Update

I will admit that this will be the most uninspiring or creative blog I have posted. But it’s necessary. An update is in order for those of you far away that I haven’t had a chance to talk to. So this is merely a simple update to let you know what’s happening in life and treatment. I think my University Professor would take back the Distinction he awarded me for the unit on Creative Writing if he was to read the following…

Firstly: Surgery. I have received the quote and crunched the numbers. It’s on the higher end of my budget but it’s manageable. It is all locked in for July 31st. I have over (just) eight weeks of freedom. Eight weeks to enjoy my mobility.

Secondly: Running and fitness. I’ve had a goal to take part in the Gold Coast Half Marathon for many years. I’ve heard it’s one of the best courses for your first HM – it’s flat, very flat. I actually registered about six years ago but it never eventuated. Since being back in Australia it’s been on my radar, although I thought there was zero chance of being able to participate this year. Since my last triathlon I haven’t committed to any events for the rest of the year as that date for surgery was still not confirmed – they could have turned around and booked it in with a few days’ notice. Those on my Facebook know I had a ‘light bulb’ moment when I realised the HM was before July 31st. It’s July 6th. Standby for another running story – sorry. I am also trying to maximise my time at CrossFit to ensure I am in the best possible shape before undergoing major surgery.

Thirdly: Hair. I had my first haircut the other day. Exciting. It was starting to resemble and Afro – a dark blonde Afro. My friend Meg did a great job of trimming the back and giving it some shape. I haven’t escaped the “chemo curl” and the hair definitely has a mind of its own in some places. I’m starting to master the art of using hair wax and my brushes have been dusted off and resumed their position in my bathroom draw.

Lastly: Study. It continues. I have enrolled in my next unit: Writing Magazine Features. I have also enrolled in Certificate in Professional Editing and Proofreading. The Certificate allows me to work at my own pace so I will be able to take on more study post-surgery when I will be house bound. The other unit is through university and structured over three months. My brain seems to be coping with the workload, for now.

I have mentally decided treatment has finished, but on paper it’s a different story. I know I have major surgery to come, but I feel healthy and strong (I’m slowly making gains to where I was before). I am continuing to remain calm and content with the journey. It’s taking longer than I expected, or hoped for. But I am still enjoying life in the meantime.

That’s a wrap.

 

 

 

Hair loss: the loss of hair from head and/or body

The medical world amazes me. You’re told hair loss usually occurs from day 14 after your first round. Yesterday, was day 14. Yesterday, my hair started falling out. Amazing.

In no way am I worried about my hair falling out. If anything, I’m excited. Why? Because it’s another milestone – going bald brings me one step closer to the end. Also, I have become addicted to running my hand over my shaved head, imagine how nice it’s going to be bald!

There are two more pros associated with the hair loss: I finally get to start wearing my selection of scarves and turbans, and for the next few months, a lot of money will be saved on waxing – and I’m not talking about underarms. *wink wink*

My trusted barber, Man, has come back today to run the clippers over my malting head. We decided to go with ‘no gauge’ this time. The best way to deal with hair loss…have as little hair as possible. Done.

Another package was perfectly timed today – I received a stunning designer scarf!!! Eager to make use of it, I decided to try some tying techniques. Lucky for me, my personal barber doubles as a very talented photographer. And the result…

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LGFB

aka Look Good, Feel Better.

Today I was lucky enough to attend a workshop available to BC patients to help deal with the physical changes ahead. If you meet the criteria (…you have BC), you can attend the workshop at any stage during treatment. Today there was a mix of people either waiting to start chemo, or part way through. As usual, I like to be ahead of the game….so of course I went before.

Originally I was going to attend this workshop alone, but I decided to put Little Miss Independent Rochelle in the corner and asked my sister to accompany me. Apart from being my sister, she is also a beauty therapist, so was definitely the best person to join me.

When registering for this workshop you are asked for the following information: skin type, preferred makeup colours and eye colour. On arrival, we had our own beauty station with mirror and products. As I sat in front of my station, I saw a VERY PINK lipstick and silver eyeshadow…I WAS WORRIED.

We worked our way through skin care – how to adapt to changes that may occur, then makeup application – how to draw those eyebrows back on if they start thinning…ekk. Now, I have attended about 4 makeup sessions in the past 7 years with Qantas, I will be honest, my eyeshadow application hasn’t improved! Lucky my sister was there to fix my dodgy work.

After learning about skincare and makeup tricks, it was onto wigs and headwear. This is where things got interesting. I have been blonde for 99% of my life, the 1% I was dark only lasted a few days..I AM A BLONDIE.

The volunteer decided she wanted to try a specific wig on me…okayyyyyy

Here it is….and the crowd goes…..

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Ummmmm I’m still not convinced….but hey, you gotta have some fun 🙂

Today I was pampered and spoilt with lots of goodies. No complaints from me!

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The Great Shave

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Have you ever wondered what you would look like with a shaved head? “Will I have a strange shaped head?”, “Will my ears look funny?”, “Will I have lots of scars on the back of my head from 7 years trying to keep a french roll in place?”…ok, maybe the last one is only relevant to me.

When I talk about treatment with people, doctors included, the topic of hair loss always comes up. Usually it is accompanied with a sympathetic tone, with which I reply (in a little too excited tone) “I know, I am going to shave my head anyway”…in which they usually smile at me, cautiously.

It is no secret that I have been excited about shaving my head – does that make me a little strange or crazy? When else, at 32, would I be able to shave my head with no regrets? I have read many comments from people who have gone through Breast Cancer treatment – the hair usually goes within 2-3 weeks after starting treatment and usually in not-so-elegent large clumps.

Now, I have never been one to wait around and let things happen to me – so why would this be any different. I made the decision that I would shave my head before I started my first round of Chemo – I didn’t want to wake up every morning and be wondering if today was the day when it would start falling out.

A few friends put their hand up for the opportunity to perform the shave. I am putting my trust in good friend, Man Cheung (he has a shaved head, that has to be a promising sign that he knows how to use clippers, right?).

To join in the spirit of the journey, I have had a few friends commit to shaving on Sunday also. There is no fundraising behind this, just a nice way to have friends involved in the process. So, if the hair is in need of a trim, or you feel like a change, shave away and share your photo on my facebook or Instagram.

Note: my mother has decided that she will colour her hair instead of shaving. I’ll allow it…