Monthly Archives: June 2009

new hair until tomorrow…

Third haircut!

Third haircut!

I have been away from the blog for a while. This is not because I had nothing to talk about, but rather because I had too many things going through my head. I couldn’t decide what to write about. But also, deep down I know that those issues were still a bit too raw.  I need to come to terms with things, digest them and mature them before I can write. Future entries will include “Embryonic science” (which I was writing about tonight, but it’s too hot, I cannot concentrate!), “Nice people get cancer too” as well as “My special arm”. For those who have not spent time with me for a while, the titles will make sense once I have elaborated on them. Trust me. For those who have been around me,  you have an idea of what I’ll be talking about!

Tomorrow fourth haircut by Stuart at Taylor and Taylor The third one, above, I have been sporting for 2 weeks. Stuart is training and so all my haircuts have been free, I think some people think I am spending a fortune on my hair! He is very talented and lovely and will miss our hair appointments once I’m bald (and once he qualifies and I cannot afford him! 😉 )


Hello boob!

I have never been so happy to see my boob! the news yesterday were that I do NOT need a mastectomy, I repeat I do NOT need a mastectomy!!! after the news they unveiled my breast and it is looking fantastic! I am one lucky breast cancer girl.

Next stop chemotherapy. No date yet, sometime between mid and end of July.

The pain of the drain

The pain that the drain was inflicting no me on Friday morning was proving too much to bear. I consider myself quite resilient and someone who can cope with pain well. Having been waxing my legs from the age of 13 or so, being pierced a number of times as well as tattooed twice has contributed to my healthy threshold of pain (I think). So how could a drain be so intolerable? I had a look and it was not pretty, but not that ugly either. Around the tube, a scab was forming, and where the two stitches were it was looking rather red. The problem was that every time I moved the stitches would pull, or the scab would break. Ouch.

Faced with the prospect of being totally immobilised by such a little thing, and holding back the tears, I called my breast cancer nurse to see if I could get rid of the drain. After all, they were going to do it on Monday and I felt I could not stand the pain. She nicely said “no, you have to wait till Monday…I know it’s painful”. I was still draining 120 ml of lymphatic fluid a day, so really quite far from the 30 ml target needed to remove the drain. I put the phone down. I cried.

Later on that day, I had an appointment with my practice nurse to change the dressing. I was in the car with nick. Phone rings. “Hi Rosa, I spoke to ms. C, she says you can have the drain removed”. I was the happiest woman in the whole of Hackney. This was a little mount climbed.

Because this is what it is like to have cancer for me. You have the big thing to deal with, the big mountain to climb, as my friend Andy put it. But to conquer that mountain you have to go through all these small mounts, some steeper than others.  I do not want to see it as a battle, as if I’m fighting against it. The cancer is part of me, my body and my life. Fighting against it would feel like fighting against me. I live with it and I am going to have to do this for a long long time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather not have it, obviously. Cancer is the one thing no-one wants. But I cannot reject it ‘cos it’s here and there is nothing I can do to change that. It is now part of my biography. And I never thought I’d think that it was unfair, as my philosophy has been pretty much “it has to happen to someone, and in this case it was me”. But there was been a few of occasions in which I have felt cheated and hard done by.

On one of those occasions I was on the train back from the hospital the day that I went to the fertility clinic for the first time, I had the misfortune of choosing a seat in front of this couple who’d been taking something, some sort of drug I presume. “Are you feeling anything yet?”, “No not yet”…”oh wait wait”. His stare was vacant. Their skin was rough. Then I found myself thinking, “I bet they can have children and look at me, poor little me… with cancer, awaiting chemotherapy, which could potentially leave me infertile…their kids would go to care…Oh-my-god. I can’t believe I’m having these thoughts. Cancer’s turned me into a mean person”. I could have put my hand in front of my mouth in disbelief. As the sociologist that I am (well I prefer the title social researcher), I like to think of myself as someone who strives to be non-judgemental. What was happening to me?!?!

