How do you go from here…
With a lot of patience and just as much humour!
ps. this post is 3 months overdue ;-)
I absolutely love getting comments from readers of my blog. They are encouraging and show to me that it was the right decision to make something personal, my hair growth journey and life post cancer and post chemo, public.
Today I received a lovely comment from someone, and when I visited her blog I found a post by Kerri, who is at the end of her chemo treatment. Check it out here!
I have to share it..too. Thanks Kerri!
I have been teaching english to a small group of 6 year olds for a couple of months. Two weeks ago, as I was gathering the materials together at the end of the class, the only boy in the group told me:
“I am making you a present”
And started to draw.
“I may not finish it today, so I’ll give it to you next week”
I smiled at him, said “ok!” and kept on tiding the desk.
He looked at me.
“I’m drawing you” and as he said that he reached for a black crayon. He then started drawing my hair. When he gave the drawing I could have cried. My post-chemo hair seen through the eyes of a child: dark, curly and long. I loved the way in which he made the hair stand out. I think that it shows again how long I have gone since my bald days. It shows again that there is life after chemo, and that it includes getting your hair back, as said in my first post ever.
It was a year on from my first (and last!) haircut on the 30th of September and I took a few picture to show you all again how my hair growth after chemotherapy is going. And what a difference a year makes, don’t you think? and how about looking at my first post ever? 1 year and 9 months have passed since then.
Something funnily beautiful happened last week. I was working at the market stall in Barcelona, where I have been working for the past year selling children’s clothes. It was nearing the end of the day and was just talking to other market traders when two females approached my stall and started looking at the colourful trousers. As I approached them and said “hello”, one of the girls turned her head, looked at me and we both went “are you..? oh my god!”. So who was she? she is the person who appeared in the previous post, and whom I’d never met before in person! She was introduced to my blog by a friend of hers who is from Barcelona and we’d had contact only through facebook. But we never had the chance to meet in London before I left to relocate to Barcelona. And despite a couple of visits to my home city, we had not managed to arrange a coffee. So we finally did! One of the things we both agreed on in relation to having had breast cancer is how quickly it all starts feeling like a dream, like a book you’ve read and you vaguely remember the plot. It is now around 2 years since I went bald. Time flies. And life goes back to normal.
However, despite this dream-like feeling, and in way that seems contradictory, cancer is now part of me and my biography and I get daily reminders of it. It is not just the physical scars, or the occasional check-ups but the way we live surrounded by cancer: news about break-through cancer treatments, about celebrities, people in the public eye or around us either being diagnosed with or dying from cancer, posters reminding us that there are cancer charities out there that need our support. Cancer, cancer, cancer. It is a chapter of my life that I now feel has been closed. However, all those reminders make me wonder, but not fear, if it is one that I will be forced to re-write again.
A while after I started this blog and I got some regular readers and some encouraging comments I thought is be useful to show other people¡s hair growth journeys. Mine is only ONE of many, and thus not really representative of how fast or slow hair grows after chemo. In fact I think mine took a little longer than other women’s, but then when it did there was no stopping it! I have thick hair before losing it to chemo and it has come back just as thick and strong). So for this post you are not going to see my face but that of another woman who recently suffered breast cancer and that, like many of us, became “obsessed” with her hair growth. She monitored it with self-portaits which she kindly agreed to let me share with all of you. This is the first collaboration, and hopefully not the last. If you want to appear in the blog drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
I have had this great collage for a while, and there is a reason I have had the urge to post it today. As I approached my last herceptin (which was today, Friday 3d December), which marks the end of my treatment, I got the news that someone else I know through my blog got abnormal MRI results, and is now awaiting to undergo a biopsy. I, just like many of you, know who hard it is to go for tests and to wait for results. I hope with all my heart that she gets good news. So I wanted this post to be about other women, because we are all part of the same journey.
I cannot believe it has been over a month since I last posted. This is bad bad bad of me!!!! haven’t even taken photos!!!! I am truly ashamed. But in a sense this is a reflection of my life at the moment, a bit all over the place, partly nomadic…this is about to change I am soon moving to a lovely flat in the centre of Barcelona city! I am so happy about it, specially as I recently had a cancer scare, which turned out to be nothing. All my future plans could have easily and rapidly changed. But luckily that was not the case!
So…lets have a look at the photos! between week 41 and 44 I have had a haircut..it grew so fast and so much! shame there are no photos to probe it. But I am determined to post every week from now on, as I have decided to carry on with the hair growth and stop cutting my hair. Or maybe I shoudl rename the blog “hair cuts after chemo”? just kidding…
And week 44, I straightened my hair so it looks pretty short…but it isn’t really!!! I haven’t cut the top, just the sides.
I am very late, pretty much a month without posting! and I guess this is a reflection of the life I am living just now, which is quite different to my life in London. And definitely the opposite of what it was like during treatment. I am, as you know, moving around a lot. I am living!!!! and I am definitely feeling alive and healthy. I just keep on hoping that this lasts for a long time, forever even.
So first stop: Morocco!! I went to see my dad and his wife and lil’ brother. They split their time between Barcelona and morocco and now that my health allows me to, I took the chance to make my first visit. And what can I say other than “it was great”! I absolutely loved it. Lovely people. Lovely food. Lovely leather bags. So here are the photos from week 36, next to one of the many beautiful lamps that my dad has…
On week 37 I was still in Morocco and look what they did to me!!!! isn’t it pretty? they are henna tattoos, non-permament drawings usually made on the hands and feet.
And you know what happened on week 38? I had a haircut! yes I did. I wanted to give my hair some shape, well I wanted to have a hairstyle. And, even though I was pretty shocked at first (short hair again!), it soon started to feel great! i think it is because all the hair and all those curls reminded me of my cancer, as, in actual fact I was growing my hair after chemo. Now, however, I will be growing my hair after a haircut. Does this make sense to you? here are the shots, taken by my lovely friend Paul who came to visit me in Barcelona. I am now staying at my friend’s flat while he’s away on holidays. I am so lucky, I thank my lucky stars in fact…