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What I Feel Like Today - Part III
I have not talked about my mum's breast cancer treatment for a while on HubPages. To be perfectly honest with you, I haven't felt the need. I don't feel the need now, particularly, but I thought it might be nice to provide a little update.
My mum had her first round of chemotherapy almost three weeks ago. Poor Mum. She had a bit of a cold before the chemo was administered, and thought that it might delay the treatment. But the nurses decided to go ahead and get started, because my mum was not presenting with a high temperature. Unfortunately for my poor exhausted mother, the cold developed into a cough, which developed into bronchitis; but positive as ever we are, we are thankful that it did not develop into pneumonia. My mum had to stay in hospital for eight days so that she could have IV antibiotics administered, and also for the doctors to keep an eye on her. Me and the boys had to stay away because we had our own snotty and coughy germs, and didn't want to infect her with new ones.
She is home now, but the hair started to fall out when she was in hospital. I think it caught her a bit off guard, because she was not expecting it until after the second round of chemo. But she is some kind of superhero of positivity, so it has not bothered her too much. She has found the whole hair loss experience rather fascinating I think, and has pulled plenty of it out just for fun. She did start to get a little upset about it yesterday, because she was left with whispy hair at the top, and it was becoming very patchy and looking pretty dreadful really. But dreadful in a bearable kind of way for the people looking on. She showed her head to me when we met in town for a coffee a couple of days ago (see how brave she is? A coffee shop full of people, and she barely hesitated in taking off her hat to show me how little hair was left), and it didn't take my breath, I didn't have to steel myself to ensure that I didn't upset her with my reaction. It was fine. She is still my mum, and she is still beautiful. I found it quite fascinating to look at, I suppose. And of course, I knew it was coming, so it wasn't at all shocking. In fact, I was able to have a joke with her and tell her that she did look like Norman Tebbit. And being my beautiful mum, she knew that I was joking and was not the slightest bit offended, and did laugh heartily until she was too tired to carry on.
So, the hair had become very whispy on top, and very patchy all over. And of course, the head hurts to the touch when it is losing hair like that. So she decided that it was high time it got shaved off. We gathered at my mum and Janine's house, my brother Terry and his stunningly beautiful wife Jessica included, for the shaving of the head ceremony. Janine was the camerawoman, because that is what she does professionally, which left the business of choosing the hairdresser. Jessica offered, but then thought it would be better if one of my mum's children did it. Terry didn't want to, because he has tactility issues (as do I, but since cancer arrived in our family, I have overcome my issues of closeness a little bit, and am now able to hug people), so I willingly volunteered. Secretly, I was a bit pleased, because I had really wanted to be the one to do it. But then even more secretly, I was a little bit nervous that I might cry if my mum cried, and I did not want to cry because I wanted it to be a jolly and happy occasion.
Well, I need not have secretly worried. I got to work, and it was all fine. I used the clippers without a guard, and shaved as close to the scalp as I could without hurting my mum. The parts where the hair was still quite thick were the most painful, so I had to be very gentle there. I think I did a good job. The sides were done first, and then the back, leaving the top to last so that the most painful areas were dealt with first. I had to touch her head a few times to brush off the bits of hair that did not fall to the floor, and was very careful not to whack her about the noggin too firmly. She has a very nicely shaped head, with no lumps or bumps. She did have a little cry at the end, when it was all gone, and she was a bit overwhelmed. I found a mirror, and my mum had her first look at the naked head. She got a bit of a fright, because she had not really known what it would look like. But she did keep picking the mirror back up and having a look, and I think that she was genuinely pleasantly surprised by how pretty she looked. I wonder whether she would admit to being pretty herself? I think not, because she has always maintained that she is ugly - but anyone can see that she clearly is not!
But there was no time for wallowing in self pity, tears were got rid of immediately, because the eye make-up had to be done. A little eye shadow, a lame attempt (by me) at eyeliner, and some nice brown mascara, and there you had it, subtly highlighted and very pretty eyes.
My mum has made herself some hats, both knitted and crocheted, which she will wear outside when it is cold (as it still is over here at the moment). But I think she will find it very easy to be brave and not wear anything on her head when she has visitors at home, and when she ventures out on the warmer days that are approaching. I certainly would feel very proud to walk around town with my bald mum, with her beaming smile, and her happy and engaging eyes. She is an inspiration to me, as she always has been, and I am intensely proud to be the daughter of such an incredible woman.
The next session of chemo is in two days' time, and we are hoping that she will be less ill this time, because she has no cold. She is being given an extra little treat in the mix of chemo drugs, to help boost her bone marrow, which will hopefully help her to cope if she does happen to have any nasties left over from the bronchitis. She is prepared to be knocked out again, and to spend a few days in bed, but she is looking forward to having a full two weeks of wellness this time - I hope she gets that.