Hello, me again... So you will all already know by now if you have followed my story so far what I was getting prepared for. For those of you that don't you can go back to 'Where my secret starts' or just jump in here, I'm sure you'll get the gist of it.
I had let the results sink in and I'd been enjoying life, I even went back to work for all of two weeks prior to my chemo start date on the 17th May 2018. It will now be 'Terrible Thursdays' rather that 'Worried Wednesdays', chemo had been confirmed for every 3 weeks for the next 4 months. (Yayy! What a great summer to look forward too).
The week of Chemo was a busy one and had a number of decisions to make.
My first decision I had already previously made at the fertility meeting where I decided that I would have a Zoladex injections every 4 weeks during chemo to help protect my ovaries and turn me into a 50 year old menopausal woman. (no offence, haha).
The first injection was booked for a week before chemo and wow what an experience this was! Pre- warner if you do not like injections you definitely would not like this one, it was a large injection and man... it is thick (as seen on the left).
The morning of the injection I had to prepare myself for what I thought a normal sized needle injection in my stomach would be (Not that having a injection in your stomach is normal). I was greeted by the doctor whom I'm not all that keen on as she had misdiagnosed my foot and told me it is just one of those things!! That morning she filled me with confidence as she told me she didn't much like these injections as they always made her jump (great love, just get on with it will you). I was asked to lye flat on the doctors bed. I couldn't get my head around this, as your stomach is flatter and tighter when led flat but hey she knows best (I don't think, looking back). The injection was pulled out and wow what a Heffer!!! I closed my eyes and hoped for this moment to be over.... Now I'll be honest its nothing like a normal injection it feels like someone really pinching you tight, the injection has a little capsule in, which is released just under the skin (Ouch indeed). Well once my eyes were open what a sight...I had a pool of blood on my stomach and it was running down my side, the doctor told me in a state of panic that this had never happened to her before, then to give me even more confidence in her ability, she told me after mopping up the blood in about 5 paper towels, that if I got any stomach pains that day I would need to go back as she was unsure if she had gone in too deep or too shallow. (I'll tell you now I refused to see her again after that ordeal).
The following week I had a pre- chemo meeting at the Cheltenham Hospital where they discussed the potential side effects and then spoke to everyone individually about the treatment they would receive. I met a couple of lovely people in this meeting all of them looking a feeling sorry for me being yet again the youngest there. (You do get fed up of people looking at you, clearly thinking what is she doing here). The meeting was informative and the most important thing for me was to find out about the cold capping.
Note: Cold capping is an amazing invention by a man who's wife had breast cancer and he wanted to help her try and keep her hair. It is like a small tight swimming hat, with a horse riding looking hat applied on top, it has to be extremely tight to your scalp for best results and it reaches around -30 degrees (cool party)!! It gives me a shudder just thinking about this. All of you reading this that know me, know I'm well known for my huge hair! For those of you that don't this is me below, this makes me feel very sad looking and writing this...
Another note, not all chemo will make you loose your hair, unfortunately breast cancer treatment generally does. There it was I had two options; except loosing my hair or cold cap which tends to have a 50% success rate. Things to consider when cold capping - your treatment time increases as you have to have it fitted, then wait for about 30 minutes prior to the treatment. My treatment was about an hour and a half to two hours, so you would also have to wear the cap for 45 minutes after your treatment, taking my total treatment time to 3 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours and a half hours.
This was not a decision I took lightly but I already hated being in the hospital and seeing everyone look at me like I was a sorry case, I wanted to be in and out of there as quick as lightening. looking back I don't think I would have copped with long strands of my hair coming out if the cold cap didn't work.
So after that meeting my decision was made I would have the chop and then it would not be such a sock once it had all fallen out. I went to my hairdresser that day and confirmed what I was dreading, I think we were both shocked with what I was about to do. I sat in the salon and told myself its just hair.... It will grow eventually. I held back the tears as my hair was put in small bunches all over.
I think this was and will be one of the hardest things I have done in my life so far, some of you may think that its not that big of a deal but when you don't really have a choice as either way you will loose some of your hair, in my mind I wanted to take control and this was the only way I knew how. I want to say a massive thank you to my hairdresser Fran as she was so on board and supportive that day, she wouldn't even let me pay for the dramatic chop. Thank you again Fran, you did a great job and oh my did you make me cry with your kindness!
Having short hair really wasn't as bad as I expected and looking back I quite like it, so bring on the hair gains. (It will be a cold winter otherwise). Also you find comfort in wearing elaborate earrings when you have little or no hair.
So that was it I was ready to face this head on (short hair don't care).
One last thing before I go. I did say I was going to share another secret with you all... I was also diagnosed March 2018, with a fat leg best know as lymphedema which generally people get after breast surgery in their arm, Lets just say I don't do things by halves! I'd had the swelling and inflammation in my foot and ankle a year already but only officially diagnosed in March... not like I don't have enough to contend with, I think God must think I'm tough to handle all this in one hit... meet Fiona the Fat Foot (I'll explain more next time while you get to know her).
So thanks again for all your support during this tough time and all the amazing comments about the chopped hair, it really does help you carry on. Words of wisdom
"Always be kind to people as you never know what they are going through."
Last but not least girls, boys, ladies & gents check your chests, you're never too young or old to be sure!