Who notices the odd, innocuous stray hair?
Perhaps you occasionally see a few poking out of your hairbrush bristles, or accumulating in the plughole of your shower. Perhaps you casually brush one off your cheek, or pull it from the knitted loops of your jumper?
I have always grumpily noticed the ones my husband leaves strewn through the bathroom sink after shaving, that’s for sure. Although now that he is cultivating a fair bit of facial hair, the scatters of stray hairs are likely mine. EEK!
I pore over them. I try and count them. It’s become a weirdly wretched obsession!
It’s nearly February, people. Already!
How is it that time seems to creep by us ever faster each year? As a kid it passes excruciatingly slowly; everything seems to drag. Nowadays, I feel like could practically blink in September and miss Christmas altogether. And boy am I glad that Bakers Delight start selling hot cross buns in January, because I need the three-month heads up or I’d totally miss the flicker of time before Easter!
“I have cancer,” I say incredulously at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. “How did that happen?”
Cancer evokes an innate fear in everyone, doesn’t it? I must admit, that even before my own diagnosis, the very idea of cancer practically repulsed me: abnormal cells multiplying inside someone of their own accord. It was enough to make my skin crawl.
My life of late has become a collection of very bizarre events.
In the early days of diagnosis, cancer is pretty all-consuming. Not only because it’s a massive freak-out, but also because it seriously does take over your life in all respects. You live and breathe it day after day.
On the 5th of December, I went from strolling through a standard, Friday morning, to being suddenly whisked off for urgent scans and tests. Before I knew it, I was meeting surgeons and having little chunks of tumour bored from my boob and armpit. What a balls-up that was for my perfectly planned Friday, and every other one since!
If I had to think of a metaphor for the way I feel most days, it would be treading water: trying to keep my head above the water line, struggling to keep carrying on as normal, while my legs make frantic circles below, unseen. Most of the time I manage to do this, but the unseen struggle continues. On the outside I can seem strong, upbeat and at times even funny, but inside, I am riding daily waves of turmoil. Still, I am swimming, not sinking.
I’ve had a few of these such days this week.
Looking forward to seeing you all when it lifts.
So today is D-Day.
Actually, today is C-Day.
Chemo. A systemic blitz on all the cells in my body that are multiplying rapidly: cancer cells (for the win), but also lovely, harmless little cells in spots like my digestive tract, hair follicles, mouth and bone marrow.
It’s been quite a month!
Since the initial discovery of a lump in my right armpit, and subsequent query at the GP in early December, here is the list of tests, scans and surgeries I’ve undergone. Check it out. I think it’s pretty impressive!
I awoke in a sweaty haze again this morning, with pre-dawn darkness still cloaking our room; the world outside silent and still. Since my diagnosis, I have come to know the loneliness of these early hours more closely than ever before. It’s hard. Time inches forward while my mind does pinwheels.
It is in those lonely hours that I allow myself to confront my gravest fears. Perhaps it’s not such a conscious decision to do so, but rather a surrender of sorts. In the daylight, distracted by the relative normality of life, I push them away. But at night they are overwhelming.
I probably don’t need to spell them out to you. For those of us confronted with our mortality, it’s a pretty sobering time. And yet we all know we are going to die some time. We’re just never ready to be reminded of it, especially at the tender age of 37. Read more
The stats say Breast Cancer will affect one in eight women.
Take a minute to think of all the super-rad ladies you have in your life – it’s practically impossible to be unaffected by this disease in some way, at some point.
Girls, it’s time to take charge!