Friday, 27 September 2013

Me again...

Well yes, it's been a while hey? There's something to be said for placing bad experiences in a box in the back of your mind. Makes room for the good stuff to take precedence. Like buying a lovely new home with my hot new husband before starting my amazing new job. It's like breast cancer put my life on pause for 2 years, and there was a backlog of life to process when I came out the other side.

Let it be known that I'm still peeking my head round the door of said 'other side'. I'm not quite fully fledged, but I'm getting there slowly. This takes time. And support. And in my case an on-again, off-again relationship with hair extensions and a slowly decreasing tolerance for high heels.

Lets linger on the shallow for a little longer (because I'll be honest, I don't much like dealing with the serious stuff, even now. Hair 'do's it is then). I am still in love with my pixie crop. I'm even glad I got to give it a go, and the majority of people who saw me with it thought I was VERY brave. In a fashion sense, not a cancer one. Since who would ever think that was the default reason for a 30-odd year old woman to have that drastic a hair cut if you didn't know?

Most days while I struggle with my mid-bob in the mornings, I fantasise about cutting it all short again. But I've been through a lot with this new, young hair. It would feel so flippant to just cut it all off and start again. Like turning my back on a two year relationship after getting over the cheating incident, working hard at building the trust again, even starting to think about couples counselling. Why waste all that effort if you're just gonna start a fresh with someone new? Plus there are the children to consider (am I going a bit far with this analogy?). My other half, Dadjokes can take on that particular role. He also reminisces about the crop, but when I float the idea of doing it again one day he says, 'yeah, but NO, ok?' OK. Because there are memories that go with the short short still, so till they're put to rest I'm growing it.

So this is me. Normal service almost resumed. I count my lucky stars I have managed to land my dream job, even after all the crap that preceded it. If that doesn't all add up to a big fat achievement I don't know what does.

The rest of the road to normalcy has some steep inclines on the horizon. There is the reconstruction to consider. I'm more worried about the weeks off work than the actual process. Truth be told I kind of like the morphine opportunities it presents, but don't tell my surgeon. There's the bone density issues I just discovered I need to add to my list. But you know, I'm getting older (and I'm so happy to do that btw), so these things happen right? My heels might need to be lower and my pill-count just went up along with the expected side effects, but thats LIFE. And LIFE is what I'm focusing on with all my heart and soul. So screw you stupid breast cancer. Ha.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Journey

I'm sitting in Lucinda Ellery's amazing hair salon having 14 inch extensions attached to my jaw length ginger (yes, ginger) hair. I'm feeling strangely retrospective. The fact that I'm able to do this today is a perfect summary of my cancer journey, which can essentially be chartered by hair progress. From humble brown, wavy, long (I now realise too long) beginnings, to this; Experimental, colourful, nearly long again and mine (in part). It's a significant marker that heralds a bit of a new beginning for me. As if an engagement, successfully treated recurrence, house move, renovations, wedding, new name, new dream, job, couldn't do that for me. Nope, it's the hair.
I don't mean for this to be a vanity thing, or sound flippant, but it's such an important and significant part of the whole journey that it's not so surprising I can measure the ups and downs via the stuff atop my head.

Since last year, there have been a multitude of ups. I've registered and recognised them, but I haven't been quite able to enjoy them without something in the back of my head telling me not to get cocky, not to enjoy them too much otherwise I'll fall harder when I do. Take it from me, this is no way to live the ups.
The truth is the bit after the treatment is a massive battle of wills. This is normal life where you aren't guided by medical staff or routines or procedures. Now it is my responsibility to regroup and retain life as I knew it. In my book this meant very quickly resolving and bettering mine to compensate for the two years of crap that wasted my time. Thus I crammed a lot of stuff into a very short space. The last six months have unquestionably contained the very best of The Life of Mrs DadJokes (nee Beresiner). There wasn't time to blog, there wasn't any desire to either. All part of my reclamation Project Denial. Silly, silly me.

