I am sporting a great new ‘do. I would say it’s about a number 1, pushing a number 2 perhaps. I started noticing some regrowth about a week after my first paclitaxel treatment. I thought I might have been imagining it. I was checking myself out in the mirror every chance I got, straining my eyes to try and find evidence of tiny new hairs on my almost bald head. It was kind of hard to see because I hadn’t lost all of my hair. I still had some straggly bits that I was holding on to like some kind of victory prize. I kept making people take a look at it and see if they could see any new hairs poking through or not. I don’t think they could. But it felt different. And then this dark line started forming at the front. But maybe that was just where my wig or headscarf had been rubbing during the day. Then it started coming back downstairs and since all of that was gone I could definitely confirm, without a doubt that my hair was growing back. Wohoo! I was so stoked! And I didn’t care that the regrowth on my head was starting with a frullet at the front. A week or so later my head looked like a giant peach with a lovely fuzz all over. Now, 3 or so weeks later, it’s grown to a point where I can feel confident enough to go about town sans headwear. And, lucky reader, I am even feeling bold enough to post a picture ON THE INTERWEB for you. So here you go:
That’s my youngest sister there next to me fashioning some kind of hat out of a napkin.
Have to make a quick shout out to Rustic Cafe and Tapas Bar in Hanmer Springs where this photo was taken. Awesome food, and yummy cocktails! We went there as part of my other sister’s hens’ do this past weekend. As you do when you’re in Hanmer Springs, we went for a soak in the hot pools. Stupid me packed the wrong bikini though – one that didn’t have a pocket for my chicken fillet. Normally when I’m just with family & friends I won’t even bother with it, but in such a public place I felt like I needed it. So I just had to kind of sit it in there, which wasn’t so bad – you couldn’t really see it or anything. I was exceptionally paranoid about it when we first got in the pools so I just kind of held it there with my hand. It probably looked like I was feeling myself up. After a while I started to relax a bit but then at one point my BFF goes “ummm, your boobie is floating away” – it had started to creep quite far out of my bikini top so I quickly had to poke it back in there before anyone noticed. Stealth. Thanks Gem
Swimsuits are a tough thing when you’ve got a removable fake boob. I do have one bikini top that has removable padding and I can poke my fillet in there, but the shape isn’t quite right and it presents itself looking a bit squished. So I started looking online for ‘mastectomy swimwear’ (it’s as unglamorous as it sounds). Everything looks like it is made for my nana. Don’t get me wrong, my nana is fabulous and rocks her own style, but I need something a little more youthful. This breast cancer business just isn’t designed for 20-something year old women. The one place in Christchurch that stocks pocketed swimwear is U Fit In and though the lady there is absolutely lovely (it’s where I got my fillet form in the first place), their togs all seem to fall into the nana-suit category too. And they’re freaking expensive! $250 for a one piece that I’m never going to wear again once I get a permanent replacement boob? I don’t think so. After hours of trawling the ‘net I did find something I liked, and even though it’s a bit pricey I think I’m going to buy it. I think it’s just gorgeous. Plus, I don’t actually own a tankini set yet and I will definitely wear it even after I no longer require my prosthesis. Here ’tis:
Now if only I could get that tan and those legs too…
I have an appointment with my surgeon this week which I’m excited about. I haven’t seen her since well before my chemo started and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going to happen around getting a reconstruction. It will still likely be at least 6 months down the track, so I do still have an excuse to splash out on the new togs.
Something I am less excited about though is radiation treatment. At the start, my doctors said I probably wouldn’t need it, but now the criteria has changed and they are offering it to me and they think it is a good idea that I have it. They say it reduces the risk of cancer coming back in the chest wall post-mastectomy from somewhere between 10% and 20% to less than 5%, and it’s only 3 1/2 weeks of treatment. Each treatment only takes a few minutes, but you do have to go in every day (except weekends). Before meeting with the radiation oncologist I was adamant I didn’t want to do it. I have had enough of having treatments. I am tired of being tired. But after a quick cost/benefit analysis I decided it was worth it. He was talking about starting the treatment just after I finish chemotherapy, but I told him it would have to wait until after we’ve done our rail trail trip at Easter. I will not have my life organised around my treatments, my treatments can take a number and fit in when it is convenient for me *pulls middle finger*.