So today it is a year since my head of hair was shaved. Well, what was left of the head of hair I had apart from the bald patches that were appearing with frequency at that time. I have kind of known that this anniversary was coming for the last two weeks, and I don’t know why I have kept this moment in my head and really remembered that I needed to mark this day. I managed to leave the house, get the cub dropped off to school and drive halfway to work before my brain kicked in and I remembered.
I really remembered. And I cried right there in the car (good job I’m not on the bus this week!). I cried for the memory that I had, the hair that I had and the year that I have had. Christ, it has been an absolute year and it has been such an emotional rollercoaster that I have never experienced in my life. I have known my lowest of lows and also had amazing highs as I have smashed those hardest moments.
So a year ago today, I spent my morning dealing with the craziness of chemo and feeling all of the drugs entering my body. I didn’t have cancer in my body but I was doing all of the possible preventative action that I could to make sure I didn’t get secondary cancer thereafter. I was filling my body full of drugs in the hope that the pesky bugger didn’t return.
A year ago today I was also on a downward slope in my mental health. Never had I been so low and so desperate. About hair of all things. At the time it baffled me as I just couldn’t process all of the emotions I was dealing with. Looking back, I think I dealt with the actual day pretty well. I had cried all my tears the night before. But I also spent a long time afterwards bemoaning the loss of hair and the feelings when I looked in the mirror. Today, I still don’t take much joy out of looking in the mirror, but I lather on a smidgen of makeup and try to put a comb over the inch long hair that turns into an unruly mess as soon as I put a woolly hat on!!
I can’t say that I dealt well with hair loss. I didn’t. I can’t say that I am dealing well with hair growth. I’m not. But there’s another factor at play here this year and that is sciatica. I have absolutely well and truly been taken down by a bad back!! Now don’t get me wrong, I have had sciatica before (probably since I started wearing very high heels in my 20’s) and usually had it for a week to two max. This time, it started in October and eight weeks later I am at levels of constant pain that I could cry. I even resorted to seeing a chiropractor yesterday to see if they could ‘fix’ me!! All of which has led me to be a bit grumpy, a bit tired and a bit irrational. Which has also made me sad again today. Really sad. Remembering a year ago, I am sad again that I had to go through that. That my family have had to go through that. My saving grace is that this year my cub is sooooo excited and her enthusiasm over the magic off it is beautiful. I can well and truly enjoy it this year (apart from the back pain!).
So, I am much more prepared this year (with presents at least – no food bought yet!) than I was at this stage last year. Amazon Prime saved my days last year on Christmas Eve – I think I’ve done better this year (unless I’ve forgotten someone!). Apart from a wee wobble last night reading a FB post of a girl who is on her third diagnosis of TNBC (triple negative breast cancer as I had) in the last five years. That tipped me onto an edge, but I stayed on the positive side of it. I have one day left at work. I have another chiropractor appointment tomorrow (maybe he can work a Christmas miracle!). Then I am done. Five days family time, five sleeps, five counts. Then we celebrate the arrival of Santa, Father Christmas, St Nicholas (as named by the cub, she thinks the names mean an order of things!! God, she’s going to kill me when she realises I have fibbed all these years!).
We have made it, we are enjoying life and I am here for the ride.