THE morning after the day before! I had had my first chemo treatment on 26th November and awoke having slept well.
Apart from feeling a little peaky I felt surprisingly good. A hearty breakfast along with the medication I had been given set me straight. Everything seemed a little dream-like, if I’m honest. Nobody ever imagines that they will be having chemotherapy but I had started and that was the important thing… the sooner I began the sooner I finished. I spent the morning resting and then had to go to the hospital again for the last set of tests, a bone scan.
I arrived at the hospital at 3pm and had yet another lot of dye injected into my arm; my veins had taken a pounding that week. Then I was instructed to go away for two hours and drink lots of water. On my return I was ‘scanned’. A process that took about 20 minutes and painless. This was to rule out bone cancer. The staff told me they would send the results on to my oncologist. I imagined that for my next chemo session they would be inside my file ready for my appointment.
As I have mentioned, I was given a lot of information about chemotherapy and have to say I am not a great one for reading instructions and buying lots of medication. I prefer to have the general outline and then listen to my body. Naturally, the essential meds must be taken but you don’t have to go crazy buying every cream and potion suggested. I think that a ‘wait and see how you go policy’ is a good one. Why pre-empt? The one thing that I think is important is a good diet, lots of nuts and green veggies and fruit. You must drink lots of water, hydrate your skin well and there are a wonderful range of teas that are good for you and delicious at the same time. There are lots of cookery books with great recipes that provide you with what you need to keep your immune system at full power, which is essential if you are to stay on track with your treatment schedule.
Eat well, rest and avoid people with colds if you can.
Friday was ‘mission wig’! There is a fantastic and very well established hairdressers near Calle Larios, called Pacos. Everyone had spoken highly about them so I thought that would be the best place to go.
I failed to realise that my little shopping trip coincided with the Malaga Christmas illuminations. The mayor turned on the lights and what a sight they were! Utterly dazzling and beautiful. The atmosphere was buzzing in the centre and it really felt like Christmas had arrived.
Into the hairdressers I went. It was a veritable Aladdin’s cave. A jovial lady called Carmen asked if she could help and the moment I explained that I had started chemo she whisked me upstairs. You could tell they were at ease and used to dealing with clients going through treatment. We went to a private room and tried on lots of wigs. It was great fun. I managed to narrow down the choice and with the help of Jorge, I settled on a rather snazzy, short ‘Bondesque’ number. It was expensive but with Black Friday 20 per cent off, I decided it was worth it. I would save a fortune on haircuts and colours and shampoos!
I think it is important to boost your image and your self-esteem… if you look in the mirror and a sad, drab face looks back, that is how you will feel on the inside.
A bit of lipstick and a bright jumper works for me. With the special offers on I nipped into El Corte Ingles and bought a set of knives for my boyfriend’s mother who had been cooking and looking after me. I’ve seen sharper spoons than her knives so it was time for an update! She loves to cook so her little face lit up when I gave them to her. Then it was time to eat and rest.
The following day I decided to meet my dear friend Pepi for coffee, a bit of shopping and then a few tapas. I just love being in the centre of Malaga. It is a special place for me for so many reasons. The rest of the weekend was spent resting and watching Strictly Come Dancing and Sherlock with my children. We made a cake on Sunday. It had been a thoroughly good weekend.
Everything seemed calm. I felt pretty good but was wondering when my hair might fall out. Instead of waiting for that moment I decided to have a radical haircut. I had long hair and I went very short. It was very liberating, I have to say. Later I would shave my head and don my wig but for now my short cut was to be enjoyed!
A friend of mine suggested I tried Reiki… didn’t know much about it but it was a good excuse to lie down and relax so I gave it a whirl. The jury is out for the moment but Carmen liked doing it so I decided that I would try it again.
A week had gone by since my first treatment and pretty much without incident. I had seven more to go in 21 day cycles, 17th December would be my next session. Fingers crossed for the same reaction. Only time would tell.