Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The science of cancer - not really that scientific

If you're like me and like to know what you're dealing with, then brace yourself for your three month post-cancer review. Apart from a dreadful misunderstanding where the oncologist thought I said I had put on three to four stone and told me to go to WeightWatchers (I actually said three quarters of a stone), there was very little to report in the session. What I was hoping for was a list of things to do to minimise recurrence, confirmation of whether the treatment had worked and a review of my prognosis. What you actually get told is basically just get on with your life, eat healthily, exercise, minimise your vices and then hope for the best. As cancer is made up of tiny little particles, there's no scan or test to see if it's gone. Instead you just need to attend regular mammograms and ensure that you are vigilant about any bodily changes. So, there's no spreadsheet, report or certificate. Whilst on the one hand that's a little nerve-wracking, on the other you really just have to forget about it and resume life as usual. I'm certainly doing that, and so is Debbie. Cancer...oh that? It was just a blip...


I also had my three month review a fortnight ago (Nov 25th) and pretty much had the same experience as Amanda. I had a thorough examination (whereby I held my breath until the consultant said that all was ok), he then asked me a couple of questions to which I responded with questions of my own but I didn't quite get the answers I was after.
Consultant: 'Do you still have hot sweats?'
Me: 'Not as bad, they seem to have calmed down'
Consultant: 'Are you taking Evening Primrose Oil?'
Me: 'No, I read it contains traces of oestrogen and because my cancer was oestrogen+, I don't want to put more into my body'
Consultant: 'hhmmph'
Me: 'When I have my mammogram, will I only have the one breast zapped?' (I had a mastectomy and reconstruction = no breast tissue)
Consultant: 'You'll have both done'
Me: ' But one is an implant and I have no breast tissue?'
Consultant: 'hhmmph'
Me: 'I have sore knees, could it be from the Tamoxifen?' (Painful joints are listed as a side effect)
Consultant: 'If they bother you then see your GP'
Thank you very much and see you in six months!!


The plan is...there is no plan

First post-cancer haircut

The big day finally arrived on Saturday! I had my first post-cancer haircut. Now I have what has been described by lots of lovely people as a 'pixie cut' or a 'legitimate haircut'. So now, no-one looks at me with that combination of curiosity and pity, and I could quite easily be perceived as having chosen a dramatic cut as part of a mid-life crisis (or maybe to change my appearance to avoid the paparazzi/police). I can't lie by telling you I like it, but it's bearable. Coupled with eyelash extensions (done by a local beautician), I look kind of..OK...maybe even nice! So I have a plan now. I am going to grow it out on top but keep the sides short and then ultimately go for a bob. My hairdresser is looking into how long it needs to be before I can have extensions, and I decided to keep the colour as it is for now (a dark mousy colour), so watch this space. My advice though would be to get it cut as soon as it is about an inch long. Whilst it feels counter-intuitive to cut the hair you have been waiting desperately to grow, a decent haircut makes a huge difference. Just shaping the sides makes you look and feel a whole lot better.

The plan - I reckon I'm four months from number one
I am now 5 months post chemo and have what I can only describe as a pixie cut as Amanda has described already. My hair is growing back dark. And curly. And it grows upbank!
I aren't sure if it's a compliment or not but I've been told that I'm the spitting image of both of my brothers. Thanks for that friends!! Strangely, they're losing their hair whereas mine is now growing thicker and stronger!
However, I will add that I really aren't bothered what colour, texture or direction my hair grows back, at least it's growing back.
For me, when I see Amanda, I always LOVE her hair. She is 6 weeks ahead of me in the hair process so at least it gives me an insight in to how my hair will be very soon.