Thursday, 10 March 2011

Doctor, Doctor

Today I had a routine appointment with my oncologist. I dithered over whether i should wear the wig or not. In all honesty, I still feel like a cross between a hopeless fraud and someone who is just walking around experiencing a permanent 'bad hair day'. Both my mother and partner have reassured me that it looks good but with the tight curl pattern and reddish colour of it, I feel a bit like Noddy Holder (see pic). Now that I've shaved my head even lower, I find that the wig (which has almost been cut down to nothing) lets in a lot of draught. On a cold day it can feel as though I'm wearing nothing on my head. I don't mean to sound ungrateful. If anything, I'm more angry at myself for ruining what was a great haircut.

The funny thing is, when I discovered that I had cancer and would need chemotherapy, I told myself that I would never wear a wig. It seemed so false and fake and associated with the shame and embarassment at having cancer. I wanted to be strong and proud and able to talk about my illness. I thought wearing a wig would look like I wanted to pretend I was normal. But now, faced with the prospect of not just looking normal, but looking like a completely different (and albeit more fashionable and stylish) version of myself, I find myself embracing the superficial world of hair and beauty with open arms. Why ?  I guess one reason could be escapism. The time that it takes me frantically surfing the internet to find the perfect afro wig is less time spent looking for a cure for metastatic breast cancer. Which one would you rather search for ? As I continue this journey, I find that I constantly discover things about myself that surprise me.

Anyway... I have a quick check up with my doctor and tell her about my meeting with the chest surgeon. I tell her how elated I felt after I left his office. She agrees and we talk for a while about the recent developments in the study of oligometastatic cancer - which is basically cancer which has spread, but only to a small number of sites. At this stage, there is still the prospect of a cure, although obviously the statistics are much lower the second time around. But who needs statistics anyhow ?  We're human beings not counting machines. My doctor tells me how rational I am when it comes to dealing with my diagnosis. I suppose at this point in time and with a needy toddler at my heels, I can only think in terms of necessity. Perhaps once he's off to nursery, the emotions might come flooding through.

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