Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow [Excerpt from Diary of a Stem Cell Harvest and Transplant]

Monday 4 June 2007
It's just three days since they harvested my stem cells and just over two weeks since my first liquid chemo - cyclophosphamide - and my hair is really starting to come out. It's so thin now that I really can't go out without something on my head. I don't mind so much. I am undecided about whether to get a wig or not. A wig is just not me! It's not like I present the news or am on TV elsewhere ... I don't need it for cosmetic purposes. I don't think it will make any difference to the kids - well I hope not.

Emma has a photo of me on her bedside locker. She said she wants to remember me with hair! I suppose it is her way of dealing with it. She has been so good with all that we have had to throw at her.

Cathal still won't let me out of his sight after being without me for two weeks. He keeps saying "you are my Mammy. I'm keeping you home.". That's tough to have to hear. I underestimated how all of this would effect him even though he is only 2 and a half.

I love my kids so much and I have great determination to be around for them as long as I can.

Tuesday 5 June 2007
Everyone went off to school and minders this morning. When I was making my bed I could not believe the amount of hair that was on my pillow. It's surreal. I thought I would cry once this process began but I haven't. That doesn't mean that I won't. It's a real in your face symptom of my illness but it is also a positive sign that my treatment is progressing. Bryan doesn't seem to mind whether or not I get a wig. I am lucky that he loves me just the way I am - and just the way I am at any particular time.

I remain undecided about the wig:

"To wig or not to wig
that is the question"

I got out of bed this morning
my hair decided to stay
as I pulled on my top and trousers
it spread itself out in the sun
It was strange leaving the room without it
We're usually inseparable! 

 [apparently I wrote this 'poem' in my journal]

Wednesday 6 June 2007
I was coming to terms nicely with having less and less hair. Then I swear a girl with hir the length and thickness mine used to be was standing outside the house talking to a neighbour. Just at the moment it hit me hard that it's going, going and almost gone. I miss the weight of my hair, the feeling of it as it dries off after I wash it. I miss the smell of the shampoo in my freshly washed hair as it billows around me. I do miss it.

Cathal came over to me this evening and handed me two large clumps of hair, told me to put them on my head and said 'there you go now' before walking away.

Thursday 7 June 2007

Today was a hospital day. Dropped the kids to school and minder and got to Tallaght Hospital early. My line and stitches are really itchy. They cleaned the line (this is the central line in my chest that they used for the stem cell harvest and will use again for the transplant). They removed the stitches too and the relief was wonderful. I have been dying to give them a good old scratch but I somehow resisted.

Blood results were good and they say that I am looking well.
I needed a wrist Xray to use as a marker !!!!!

My hair is still coming out in clumps and I am wearing one of those horrible bandanas that I bought from the wig woman when she came to see me. They have phoned me again asking if I want a wig but I have no answer for them as I am still undecided.

I am getting very close to just cutting what's left of my hair off. I have three comb overs and it's just not a good look!

Friday 8 June 2007
My hair is a disaster. I put my hand to the back of my head today to sort out a tangle and it felt like the whole back of my head came away. It didn't! It was just a huge clump of hair - one of the comb overs! I had a shower and more of my hair came away. I decided it was time. I went into the downstairs bathroom where there is a small mirror and no window. I cut off the comb overs and the last few bits of long hair. Then I used Bryan's head shaver and did a complete once over on my head with my eyes closed. I just couldn't look! Then for good measure I got the dyson hoover and gave my head a once over to get rid of all the last bits. Bet that's not on the instructions and uses for a Dyson!

After it was done I was too scared to look in the mirror. I put my glasses back on and looked up and it was shocking. I almost did myself a neck injury trying to look all the way round to the back. I am an egg head, a baldie.

I left the bathroom after what felt like ages. I was even afraid to let the cats see me in case I scared them. They didn't move a whisker. I walked around the house for a while - BALD. It felt strangely liberating to be free of the clumps and the comb overs.

Not sure how the gang will react but I will cross that bridge later.

[This is transcribed from my diary as I wrote it in June 2007 when I was dealing with all the fall out from being diagnosed with Myeloma - a cancer of the plasma cells of the bone marrow. I have not edited this or changed anything.]

 A few year's after my treatment I was inspired to write a short story based on my hair loss experience called 'Well if Sinead O'Connor can live with it'. You can hear me read the story on my Audioboo account at the link below:

PS My hair grew back really quickly and is as long and thick as it ever was!

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