Saturday, 5 April 2008

27. Last but one of the hurdles...

It never ceases to amaze me how the smallest things can make you totally exhausted. Today I had to do three things. Get my nails done [my treat!], have a wig fitting and go for the pre-chemo assessment and chat. All three seem like innocuous little tasks, but I must say that here I am at days end, completely shattered.

The nails; no problem apart from the fact that they are nowhere near as good as the UV gel I have done in Portugal, they look a million times better. Oh well – as I have discovered that I get a wig free from the NHS, I can afford to splurge on the one thing that I know will look nice [and not fall out! quite useful]. I now have French Polished nails with a sort of UV gel on them. We will see if it last the promised 3 weeks. I also paid in advance for the next three sessions, as they then throw in one for free. Ok. That’ll see me to the end of the chemo – yay, nails will be nice and not breaking and tattered. Loads spent today, but two good things – the manicures are paid in advance, so I shall soon forget the bill. The fact that I have already paid means I HAVE to go out of the house to have it done. Motivation – I think I will probably need it.

Wigs. Well. What can I say? An amusing but also distressing experience. Wigs DO NOT look like the pictures once they are on your head. I tried on one that made me look like Shirley in Boston Legal. She looks great, but is about 60! NO, NO! Long wigs look crap – I think if I had alopecia and this was a long term thing, I would have a fantastic, real hair long wig, but the price range I’m going for, the long ones are not as good as the short. A good idea from the lady at the wig shop - if I have a short wig, once my hair starts growing out it won’t be such a surprise for people to see me with short hair. Very wise. So short it is.

Tried a few. I hated nearly all of them and it all felt utterly surreal, but we managed to winnow it down to two, with another on order for me to try. Took phone pics for review at home. I now need to get a ‘case number’ from the RD&E, so that they can order the wig. Right. Later. Wig arrives next week, will go and try it on once I wake up from the chemo. Then I will buy one, and have the other on the NHS. Sorted! Well, apart from the hair cutting scenario, which I am still trying to resolve. Might go to the hair salon I usually use in the UK. Initially I wanted to avoid that because everyone knows me there, but it may be a better plan. Thinking about it.

Next stop the oncology department of the RD&E. Saw a peculiar video, running over all the chemo info again. Then saw a nurse called Helen, who went into more detail, presented me with a little blue book for recording stuff in, showed us around the oncology ward etc. I think it’s so you know what to expect and to remind you of all the bits that you forgot since the initial meeting.

Seems it will take around 6 or 7 hours, especially as this is the first session. On arrival I will have 3 x pre-meds; anti-sickness, piriton and cimetidine. This all put in one by one through the cannula – while this is all going on, the pharmacy make up the chemo, which takes them about 1½ hours. The Paclitaxel takes about 3 hours, and the Carboplatin, about ½ an hour to an hour. So it’s basically an all day job. Aj will drop me in the morning, armed with Nintendo, books and whatnot, then collect me afterwards.

We made a quick visit to the Force centre as well, as that’s where you can go for lots of support, info and advice. It’s a gorgeous little building, all light and airy, with a pretty garden and smashing people. Really friendly. We’ve decided to meet there in case one of us is early or late, as it’s very calming. More about that later.

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