to me.  The fact that I will have to sit with my head at -5 degrees for about 4 hours is rather worrying, but I have read that people just forget they are wearing it after the initial shock – I suppose it numbs your brain cells too.    Best case scenario is my hair will thin a little bit but I may still opt for that short elfin hair cut.  Worst case scenario is in about a months’ time I will lose the lot and behind closed doors only, look like an egg head.    It’s really important that whilst I have hair, I treat it as gently as possible, washing it less with very gentle shampoo – I’m aiming at once every 4 days, no hairdryers, no styling products, no hair straighteners!!!  So my hair will look a total (greasy) mess, even if it is my own – are you all screaming “Oh just shave it off and wear a wig!!”?  I am thinking that now.  You can see how I go around in circles, in my head throughout the night.
So in order to prepare for “hair today – gone tomorrow!” (that’s bad isn’t it) I have done the following; bought a silk pillow case – your hair is less likely to be rubbed off onto this than the usual ones; bought some leave in conditioner to wear during treatment (the nurse suggested this) and bought a few different delightful hair wear options, my favourite being a flowery cotton bandana thing that makes me look like ‘Gypsy Rosalee’ complete with my gold hoop earrings.   My BF says I am lucky I can pull off the hair scarf/bandana look, hats generally suit me, so thank heavens for small mercies!
 During my headwear shopping trip I encountered a couple of strange attitudes.   In one shop I asked the sales assistant if a particular scarf was square (you couldn’t see whilst it was all neatly folded on a hanger) and she looked rather annoyed and frankly like she was having a bad day – although the shop was quiet.  She helped by unfolding the scarf to check it out and then enquired what I needed it for.   I thought about lying (which is rarely my style) and then it just popped out, “well actually I’m starting chemo on Thursday so I’m looking for suitable head gear” queue sharp intake of breath and “oh I’m so sorry” and her manner completely changed towards me, she warmed up considerably.  In another shop – a hairdressers actually, one that specializes in weaves for afro hair and hair extensions that young trendy glamorous gals go for, I spied a rather quirky, fun, long pale pink wig, and thought for a laugh, at the right price, I’ll buy that.   I stood by the counter looking at the wigs, trying to find a price and then literally stood and looked around the shop blatantly needing assistance.  The woman at the cash desk just ignored me and carried on chatting to her mate who was doing someone’s hair.  There were 3 or 4 people there working.  They ALL ignored me whilst I stood there like a plum. Yes I am white and knocking on 40 but I had every right to be there, hankering after a pink wig!  I should have spoke up, but instead I just thought sod this, and walked out!!  I bet if I had had the confidence to speak up and then told them why I wanted a wig, I would have encountered a swift change in attitude once again.   And that’s a sad state of affairs don’t you think.
Ooh I’m in danger of sounding like my BF, so I will leave it there! (love you Tash)
Think of me tomorrow, riding my horse!   I'll be back again soon to let you know how it went.


1 comment:

  1. All the best 'jockey' Cath and I really do hope you get some good shut eye tonight xxx Hang in there brave girl and lol and hugs xxxxx Loving the silk pillow idea xxxx And bugger the lot of those ignorant b*****s out there eh! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx