I had my first dose of chemo this week. It was pretty much as expected. The staff couldn't do enough for me, the cups of tea were plentiful and we were even brought sandwiches and cake thanks to my session being fortuitously allocated to lunch time. After a saline drip was set up, the chemo was administered, in my case, through a cannula in the hand.
And that's it really. The rest of the time you sit and chat and wonder if you have enough eggs at home for Pancake Day – which we did although I wish I hadn't burnt the 'non-stick' pan a few weeks earlier.
I can't pretend it was a walk in the park. It generally feels as if I've had a murky pair of swimming goggles prised over my head resulting in smeared, wobbly vision, a crashing headache and morning sickness without the baby. Oh, and water tastes like flat Alka Seltzer stirred with a dash of mud. But it's one down and that means five to go which is better than where I was last week and another week closer to my ultimate goal: cancer in the past tense.
So, instead of pondering on the well-documented side-effects of chemo, I thought I'd let you know my decision.
Did I go cold?
When I write blog posts I hope that they might entertain and even provide a nugget of information but I don't really expect them to help me make life affecting decisions. However, the flurry of responses which came via Facebook, here, and in person - thank you so much to everyone - really helped my thought process. I quickly realised that what I really wanted to find was an excuse not to wear the Cold Cap; something we'd call in our house, 'an excuse to be a woos', for fear it was spineless not to at least attempt to try it.
Then a friend mentioned two of her friends who did use the Cold Cap. Unfortunately it had no effect for the first but in the case of the second it worked - ish - with her hair thinning but not falling out altogether. However, due to the thinning, the special shampoos needed to minimise the hair loss, the lack of serum, gel or mousse, hair-drying and curling or straightening, the friend hated her hair. No products? I broached. What, no frizz-calming, curl taming products? I'd look like Tina Turner, I exclaimed, perfect in Mad Max, granted, but not, perhaps, in my village. And thinned, curly long hair? Roll over Rab C Nesbitt.
Crucially, the friend was glad she endured the ordeal because she was happy to have her own hair at the end of the treatment.
But, personally, I didn't go for the Cold Cap.
Instead I had my hair cut to ease the pain of it falling out. I picked up my wig from the wig shop. And I sat and thought about ice cream in pancakes rather than Ice Cream Head.
And I'd made the right decision for me.
On another matter, I've been writing. I've hacked and added and slashed the word count again and screamed into the deadline for the Bath Novel Award by thirty minutes. The longlist is announced on 24th March. I never go into these things thinking I'll win, but I always keep my finger ends on the touch of a glimmer of hope until that Fat Lady Has Sung. All whiffs and sprinkles of fairy dust gratefully accepted :)
Have a great week!