Then there’s other times when it just hits me “I’ve got cancer. I’m going to have chemo. I’m going to be bald and sick”. And it shocks me, because I am so used to it now. It has become so normal to talk about chemo and radio and lumps and cancerous cells and tests and results and wigs and scarves that sometimes I stop and go “shit, I’ve got cancer”. Usually it makes me cry. It’s daunting. But the crying doesn’t last for too long. It’s not like I spend hours doing it. A few minutes will do. Very cleansing.

Oh! and tomorrow I will hopefully get the results of the 2 cm margin that they take along with the lump. If there are no cancer cells there then the next stop is chemotherapy. This should be sometime between mid to end of July. But if there are cancer cells I shall get rid of the boob and have it reconstructed.

Fingers crossed!


I am now feeling quite tired. The operation is taking its toll on me, physically and mentally too maybe. It has nearly been a week and I still have the drain coming out of my body. Which means that I am still taking a bottle round with me everywhere.

Today I am feeling kind of low.  My dad still here, which is lovely, but I’m starting to feel the lack of space. I am so western when it comes to issues of “me time”.

Anyhow, not much more to report other than tiredness, increased pain (as I was trying not to take too many painkillers) and lack of personal space (which is turning me into a grumpy girl). My time still consumed by visits to the nurse, to the hospital and now to the dentist (have to have your teeth checked and fixed before you start chemo!). Embryo talk starting next week again.

Hairdresser yesterday. New hair! second haird do. My dad took this non-posed photo (believe me!)

Playing with my hair, my dad managed to snap a better photo than the ones in which i posed.

Playing with my hair, my dad managed to snap a better photo than the ones in which i posed.

I love the back!

I love the back! (note the drain round my neck, under my necklace!)


I’m gonna have a nap now. Exhausted. Do you think I will be posting photos of my bald head? I wonder…

Sun and drain

Since the operation I have not really put out any updates, apart from that little post. This is a combination of my dad being here, which doesn’t give me the mental space that I need to do this sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing! My dad and I are very similar in at least one thing: our love for junk. Junk found in charity shops, markets and car boot sales that is! and of course there are plenty of those in hackney… Despite the operation and despite having a drain coming out of my body (with a bottle attached to it which I carry in a bag)  I am trying to keep as active as I can. And with weather like this, how could I stay indoors?

It’ s not all fun though. I get really tired. A trip to the local car boot sale and the supermarket means a stop over at home for a rest. Being tired and feeling that I’m slowing down makes me feel fragile and ultimately it makes me cry. Which I did yesterday quite a bit, before the supermarket trip, and a bit after it too. I had a low day, or a low moment in an otherwise fantastic day (with the hindsight of the day after). I have not been seriously ill since I was 3 (when the tick bit me), and feeling that I need to ask people for things (i.e. washing my hair) and feeling tired made me really, really, really scared. What will it be like when I am doing chemo?

On medical terms, apart from getting tired I’m doing fine. I had my friend’s mum check my wound the other day and it’s looking fab! very clean and nice indeed (as nice as a wound can be that is). Carrying the drain around is most annoying and really quite weird too. They will take it out once I’m draining less than 30 ml a day, at the moment I’m draining around 160 ml daily. The movement in my arm is really good! they physiotherapist who came to see me at my hospital bed was well impressed with it! I am doing my little exercises regularly and keeping it moving, within it means, as they advice me. I haven’t had any severe pain, which means that I am just on paracetamol and something similar to ibuprofen. Nothing strong. Oh well ;-). Now I have to wait, yes, wait again, for the results. If the 2cm margin that they took out with the lump are clear then the next step will be chemotherapy. If they are not clear then a mastectomy will be on the cards. We’ll see.

It’s another sunny day and I have to go to the post office and to the Salvation Army store (one of the charity shops my dad is dying to go to). I’ll leave you with some photos from the last few days.

Before the match, spirits are high

  Before the match, spirits are high


hospital chic
                                        hospital chic

I came back to the house to find lots of flowers sent by friends (you know who you are!)

  I came back to the house to find lots of flowers sent by friends (you know who you are!)

And a baloon! I'm Fausto and Paul's sweetie :-)

  And a baloon! I’m Fausto and Paul’s sweetie 🙂