Eyebrows Tattoos & Hair Shopping

Sunday 24th January

Today was a GREAT day. I met up with Sarah, the manager at work who had left at the beginning of December to work elsewhere. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t realised just what a good job she’d done and it’s the age-old ‘you don’t realise what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ She held the team together, motivated and inspired them and, the most important part, enabled me to get on with my job, which is about growing the business. Since she’d been gone I’ve struggled to get on with my job because I’ve been too busy helping the staff and the new team leaders. It turns out that she’s struggled with her new manager because she’s so vague… hilarious.

I’m learning that this journey for me is about learning new ways to behave and digging deep into the emotional box.

I think because I’m SO direct any normal person appears vague. Sarah’s been a bit disgruntled about a few other aspects too and she wants to leave. Even though I knew she would come back at this particular part of the conversation I made the decision to tell her stuff that normally I would have skirted around or avoided saying. I‘m not overly good at sharing my feelings or feeling vulnerable and as you can appreciate I run a business and I know how to manoeuvre a conversation to get the outcome I want. But I’m learning that this journey for me is about learning new ways to behave and digging deep into the emotional box so I told her that I needed her, that it hadn’t been the same without her and I’d like her to come back. Know what? It wasn’t that difficult, and it felt quite good. She knows how hard I find that sort of thing and replied by saying she wanted to come back. So for me, it was a superb result. I have someone I can rely upon, whom I trust with my youngest baby and who won’t let me down. BRILLIANT. So that’s something struck off the list.

I’m still full of bruises on the back of my hand, under my arm and my belly where they stabbed me with the heparin. Feeling a bit battered, bruised and bit bodily abused. But hey it’s going to get worse, I’m sure… this is a bit like the calm before the storm, I think.

Tattoo Tuesday 26th January

Another day skiving off work. Off to Ramsey to get my eyebrows tattooed on. What a superb experience but yeah, it did hurt. More scratchy than hurt I guess, BUT they look amazing AND they’re perfect.

Whilst I might not be Cheryl Cole, I’m sure she puts her hair extensions and makeup artist through her business.

OMG, I can’t tell you what a great idea this was, but £450 later and a teeny bit sore, I’m sure I’ve made THE best decision. One of the things I find weird when you look at someone who has no facial hair is their lack of eyebrows and eyelashes that makes them look like Martians. Yes, I know it’s not very PC and not very kind, but it’s factually accurate and I’ll be in their club soon so I feel I can say it. Again, having this done is about me taking control of the fact my eyebrows are going to fall out and stunt double for a Martian isn’t really my thing.

Eyebrows tattooed, I’m back on with my day. I’m still trying to get my accountant to agree that I can claim things like this and my wig through my business. Whilst I might not be Cheryl Cole, I’m sure she puts her hair extensions and makeup artist through her business. Why should I be any different? I might not be as slim or as glamorous, but I am the face of my business and I doubt my clients would be thrilled to see me without hair. I’m not sure I’d be confident enough to do that anyway, this process is already making me question things that I’ve never even thought about before.

My youngest had a hospital appointment this afternoon, which always results in a MacDonald’s. This is where we were sat when I got the phone call to say the chemo starts on the 5th. It’s now becoming real.

Wig Wednesday 27th January

Today started with a day of scans. I had a CT and a bone scan. In itself, it was not a problem but I was surrounded by REALLY poorly people, this hadn’t really dawned on me if I’m truthful but that was depressing. I’m okay if I can’t see the horror of cancer. I looked seriously out of place – I have hair, I have colour in my face and I’m walking. This was distressing. I had to wait for 4 hours for one of the scans so I did some work and had a meeting with the Cancer Ward sister about fundraising and about putting her in touch with the ‘Something To Look Forward To’ charity so that was good.

I had a few tears in the car but decided to replicate my current style – not because it’s nice but because it would enable me to look the same.

After the scans, the trip to Cambridge for hair fitting commenced. I drove down there and it wasn’t until I parked up that I actually thought about the sort of ‘hair’ I wanted. In truth I hadn’t thought about anything other than getting there, getting parked and finding the place, which is rather typical of me and how I don’t deal with things properly. I had a few tears in the car but decided to replicate my current style – not because it’s nice but because it would enable me to look the same. I met Garry (yes, I spelt that right) and he was absolutely fantastic. He listened, took the time with me and miraculously managed to find me a similar hairdo. We struggled to find the style with the right colour so he suggested I come back for a fitting after he’d ordered it from Germany. The hair was amazing it even had roots to make it look more authentic!! He also offered to shave my head, which was extremely kind of him, when I came back for collection.

I’ve been completed overwhelmed by the number of shares my Facebook page has had. Twenty-four and currently donations stand at just under £3000. How amazing are people? It has dawned on me that I’ve not really given this cancer thing the respect everyone else has. Nor do I intend to. How ridiculous. I like a battle and I always win. Nothing has changed.