Whilst I was chasing and attaining my dream job, husband, house, I was building an almost subconscious back story called "Haha, This is Short Term and You Know It." This one I didn't tell anyone about; my first mistake. The worst bit about this story is how much joy it sucks out of the joyous stuff. There should be nothing less than extreme excitement at successfully growing enough new hair to have wedding extensions transform it, to have dream hair to compliment my dream dress that was unhindered by a pesky mastectomy, and a room full of every single person I love. That day was simply beautiful and everything I wished for, but the run up was fearful with my morning mantra manifesting into 'please let nothing bad happen before I get married'. I'm not even a morning mantra person. This is post-cancer madness at its subtle best and applied to every good thing that happened to me.

I spent a good few months neglecting my positive outlook. It's why I ignored so many of you who took time to email and check on me. How rude. I decided I didn't want to focus on the bad stuff, but ignoring it was just undoing all the hard work, like dieting for a year and then buying a 24 pack of Krispy Kremes. It'll always be there but I have a mission now that I hadn't counted on, but I shouldn't run away from either.
The thing is everything is momentous. My hair is a legacy of my treatment. Every time I style it, colour or cut it I'm reminded that it's my new hair, and why. Sat here among people who still have no hair, some who lost it to cancer, or burns, some who compulsively pull it out themselves, all being reinstated with a natural 'normal' head of hair I'm starting to get clarity. Good grief I'm pessimistic!

What I learnt in 2013:
A rash near my scar is not 100% a recurrence as my brain tells me. More like 0% on closer inspection. Nor is a swollen gland catastrophic or a shortness of breath anything other than a lackadaisical approach to my fitness.
Having a new, improved life is awesome, normal and the best kind of challenge that mustn't be clouded by paranoia
Doctors don't lie, contrary to my previous belief
There are a lot of appearance related challenges on the other side of treatment that I've undertaken and not shared. I apologise, but I have some good new knowledge now!
Colourful hair is like new shoes.

Simple fact is this: I'm ok today, I'm better than ok in fact. I'm a little bit stressed to be out of the office and not getting my ELLE work done, but hey what an amazing normal, dreamy stress to have. Today I've managed to come out the other side with actual shiny ringing bells on, so excuse me while I properly acknowledge that fact, ratch up a notch on the optimism post and concentrate on new and improved me. With suddenly much longer hair.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Extreme Wind

No amount of trial and error or mega extreme hold hairspray could have withstood the front page news-worthy weather conditions at Isle of Wight festival this year. I've spent the last couple of weeks locked in a styling battle with my ever-lengthening mop. It's been emotional, quite literally. Having risked lymphodeoma holding my hair dryer aloft while dragging different types of brush through , I've been known to have a little boo and/or refuse to leave the house.

I know it can be done. Whenever I stay at Katie's and give her the wobbly lip, achy arm treatment she manages a smooth, chic style in about two minutes (she is university educated in hair-doing though). I watch, learn, take notes, practise, and effing fail every time.

Convinced the answer lies in chemical sleekening, I took myself to Headmasters for a long awaited Brazilian Blowdry. I love Headmasters, they're the most un-intimidating high street salon ever, and helped me out a lot with my Bambi steps into wig-wearing. So safe in the knowledge I would emerge a Twiggyish version of my formerly scarecrow self, I booked in the morning of my friends wedding.

Um, not so much. Apparently my hair is very stubborn, corkscrewwy in parts, and immune to the powers of a Brazilian. What I was expecting was smooth, sleek, shiny, manageable hair. What I got was shinier, more manageable hair, which still looks very much like the hair I a hoping to see the back of. I had a slight toys-out-pram moment on my way home since I had been pinning my hopes on the new-hair me being so easy breezy and yes, miraculously photogenic and 100% attractive at all times. A bit like how you build up an impending blind date to be your soul mate forever husband. Of course you're going to be set up for disappointment. In a fit of pique I stormed into Liberty and bought a (gorgeous and slightly ridiculous) baseball cap, weeping at Dadjokes that I was ONLY going to go out in a F*ck!NG CAP from now on, including to the wedding, which he accepted and offered blind compliments down the phone about how lovely he was sure my hair was.

