Wednesday, 25 November 2009

chemo and orthotics (that's wigs to you)

Well the first chemo is set for the 2nd December which is next Wednesday. There will be six sessions in all with three weeks between, unless my blood count is too low and they have to postpone it a week. However they are kind and do let you miss the Christmas week if you feel that being wiped out and nauseous when your kids want you to enjoy their presents with them is too great an interference. So the timetable should be:

2nd Dec
30th Dec (and a Happy New Year to you too!)
20th Jan
10th Feb
3rd Mar
29th March.

All of these are Wednesdays and are preceded by blood tests on the Monday before, to make sure my blood count is up to it. It takes about 2-3 hours each session, longer for the first, and my regime for the first half of the course (entertainingly called FEC which I have decided always to pronounce in capitals) is highly likely to give me the classic nausea, sickness, tiredness and hair loss. Oh and bringing on the menopause, but at least that would switch off the hormones which have contributed so much to this in the first place I suppose. Won't be able to have any more babies though.

So the pattern is that the worst of the side-effects generally happen in the first week after the treatment, but the blood count (i.e. my immunity to infections, contagions and other ills) is likely to be lowest in the second week afterwards. I will therefore be avoiding all contact with people noticeably walking around with pomanders under their noses, ringing bells and shouting "bring out your dead".

When all that is over there is a gap of three weeks then I start the radiotherapy (5 days a week for probably 3 or up to 5 weeks) and a 5-year course of Tamoxifen. Must think I'm going to last that long then!

But the really fun bit was getting my scary wig. Tempting though it was to go for something completely outrageous (and there was a candyfloss pink Cleopatra jobby going by the name of Sugar, though it looked nothing like his hairstyle to me), I ended up with something that looks the same colour as my hair if I had highlights and is about the same style. Most impressive for an NHS wig I think. Although it is a bit scary when you just put it on your hand and move it about quickly - I've had Mike running out of the room screaming like a kid a couple of times, and the children think it looks like It out of the Adams Family (I don't think they meant when I was wearing it). My hair should be departing within the first three weeks of the first session apparently, so by Christmas I'll be bald as a coot (yes, from everywhere, which hadn't really occurred to me). I would like a knitted nightcap for my Christmas present. I was intending to set up a little competition with a picture of me bald and inviting people to adorn it with whatever hairdo they thought the most appealing, but as Mike pointed out, most people can't work out how to put messages on this site let alone how to put a wig on a head, so the chances of anyone getting a prize is about nil. However, if someone finds a way, just let me know and I'll set it up!

Going to eat and contemplate next Wednesday - goodnight all.


  1. Glad to hear you are having so much fun with the local NHS! And good for you for keeping them on their toes!
    For what it is worth, my friend Claire has just finished the treatment 'package' you are about to start. She opted for the cold cap route which meant that she kept her hair. Another friend, Heather, however went for the wig and had two different ones - one day she looked like the blonde one from Abba, the next Purdy (aka Joanna Lumley) from The New Avengers!! She always looked so glam and gorgeous while the rest of us had to contend with frequent bad hair days due to oversleeping and damp weather!
    Sorry not to be able to assist with a taxi rota to and from hospital for your treatment - regrettably Wiltshire is just a little too far!
    I wish you well, however, and will be in touch. Keep up with the fab blog and look after yourself!
    Helen H x
    PS: did you get my text about Lucy and Callum?

  2. Hi Helen, yes been considering the multi-personality option! Not sure I'd pull off the Joanna Lumley look but I don't think I fancy the cold cap - they told me about it just after you did. Sounds dire as you have to keep it on for hours and it's apparently quite painful. Yes got your text and meant to reply but just found it in drafts on my phone! will send it shortly xx