Fifty Shades of Radiotherapy
JUNE 26 2015: Have found a new lease of life for my tentative blogging in the past few days. I poured out a lot a few weeks after the surgery, mostly to get it out of my head and away. Reading back now and tweaking posts has been strange but good and I have been inspired to continue. To put in the normal stuff too.
13 days after my last chemo session I spent an hour planning my radiotherapy. Was wrecked to say the least. The appointment consisted of me lying on a table with measurement scales with my limbs in various contraptions, a nurse taking Polaroid pics, people drawing on my boobs, followed by an CT scan. After this scan I got my first ever tattoos. Nothing exciting, just three bluey black spots. One in my cleavage and one at breast height either side of my torso.
But I’m telling everyone that now I’ve got three tattoos. Makes me seem cooler.
Then 18 days after my last chemo session I began radiotherapy. Bit fecking harsh if you ask me, was still recovering. Usually quite cool in the room and with your arms stretched out behind your head in metal restraints, it is like something out of an S&M dungeon. Not that I’ve been in one, but I kept expecting Christian Grey to swan in.
Radio isn’t so bad, more the fiddling about, wriggling your bum up and down the table, strangers gently manoeuvring bits into position but on the upside it has cool green lasers. The actual bursts of radiation only take a few seconds each.
Have got through 20 so far. Three left. Been doable. Everyone has been very nice and professional but I have to admit that I haven’t liked having men do it. There are always a few people in the room but I swear half of Belfast have seen my boobs at this point and I have reached my limit. It’s pointless even undressing behind the curtain when minutes later you are lying there with them drawing on your boob or squashing it into a different position. Dignity long gone.
Anyway…I’ll be really glad . Have had my fill of hospitals and medical folk. And sinister looking contraptions.
JUNE 28 2015: Am going to back track to before Valentine’s Day, to when I still had hair. Before I went to the wig salon, before chemo had even started I began half heartedly looking online at wigs. Hours and hours of it.
Let me tell you I had never believed there was so much fake hair out there. Raquel Welch also seems to have cornered the market in swanky auburn or brunette styles too. She’ll not starve anytime soon judging by the prices.
I thought long and hard about the colour and style of my hair. Didn’t want to look dramatically different and wanted to slip unnoticed through the playground. There is real hair (expensive), synthetic, lace front (gives you a natural hairline if the wind blows your hair up), monofilament, etc. etc…. It really is worth a visit to a proper wig fitting salon to discuss all the options and try some on.
In the end I chose the second one I tried on, from the Ellen Wylie Hair Power range. Five months later there are people I know who have not realised my hair isn’t real, after hours of face to face conversation. They somehow have managed to miss the drawn on eyebrows (top tip : an eyebrow brush swept across the line helps make it look natural) or lack of eyelashes (top tip 2: black kohl across both sides).
It isn’t so bad wearing a wig. There have been a few worrying moments on windy days and I went through a few months with a pull on beanie hat in my handbag, just in case. Ditto for rain.
Upsides to wig wearing : salon fabulous hair EVERY day. Can change your look completely if you wish. No hairdresser costs. No hair dyeing.
Downsides: windy days are stressful. Rainy and snowy days too. Hoodies and hoods in general are tricky unless you hold your hair with one hand while removing your hood. Opening the oven too close is a no-no, ditto, getting too near barbecues and fires. You also need to take care bending over in public and I’d really advise against handstands.
One thing I realised about wigs though is that there is a whole other world of secret wig wearing going on. Not just girls like me. When I’d been looking online for a cheapy spare I googled ‘cheap wigs.’ There are loads out there. I never even wondered why. But then one day I realised….
I’d kept seeing a UK site with some pretty decent wigs. Their homepage however had seemingly unrelated items on sale. Shoes. Stilettos to be exact. Didn’t think twice until one day I returned and took a closer look at those shoes. Very nice shiny stilettos. I checked out the sizes. Started at size 5. Went all the way up past Size 12.
Soooooo. Like I said. A whole other world of secret wig wearing is out there……