I went to see the oncologist today and was surprised to hear “your radiation starts now” whoopee – miscommunication. I was hauled off to the radiation room. I will receive 5 radiation sessions, one a day, for a week until Monday 24th. Radiation is no big deal, it’s not painful at all, best to just relax and get in an extra nap while you’re there. (I have no idea what they do with people suffering from claustrophobia.) They did some X-rays first to make sure the scan is 100% in the correct position and the whole process took about 30 minutes all in all. I will be scanned again after 2-3 months to see what the effect has been from the radiation.
I’m so glad that I can start weaning off the cortisone from Monday 24th but it will be a
long process over 5 weeks at which point I need to contact the doctor to report on my progress. If I’m okay there will be a further reduction period. Making progress. I’m so bloated from water retention, that’s the worst side effect – I have a double chin, my feet and fingers hurt… long term cortisone is not easy.
At this point the tumour is still there, it has not reduced. What happened originally was that the tumour was ‘leaching’, known as a ‘brain oedema’, and the cortisone has helped to dry it up which is why I’ve been feeling better. When I heard that the tumour is “as big as an eye” – I said I would have preferred a pea! I never asked what part of the eye….
I may have patchy hair on the left hand side where I was radiated. Disappointing as my hair was coming along nicely for summer but a small thing, hardly worth complaining in the bigger scheme of things.
Well the hair loss was excessive, almost overnight I lost all my hair due to the full head radiation and I wear a wig or a headscarf, but I’ve been advised by Naomi to rather shave it all off and start with a clean slate, which I what I did yesterday. Had it all shaved off by a hairdresser.
Well the photo isn’t going on the blog but the hairdresser said I’ve got a nicely shaped head (I heard that one before from another hairdresser, can’t believe that’s something people take note of!) and my family seem to think I can carry it off. But no, I’m not into becoming a poster-girl for cancer, I feel more comfortable with a wig or headscarf.
Funny but it feels quite liberating not having to worry about hair, brushing it, needing a brush, shampoo or anything. Just to stand under the shower and let water run over your head. It is cold not having hair, that’s one thing I noticed. I rub on coconut oil because I feel it might promote growth. At least now it should all grow out at once and even. But colour and texture might change, that I also heard. That I may end up with a curly head as opposed to straight – that I’ll have to wait and see. Surprise surprise.
One weird thing, putting my head down on a pillow is quite sore with the stubble coming out, if they don’t get smoothed in the right direction, it can be quite painful. This is not something I anticipated or thought about at all.
Ah so glad my wig arrived safely all the way from the USA! Bald may be beautiful but it’s not me…. I alternate the wig with a headscarf (especially when cooking as the warm blast from an oven can ruin a wig) and I feel a scarf is sometimes cooler.
Here are some photos – one of me getting my wig trimmed to my liking and the other photos were taken at lunch today in Hout Bay. It’s a very close match to my natural colour and style.
I did some research on the web and decided on Naomi from Imgorgeous because I liked what she had on her website which made the experience more personal for me (I like her nice Facebook page) and she happened to be the best priced. I got the feeling she’s a professional who knows what she’s doing and I was right. She replied speedily to my emails and she’s based closeby in Stellenbosch so mum and I visited her in her studio. Top class assistance.
Unfortunately cancer comes with challenges. I’ve been losing hair at a rapid rate, only from radiation. It is quite shocking in the beginning, all the hair on the floor, on one’s hairbrush, in the shower. Just bundles of hair coming out during a normal wash. I quickly realised that I needed to treat my hair with extra care. I now put a small blob of baby shampoo in my hair after a wash, so that I can comb it through easier. I also cut off a fair amount to make it look thicker. It’s definitely thinning on the sides and even on top. I realised I can no longer “sit in the light” because you can just see through my thin hair! My niece told me about coconut oil and I’ve been using it as a mask but I’ve also been warned that I’ll lose all my hair now with the full head radiation I’m going through now.
I’m not a bandanna lady and I won’t ever walk around bald! I have ordered a wig that is closest to my natural colour and style. Can’t wait! I’ll post a photo as soon as I receive it!
These new modern day wigs are so lightweight and easy to care for. I opted for synthetic hair which is lighter in weight and I think less warm on the head. I tried on different styles and designs and am happy with my choice.
I just can’t believe I always took my healthy hair for granted! I’m used to it now – little bits and pieces of regrowth all over but it was hard in the beginning to get used to.
Below are some photos of my hair from 2008 (mouse over the photos).