Becoming Public Property

Friday 29th January

Friday was a bit confusing I arrived at the wrong hospital for an oncology appointment. Not the end of the world but I hate getting things wrong. I’m starting to feel a bit hormonal (just the time of the month) so I guess I was a bit flat. Karen the oncologist explained that the scans were completely clear other than a small cyst on my liver which she said could have been there from birth nothing to fret about. I asked her what a cyst is and she explained that it’s just a sack of fluid – I asked if it was full of wine. She laughed and said it was highly unlikely. So all good. I don’t think I’d displayed quite the right reaction. I know it’s great news and that I’m all clear and it’s not anywhere else but shit this is becoming REAL. Each day, each result, each appointment I’m getting one step closer to the bloody chemo, the nasty stuff, the real-life bits, the stuff that’s going to make me feel ill. Yes, it will fix me but I’m going to feel shit and for someone who’s always so healthy this is a mental battle. The side effects are beyond hideous. I had a couple of tears as I left, not a lot, just enough to register how I’m feeling, but it’s just part of the journey. I left the hospital drove to meet Catherine for dinner in Lincoln.

Saturday 30th January

On Saturday 30th, I met a friend at Rutland water for our 26, yes, 26-mile walk. I’d already committed to doing the Belvoir challenge at the end of February but I needed to know that my body was capable of doing it, I’ve never walked this far before. So that IF I can’t complete it I at least know it’s because of the chemo not that I can’t do it. The day was great and it took us just under 7 hours. Got home and was asleep by 8.30 and I ached…but not as much as my friend did, which offers me hours of piss-take. I’m the cancer victim, he’s a fit 40-year old that got me into this endurance walking and HE struggled… or maybe he’s just saying it to make me feel good.

Reading stuff about me on Facebook makes me feel like Mother Teresa…

So I’ve posted lots of stuff on Facebook about the charity head shave in the last week or so and have bullied my clients into parting with their cash and so far I’ve raised about £7500 for two very well deserving charities; Peterborough City Hospital and ‘Something to look forward to’. I’m sooooo pleased and it makes this poorly shit so worthwhile. People have been extremely kind and said some really lovely and encouraging things with their donations which is so kind, but I’m struggling a bit. I’m not really one to dwell on nice things that people say and in truth, there’s a collection of other things that aren’t so lovely about me, which quite honestly balances out the loveliness. Trust me, I’ve struggled quite a bit with this to be truthful. I’m just like everyone else; I get cross, I shout at my kids, I get moody from time to time. Reading stuff about me on Facebook makes me feel like Mother Teresa…it’s important to stay real, I think. I LOVE the positivity and kindness. It’s been great and there are one or two ‘sad/sympathy’ statuses to contend with, but they’ve been minimal.

Now I have to confess that the thought of doing this head shave is beyond distressing. I seriously do NOT really want to be bald, I don’t really want all the garbage that goes with this bloody long arduous journey of chemical warfare I’m about to endure, where my body is not my own anymore. Nothing is sacred now. I’ve had my tits out more in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 6 years!!! PLUS I’m struggling with being ‘public property’. I’m not a fan of everyone knowing my business, it makes me feel vulnerable, but I do need to feel like I’m in control of this cancer thing so by doing this and not having the horror of big clumps falling out in bed or in the bath. As I said, it’s the best option for me to be able to cope.

I was mortified. Comments appeared like wildfire.

For a gobby bird, I’m actually quite private and do not like to share my innermost feelings with the world (you’re now wondering why I wrote this. Yes, I know – me too, but I’ve done it for you). So you can perhaps imagine how traumatised I was when one of my friends took it upon herself to post something on my Facebook wall for everyone to see. I’ll give her the benefit of doubt and say it was with the best intention. As we explained to people on my behalf that the fundraising wasn’t a publicity stunt, she explained how distressing I would find it and virtually started a petition to stop me from doing it saying that I didn’t HAVE to do it. I was absolutely livid, not because she hadn’t told the truth but because I felt like she’d exposed my innermost feelings and thoughts. Facebook for me is about the fun stuff, the nonsense of life, and I simply DO NOT share my real thoughts and feelings with the bloody world. I win by fronting this cancer thing out and stay emotionally detached from what I’m doing. I was mortified. Comments appeared like wildfire, all very lovely but discussing me, making decisions for me, suggestions about what I should or shouldn’t do. I know people mean well but I honestly did feel like my life was not my own. And because I hadn’t worded the post I wasn’t able to control what they were saying in their response.

I am unsure about shaving my head. Christ, who wouldn’t be.

All my posts had been VERY carefully worded to encourage a happy positive comment not some droany negative shit and my wording did not create an open forum. I TOLD them what was happening. I had no idea how to take this new post down – I’m not overly technical and I didn’t want to upset her either. I felt a bit stuck. I did totally overreact, but I couldn’t stop the flooding; I cried a lot and couldn’t work out what to do for the best. It’s weird how much I feel like I need to control this and what people see. I don’t mind my innermost feelings being shared with my close friends but not Facebookers – they are all people I know but they’re people I’ve worked with, met on nights out, etc., not all proper full-on friends. I guess we all know that. I am unsure about shaving my head. Christ, who wouldn’t be. Yet I know it’s better for me than the other option of it falling out. I need their money for the charities, not their sympathy or opinions about what I should do for the best…ggggrrrr.