The Glamorous Side to Chemo

July 28th Visiting Mummy in Hospital
Being resourseful with a latex glove, to have some fun!
Playing Glove Tennis with Dad!

So I have just ticked off my fourth cycle of ‘health nectar’ for the year, only two to go! Right in time for one of my troops birthday and spring. A good time to grow my hair back!

After I leave the hospital the next morning, I’m full to the brim with so much fluid from litres of drugs. I do a final inspection in the mirror and hope that the makeup I’ve put on helps me look a little human. I feel like I’m staring into one of those crazy mirrors you see at fairs and theme parks, my face looks like someone has just put a pump in my ear and pumped up my face like the GoodYear Blimp, with five little neat chins hanging off the end.

The physical changes that happen to your body when you go through chemo aren’t the best for your self-esteem. Losing your hair is hard, especially eyebrows and eyelashes which are the very things that give you the frame to your face and make you….you. I’m clinging onto my remaining lashes and brows for dear life and as every precious one falls out, I say a little farewell and am overcome with a tiny sense of loss.

As for the weight gain arghhh, I feel like a life size cabbage patch doll on steroids, not the cutest sight!

Cabbage Patch Doll
Me minus the hair!

I have recently discovered I have Lymphedema, which I refer to as “fatis armis’.

Because I had lymph nodes taken out of from under my arm back in 2006. Any trauma on that side of the body, including the surgeries I had last year can cause swelling and because there’s no lymph nodes to push the fluid through it just sits there.

So know I have ‘wankles’ (fat wrists) as opposed to ‘kankles’ (fat ankles), that will probably come next. I feel sad because I can no longer wear my wedding rings, so I have them on a chain around my neck.  

There’s a new addition to the ‘medical entourage’, Maree!

Maree’s a nurse and a Lymphedema specialist. She is determined to fix me and comes over to massage the fluid out of my arm and hand give me exercises and introduces me to the ‘glove’. Mmmm.

She was here until 10pm last night massaging, squeezing and pushing the fluid out of my arm around to my back, where the other lymph nodes can collect it and take it away to the rest of my body.

As I get into bed and stare down at my elephant woman arm with the sleave and glove pulled tightly over it, I think of Michael Jackson and his glove, I suppose it’s not that bad.

The Glove
So much prettier when you take a photo of it near
a rose, don’t you think?

No one ever told me cancer would be this glamorous!

To pep me up and help cope with the physical changes that you go through with chemo.  I once attended what the Brave Man described as ‘wig school.’

It was when I was first ill 5 years ago and the chemo nurse suggested I give this a try. It is a volunteer based workshop that is sponsored by the cosmetic industry for people who have lost their hair, eyebrows and lashes, yep the whole kit. A well-meaning and well run workshop, just “not my cup of cino!”

Being a little nervous Nancy, I had to take my Besty Troop with me, just for a bit of hand holding.

Last Day of School
Tiffy and Me
Friends for 28 Years

I think it lost me when the lady,  in charge, gave us some advice on turban wearing. I was taught that if you wear a turban, with a shoulder pad in the top, it will  give you “that extra bit of height.”  Also, just for that added ‘va va voom’, “attach your favourite clip on earrings” to your turban rather than your ears because the ears can become quite sensitive.

Needless to say, I have perservered with scarves, unfortunately, wigs make me look like a very unattractive drag queen and turbans with shoulder pads, well….. it’s just not a good look!

I know it’s still me on the inside, it’s just the outside that’s hard to cope with.
But the ‘Brave Man’ still brings me home flowers’ and my little fairy brings me home her drawings of a mum with bright blue eyes and wearing pretty dresses, and a colourful scarf.

July 2011
Sienna and Billi save some of their own
hair for me at the hairdressers.
Thought I might stick it to the front of a
peaked cap a s a fringe?
Scroll to Top