As it happens he was right, OK so it wasn't the super sleek crop I was hoping for, but it has never looked shinier or felt silkier, and yes, when I got home and went to work with the mini ghd's, it was a lot easier to style. I was just hoping the ghd's would be redundant and I could get another 1/2 hour in bed every morning. But I did manage without the cap.


That was until the 'summer' kicked in. Once you've factored in a wash with L'Oreal EverPure (you need sulphate free once you've had a Keratin treatment to keep the effects for longer), an arm aching blow-dry, a very strict regimen of smoothing lotion, styling foam, strong hold wax for the sides, texturising wax spray for the top, your weight in Kirby grips, a final securing can and a half of hairspray, and a good five minutes of pedantic mirror tweaking, you approach the front door with trepidation...

Boom, an entire mornings work obliterated with one gale force gust of wind.

The worst thing is I can't seem to learn from this repeated heartache. Last week I got over excited about my girls night after work drinks, to the point of escaping to the disabled loos illegally ear to preen to presentability.
I have to walk through the InStyle office to get back to my desk, which is a catwalk of intimidation after a loo-preening session. You don't exit until you're confident. Reasonably proud of my hair achievement I made it back to Katie who tweaked a bit more, emptied another can of hairspray over my head, and joined me in the lift. Cue one last revolving door of happy-hair enjoyment and BOOF, straggly mop within two seconds of London wind exposure.

What I'm getting at is this; pretty much no ones hair is great at the moment, but I defy anyone to struggle with theirs as much as a transitional growing out croppee has to, and be happy to see how hot long wind-blown hair looks in comparison. *sigh*

These are my staples;

Sleep In Rollers:
Once I've just about sort of flattened the backs and sides, the top looks better with volume. Yes dear readers, the Du-rag is obsolete - much to the bedtime delight of Dadjokes. These days he is presented with the Nora Batty of bed partners, but I think he'd rather her than Snoop Dag of shorter, flatter hair days gone by. A spritz of L'Oreal Pli, then three of these in the top section are an arm-ache saviour, (no need for barrel brush/hairdryer combo) and the easiest route to gentle wavy volume that stays put.

Adapt Structure Hair Texture Paste.
I'm not a wax fan, but this gloopy cream holds the sides down in a nicely natural way.

Neal & Wolf Silk Smoothing Blowdry Balm.
I don't know if this really makes a difference but its a hair comfort blanket and I'm scared of what degree of curl I will suffer if I skip it.

Tigi Rockaholic Groupie Texturising Spray Pomade.
A little spritz after the rollers come out take any fluffiness away and just makes it look a bit, well, a bit more like it says on the tin. But in a good way.

ghd Final Fix Hairspray.
My desert Island hair product. The mini spray is small but mighty - i it isn't in my handbag I almost get hives from the stress.

Matte Kirby Grips.
I still don't know where to get these from, but having been introduced by Louis, my hairstylist friend, there is no going back for extra easy gripping. If you see them, buy them (then post to me :-)

So, the battle continues, but in the meantime, these foolproof products seem to have my morning routine down to ten minutes - for the two or three weeks my hair is this bouffy length anyway. Only a few more months till wedding extensions. I will NOT cut the backs and sides NO I WILL NOT. Repeat after me...

Friday, 8 June 2012

S is for Summer (ish)

I had hoped this post would be within the context of raging hot weather, micro-clothing and very necessary new sunglasses, but alas - the extra long bank holiday has inspired extra horrible weather, so no. After the 4 day summer we've experienced so far, this is now a prospective post, about how frustrated I was about to become, and the levels of frustration I expect to achieve a bit later on this month. Or next month. Or failing that in another country at some point in the future.

Last summer I was still wig reliant, revelling in the novelty of recent chemo graduation, and the joy of venturing outside in actual clothes, rather than PJ's and a bobble hat. The whole season was also spent recuperating from mastectomy or undergoing radiotherapy, so I don't think I can count that summer as a very typical one.

