I haven’t written anything on this blog since February, which is due to a combination of having just completed a Masters degree in nine months and starting a new job immediately after, and – more importantly – having no cancer news to report. Continue reading
So I just had my bi-annual check-up with the surgeon who saved my life and I’m pleased to say it’s all good.
It was just a manual examination – no scans, no cannulas, no tears this time – but for some reason it seemed more thorough than the last time and I felt quite satisfied.
Anyway, Dr Lifesaver seemed very pleased (‘Your scars have healed so well! You can barely even see the armpit one.’) and told me to come back in October for my next MRI scan. (Well, it’s not actually that simple – he said I have to come back and ask him to write another letter to the NHS board asking them if I can have another MRI, so it’ll probably be Christmas by the time I have another one, but anyway).
I have a different hospital appointment next week for a separate chemo/Tamoxifen-induced problem that I shan’t go into, but after that, no more hospital trips until July, when I see the oncologist again. Hooray!
As you can see, my hair has grown a bit since last time I wrote. It’s not actually as long as it looks in this hospital-gown selfie – it’s just got volume today because I went to sleep with it wet and woke up with a semi-Mohican (as happens most days). It is also getting mullet-like at the back again and needs a bit of a trim.
But the good news is I’m *almost* back to my pre-chemo pixie. I think it’ll actually be two entire years after my pixie cut (August 2012) by the time it grows back to that length, which is insane. But my latest theory is that if my cancer cells grow anywhere near as slowly as my hair cells then hopefully they have NO CHANCE.
Oh, and I figured I could get away with today’s headline since yesterday was apparently National Yorkshire Pudding Day. Didn’t know it was a thing? Nope, me neither. But fortunately I have a bezzie who knows these things and thankfully she was on hand to cook me a truly splendid Yorkshire roast. So it is, indeed, all gravy.
Long after chemo ends, a strange and somewhat unexpected thing happens in the post-cancer world: You grow a mullet. Yes, a mullet, that most glorious and beautiful of haircuts only sported in modern times by Argentine footballers and, er, people who are growing their hair from scratch after chemo.
That’s right, while several months ago I was told I looked like the Mexican footballer Chicarito, I recently found myself bearing a closer resemblance to Messi.
There was only one thing for it: the mullet had to go.
So, a year and a month after that fateful pre-chemo haircut that turned me into a PFF (Pixie Fan Forever), I finally got my first post-chemo haircut. In Vietnam. For £5. A bargain at the price.
It had been a long time coming. My hair has grown so slowly I didn’t even think it was worth a trim, but after detecting one too many disapproving looks from fashionable friends and acquaintances, I decided it was time to nip the fast-developing mullet in the bud.
I’m delighted with the results, only I still have The Bald Patch. Everyone keeps telling me it’s not actually a bald patch, “it’s just the way it’s growing on top” or “it’s just a bit thin there, that’s all,” but I’m still not convinced. It looks like a bald patch to me. (In the below pic, the bottom right is the before pic and the others are all after.)
Anyway, bald patch or no bald patch, I honestly could not care less. I’ve never been a girlie girl or a hair straighteners girl, but I now care even less than ever about being perfectly groomed. I am absolutely delighted to have a full head of (albeit very short) hair, but beyond that, and far more importantly, I am still unbelievably grateful and relieved that I’m alive and healthy. Not a single day goes by where I don’t worry that the cancer will return. And I’d happily have a mullet and a bald patch for the rest of my life as long as I don’t have cancer.
Next week, I return from Vietnam to have my long-awaited MRI scan at the Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester. The MRI is recommended for women under 40 because it’s more reliable (and less harmful) than a mammogram, so the results are very important to me. I’m quite certain there’ll be nothing untoward on the scan, but it would be fantastic to get a definitive all-clear. And then hopefully, just hopefully, I’ll really have something to celebrate.
You’ve had a bit of an introduction to my wig collection and many of you helped in the selection process, but I don’t think any of you have seen the full line-up, so here we go:
Valerie (Val, for short) – so named because she came from my friend Valdimir. She’s the posh one from Selfridges and goes well with my hoop earrings for a night out. She’s probably the most similar to my natural hair, though she’s a bit more 50s and has a lot more body than my own hair ever had. She also gives me the Rachel-from-Friends haircut I always wanted, even if it’s 15 years too late. Val is a sensible, classy lady who can go casual for a day’s work or play, or get dressed up for a night on the town.
Tiffany – The cheapest of the bunch, but by no means cheap. She is smooth, sleek and stylish and a little smoky. Granted, this is mostly the eau de burnt plastic from her cheap, synthetic material, but Tiffany is no plastic faker. She likes to laugh wholeheartedly, eat spicy food and is proud of her Peckham roots. She also needs a hair cut, because I can’t actually see through this super-long fringe (that’s bangs, to the American readers out there).
Samantha – She’s a classic, but she’s no plain Jane. Samantha is the shortest and darkest of the bunch and she’s a simple, wash-and-go kind of gal. She’s the girl next door and likes simple, fun, down-to-earth people. Samantha enjoys cooking more than any of the girls, largely because she doesn’t pose quite so much of a fire risk. Probably the quietest of the bunch, Samantha is shy but she’s no shrinking violet. (Just FYI, the bit in italics is an actual line from one of my school reports when I was 15 – thanks, Mr Downs, my GCSE drama teacher).
Brandi – The first of the redheads, she’s subtle but strong, with fire and flavour. She loves strong coffee and rich, flavoursome foods. Brandi, like her name, is intoxicating and will woo you with her secret charms. Deep down, she’s a family gal and loves to hang out with friends. She also loves to curl up with a good book on a cold day – her current read being Fifty Shades Darker. That might give you a bit of a clue as to her darker side, though she’s not into BDSM, so don’t go getting any ideas! (I’m talking hair dye here, obvs).
Joana – She’s a full-bodied red with a fiery temperament. Foxy and fruity, there’s never a dull moment with Jo Jo. She loves to flay her hair around like in the Timotei adverts and she’ll easily catch your eye. Joana doesn’t like to be ignored, but she’s no attention seeker. Probably the cleverest of the bunch, she’s a straight ‘A’ student who speaks several languages and loves a good conversation, but she’s no stranger to a night on the tiles with her girlfriends either.
Miss Candy Pink – Candy is a party girl who likes to let her hair down. She loves to be the centre of attention and will always be noticed. She’s a sweet girl, though, and never a diva. She’ll flut her big lashes at you and expect a smile, but she has a deep and meaningful side if you dare to look past her blinding neon exterior. There’s a lot more to Candy P than meets the eye.
The Egghead – she is liberated and free, the happiest of the bunch. She likes to go running and listen to loud dance music. She is smooth and serene and likes to smile. In the winter, Egghead likes to accessorise with hats and occasionally team up with Brandi and friends, but she loves nothing better than to let her hair down at the end of the night and relax with a nice cup of tea. The Egghead is also a tough girl, a warrior. Those who mess with her will feel her wrath.