Monday, May 17, 2010

Life as Kojack

In the days that followed the head shaving, my hair continued to fall out, but only in certain spots. I was examining my head in the bathroom mirror one day when my mother walked in. I said to her, 'I look like a......', she finished the sentence with '....a mangey dog'. It was brutal, but true. It was at that point I decided to lather my head with shaving cream and shave the remaining hair off. I would rather look like a female Kojack or a chuppa chup than a mangey dog. I have been told that I have a good shaped head to be bald, but still do not feel comfortable to leave the house without anything on my head.

During this time I had returned to work. It was a novelty to leave the house and not have to go to a hospital or doctor's appointment. I was determined to keep my life as normal as possible. I wasn't doing any recruitment, and was only working a few hours a day in the weeks I was up to it, but it was a great boost to my spirit. My work have been incredible. When I was first diagnosed I was worried that I should resign because I was not sure what was ahead of me. Being in recruitment and working in a sales based commission role, being out of the office isn't exactly good for the office budget. I was reassured by my manager, regional director and international ceo that resigning was out of the question and I had their full support throughout this process. It was a huge relief to know that one thing I didn't have to worry about was my job.

I work in the city and was surprised by the amount of people who looked at me because I had a scarf on my head. I would often get people just staring and also supportive smiles from middle age women who could empathise with my situation. I thought that I wouldn't go down the wig route and just stick with scarves. That was until people started staring at me. I had noticed people with wigs and they look like they are wearing wigs, which means they are bald underneath which defeats the purpose of wearing a wig to hide the fact you are bald. I had bought my season tickets to the Reds and thought that if I was going to the rugby, then I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible amongst 20 000 people. I went shopping with my mum and my six year old niece. We tried on a few wigs, except the knee length pink one my niece picked out, which would defeat the purpose of being inconspicuous. We walked out of there with my new $600 hair cut in a bag. I have been surprised how warm it is to wear hair!

I have found that some strangers have been amazingly supportive and other people have been horrid. I remember being out one night with a friend, having a drink before going to a movie and the manager of the bar came up to us and gave me a $100 bar voucher. I asked him why and he said that there was a man who wished to remain anonymous, but saw me sitting there with a scarf on my head. His fiance had just finished chemotherapy and he wanted to give me a present. I was very touched by the kindess of a total stranger. As I said, some people have been horrid. I went to a large bottle shop to buy a present for a friend. As it was raining and we were without and umbrella, my mum dropped me off as close to the door as possible, which just happened to be a disabled spot. As it was in the early afternoon and the car park was not busy, mum stayed in the car as I popped in to get what I wanted. My mother never parks in disabled car parks, but as it was raining, I wasn't going to be long and there were other disabled parks available, she thought it wouldn't cause any inconvenience to anyone. I was lining up to pay less than five minutes after entering the shop. There was only one lady serving customers, she stopped serving customers and went outside to where my mother was parked. She started shaking her walking stick at my mother and yelling 'Are you disabled?', mum replied that she wasn't, but was just waiting for me. The lady starting yelling at my mother again, 'If you don't have a disabled sticker, then you don't deserve to park there'. I was somewhat mortified by this display and thought that when I was served, I would explain to the lady that my mother was waiting for me, as I couldn't afford to get wet in the rain. I was standing holding on to my trolley looking tired and weak when I was served. I apologised to the lady and said that my mother was waiting for me. She looked up at me and said, 'If you don't have a disabled sticker, then you don't deserve to park there'. I said that we were not going to be long and that I couldn't afford to get wet in the rain. She just looked at me and again said that I didn't deserve to park there. It was only when I got into the car that I wished I had said to her, 'You don't get a disabled sticker when you have breast cancer'. My mother had moved the car to the other side of the car park, so I had to walk in the rain to get to the car. I told my mother what the lady had said to me and I have never seen my mother so angry. She parked the car again and walked back in the shop and yelled at the woman! My mother is usually a very calm person, so I took this as a sign as she was somewhat stressed! It was upsetting and unneccessary that she had to explain my medical condition to a total stranger all because of using a car park for less than 10 minutes.

When I was first told that I would have to have treatment every three weeks, I thought the time would drag out. However, being totally laid out for the first week or week and half made the time go very quickly. Before I knew it, I was heading back to hospital for intravenous domestos round two.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh some people are ignoranious!! Love your mum....what a great spirit!!! xx