This one however, has brought with it the crashing realisation that it is not so much a cancer-survivors friend. In the few short days I have known the sun in 2012, I was really starting to hate it. This is not a happy state of affairs. I could definitely do with the Vitamin D, and the pull of the little bit of grass outside my office is great for the work/life balance plan I'm trying to action at the moment ('lunch break' is not usually in my remit), but by 'eck the hotter season is a whole new learning experience.
This is what I have learnt so far:

HOT is something I've been avoiding since I started hormone suppressing therapy last year. At least three times a night I have to violently reject  the duvet, and my mini desk fan is the only thing keeping me appropriately clothed in the office. Add in actual tangible heat and we have a series of problems:

a) It feels like a hot flush all the time. This means my usual 'this too will pass' coping mechanism for each one is not so effective. And I feel that squirmy discomfort that is so much more than just 'hot' (menopausal women, pregnant ladies and fellow C-word sufferers will concur) a lot more.
b) I really notice the absence of antiperspirant for the first time since I gave up the habit. The thought of putting chemicals near my scar is all wrong, and I don't want to tempt fate with the remaining boob, so I swapped my aluminium, effective underarm care, for natural, deodorising alternatives. All well and good when sweating is not really an issue. But throw in a bit of scorching sunshine, a public transport system more suited to medieval times in terms of air conditioning, and clothes that have to conceal a load of brand new body issues, and by god do I miss the Mitchum.

CLOTHING was always a fun transition from winter to summer. Away go the high necks and long sleeves and out come the floaty fabrics and airy, strappy, wafty, heat-proof options. (although you should probably know, I don't store clothes - I buy new season instead. Any excuse...) I've been practising mastectomy dressing for nearly a year now, so I'm really quite good at it, but summer mastectomy dressing is a different matter entirely. As discovered five minutes before I had to leave for my friend Leyla's wedding last weekend. I had bought a dress especially. It ticked all the boxes: thick straps to hide ugly bra, not too low cut to hide ugly bra, cool and colour blocked, BCBG designed but Outnet discounted, and hanging in my wardrobe in eager anticipation of the sunny Saturday when I'd get to wear it. Hair done (we'll come onto that), makeup done, bag packed, beautiful dress donned, Dadjokes waiting at the door, me putting shoes on, Dadjokes informing me you can see right down my top when I bend over and it isn't such a pretty site. Me resolving to never bend down, Dadjokes warning me I'm quite likely to need to bend down, me scouring the house for tit tape, admitting defeat and tearfully putting on the first thing I pull from wardrobe for the wedding I've been looking forward to dressing for since I heard about the engagement. Yes, tearfully. I am sort of ashamed to say I cried over a dress, but it was an expensive and rushed realisation of what an inconvenient f*cker this whole business can be. Mark II happened a few days later at work when I wore a nice floaty racer back top with jeans, spent a good proportion of the morning applying and reapplying tit tape, finding it is no match for a weighty prosthetic, admitting defeat and rifling through the cupboard for a sleeved, high necked top that challenged my natural deodorant no end.

FRIZZ FACTOR...OK, there was a very important bit coming next, about the heat and the humid hair situation and how a sweaty hairline and a sleek side part do not a good pairing make. But then the sun went on annual leave and Gale came in to cover. Now I am faced with a whole new hair dilemma, regarding wind and driving rain, SO irritating I can't even be bothered to blog about it on the end of this post. So tired is my left arm from holding a hairdryer aloft every single day, and my right arm weary from spraying extra extra firm magnificent hold hairspray every 45 minutes or so. So tired in fact the residual effect on y typing figers is too much to get a decent post out there. You se?

