A couple of sharp reality checks today; another fantastic fundraiser; and (hopefully) a wee family holiday to look forward to.
First up, hair loss. Not the head – that went long ago. And not even ‘down there’ as that’s something I’m also reconciled to, including the now smooth (as a baby’s) bum.
No, it’s my eyes that have finally ‘broken’ me.
In the charming way that only Mrs Slorance can, Louise declared that I looked a lot more ‘Chemo Boy’ than usual this morning, but couldn’t quite put her finger on why.
I headed into the office to help support my colleagues’ bake sale fundraiser (of which more later) and it was these good people – most of whom I’d not met in weeks – who provided the evidence to my wife’s otherwise un-corroborated claim.
“Your eyebrows have fallen out. They are gone. Disappeared.”
Not only that, I also had a close look at my eyelashes. They too are now almost non-existent.
And that’s the one that hurts the most!
My vanity secret is that I’ve always been a bit proud of my luscious and perfectly curled eyelashes. Put many a female to shame they did. Even with their expensive potions and lotions.
But now? Gone…
The second reality check came on a visit to the Stem Cell Transplant Team at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
It’s all getting a bit more ‘real’ now. And whilst the basic transplantation elements seem straightforward – getting the stem cells out then dripping them back in after a few weeks – it’s the bits in-between and afterwards that remain pretty scary.
Wasn’t told much new today to what we’ve already heard from the consultant (see here for details), but had a chat with the doctor and nursing team in the transplant unit and did basic health checks and more – yes more – blood tests.
Was told I had “beautiful veins” in my arms, which was nice and given the pummelling they’ve had recently a bit surprising. But what it really means is that they are large enough for the big needles they’ll use to get my stem cells out next month. Joy!
The one new and negative piece of news that I got was that the stem cell growth stimulation injections I’ll need daily for a week after Chemo on April 4, which I thought would be one jab in the belly each evening, will actually be FOUR jabs per night.
And they’ll be administered in the main by the ever-sympathetic and nurse-like Mrs Slorance, who was far too cheery for my liking when she heard the news! She really does have a sadistic streak… better be on my best behaviour!
Other bits of good news?
Amazing effort by my colleagues in the Scottish Government’s Resilience Team, with support from other Divisions, who sold table loads of home baking (and Emma’s sausage rolls!) to staff in St Andrew’s House this morning, raising well over £800 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Another truly humbling fundraising effort and a massive thanks to those who baked, knitted, donated to tombola and, of course, scoffed all in the name of a fantastic cause.
And we are going on a (springtime) holiday! Well, general health and stem cell process permitting.
The timing and nature of my stem cell transplant process means I should have at least a week free from hospitals and GPs (and low blood counts? Fingers crossed!) at the start of May, so a wee trip to Center Parcs is on the cards.
And I, for one, just can’t wait!