Monday, May 10, 2010

The arrival of Barney

The week at the coast was very relaxing. Not that it could be anything else, I had no energy for anything apart from relaxing. It was good to get down to the beach every day and even managed to make it to a movie. It was a relief to have the first chemo treatment over with. I think what scared me the most was the unknown - not knowing how I would react to the treatment. By the end of the week, I was feeling better, not great, but not horrid either. During that week I had done some google research about dogs. I liked a groodle - cross between a poodle and a golden retriever. I found a place that had some and drove there to have a look. I was given very strict instructions from my mother that if I didn't fall in love straight away, then don't buy him. Armed with two friends for support, we had a look at the two groodle puppies. When I picked up a puppy and his big black eyes and black nose looked up at me, I believed in love at first sight.

People were split about the idea of getting a puppy. Some people thought it was a great idea and exactly what was needed for this year. Others thought that it was not a good idea and I am still unsure as to why. How could a puppy be a bad idea? Especially one that is soft and golden and looks like a teddy bear? Now I am not one of those crazy dog people that treats their dog like a child, dresses them up and gives them two names. And this blog is not going to turn into a long running summery about Barney and his activities. However, I will say that he has been a delight. There was a point that we thought he was part poodle and part weedle, as those seem to be his two favourite activities. In my research about groodles, I found that they grew to about 20-25kg. However, as Barney's paws grew at a very rapid rate and got as big as my palm at four months of age, I started to feel a little uneasy about his size. I am sure we will be able to put a saddle on him and let the kids ride him around the yard. I keep telling myself that it means that there is just more of him to love. This year has been tough, but Barney has managed to bring a smile to my face every day. I take him to the dog park when I have the energy and other days I kick a ball around the back yard with him. On the days when I want to stay in bed all day and do nothing, there is always a little fuzzy paw knocking at my door at about 8am to tell me to hurry up and get out of bed.

Exactly two weeks after my first chemo treatment, my hair started falling out. I found this to be the most traumatic part of the whole process. I knew it was going to happen and I had cut my hair short in preparation, but nothing can prepare you for when your hair starts falling out in large clumps. I think I was also worried that it was the first time that I was going to look like a sick person. Going from having long hair to being able to pull out my Carol Brady style in chunks was very upsetting. Although, since I hated the hair cut I had at the moment, part of me was happy it was evacuating from my scalp. I had made the decision that when my hair started to fall out, I was going to shave it. I had seen some people at the chemo clinic who were clinging to their last strands of hair, no offense to them, but it really isn't a good look. I didn't want to be like a middle age man clinging to the last strands of hair and trying to hide my baldness with a comb over. I did have very thick hair and even after three days of it falling out, you couldn't really tell. My mum said that I shouldn't shave it just yet, I should wait until it started to thin more. I couldn't imagine anything worse than watching my hair fall out in clumps for a week and then having to shave it. It was just delaying the inevitable.

Early one Sunday morning I went to my best friend's house and had her husband shave my head. She cut it into a mullet first, so I was definitely happy when it was shaved off. I started out with a three blade, then went to two blade and came home with a one blade. I remember being really upset when I got home. I just went to my bed and started crying. Mum knocked on the door and said that there was someone who wanted to see me. I didn't want to speak to anyone, but she walked into my room and put Barney on my bed. Barney snuggled into my neck with his little golden nose and promptly fell asleep. I must have fallen asleep as well, because I remember being woken up a little while later by Barney hiccuping.

One good thing that came out of the whole hair falling out process, was that my brother made a movie called 'Missing Imfollicle'. Loosely based on Mission Impossible (and not breaking any copywrite laws) he made this movie with all my nieces and nephews to help them understand what was going to happen to Aunty Karen's hair. I was worried about how the kids were going to take a bald Aunty Karen, but they have coped very well. My niece Lucy now thinks I have silk hair, thanks to the large range of Oroton scarves that are always wrapped around my head. After my head was shaved, I went a bit nuts at Oroton and bought quite a few scarves. I told the sales lady that if I am going to be bald, I am going to be stylish! She didn't quite know how to take that. Looking back at that time now, I am very glad that I shaved my head when I did and I am also glad that Barney came into my life. He is just divine and makes me smile every day.

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