So I'll sleep on it, and update you on the practicalities of glorious British summertime with a growing out pixie crop  just as soon as I've found something helpful to say. For now, I learn! Over n out...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

My Blog Hiatus (and sorry)

GULP.  I finally got up the guts to log on and glance through my fingers at the date of the last post. .An entire month and a half..Oh dear oh dear. So long in fact that Blogger has had a facelift, and I'm navigating the new version as a blogging rookie, that's how far off the wagon I've fallen. About as far as a discarded rotten apple off the apple wagon on the way to the cider factory. Wait, I think maybe rotten apples are a key component of cider making? But I digress...

Cider talk would appear to be the latest in a long line of procrastinating devices I have developed in order to avoid this whole cancer nonsense these days. I'll be honest - its about time. Typing the c-word just now was an act of impressive bravery as far as the new and maybe not so improved me goes. You see, I'm a wuss. Cut and dry, no beating round the bush, verging on professional wuss. Who rather than settling into the new, life-will-never-be-quite-the-same me, has spent the last three or four months trying to clamber back the old version.

I've always been a little too ambitious. My first Saturday job was as far away from the requisite local petrol garage as it was possible to get. Sales assistant at a high street fashion store or NOTHING. Never mind the build up of broke Saturday's spent sulking in my bedroom while my friends bought stuff and had fun, I would wait until someone was brave enough to employ an experience-less schoolgirl to represent their brand. This philosophy has applied throughout my life, with ideas slightly above my station being the general rule of thumb (how else are you crazy enough to try and break into fashion mags?). So I suppose my post-cancer, breaking the mould ideals shouldn't be too surprising. YES I can be back at work full time, a month after my recurrence and second op, with just as many bright ideas and ruthless hours. OF COURSE I can sleep perfectly well and maintain an active social life and fit in all the people I had to neglect in favour of chemo. Regular emotional wobbles? (OK, full on freak outs)? Moi? Nah. Normality is what I have been missing since December 2010, so normality is what I WILL reclaim, 100%, no messing about, ASAbloodyP.


The blog hiatus has fallen to the same excuse as the book procrastination - I am just far too busy enjoying my health and normalcy to sit and write, or even I'm ashamed to say, reply to all the lovely blog emails. Now that I have had a few strong words with myself I suppose I can see whats going on here. I've become so much of a chicken I could be Kentucky Fried without anyone calling the restaurant health inspector. In actuality, I'm avoiding the issue. I have so much more to say - every new day is as much of a beauty learning curve as D-Day, but I just haven't been able to. Someone mentioning the C word, be it in a news meeting at work, on the telly, or a friend talking about a friend of a friends friend, I feel like I want to fall off my chair. I blush and cold sweat and avert my eyes and think about anything else. Is this an extreme reaction? I have no idea because I don't want to talk to anyone who might know, because that would be discussing the one topic I wish I never had to think about ever ever again.

The cold hard truth is my life has changed. I will never be one of those women who revels in their tragedies. I don't want my illness to define who I am now, but I'm stupid if I think it doesn't shape it. From having to battle with my ridiculous hair, to having to battle with my, lets face it, fragile levels of sanity at times, I am one of a small percentage of 32 year olds who has had cancer, who has a very different stance than the 7 other lovely but luckier girls who sit at my desk bench. I now realise there is little point struggling to wipe out the worry that sits on my shoulders and not theirs, and even less point bemoaning the fact that I was the 1 in 8 on that row of desks who has to carry that worry.

So you see, with that frame of mind, blogging about the good stuff is still focusing on the bad. If I tell you how I tackle the May heatwave hair-frizzing issue, I'm telling you its because it all fell out and then regrew curlier. How much I'm struggling to stay on the healthy eating wagon (god its easier when you have time to clean out the juicer at leisure instead of 2 minutes before you leave for work), is a glossier way of saying I'm feeling guilty for ignoring my bodies new needs and slipping back into my 'before' ways. Answering the lovely emails I get sent is conversing with my new peer group, who I gently rebuff because, well, I just don't want to be in that club.

Thing is, I am in it. I'm not sure you can go through such a traumatic experience (I still maintain I did it as beauteously as humanly possible!), have your body quite literally shaped by cancer, and then brush it off with a bit of ignorant avoidance and a 'striaght back in at the deep end' attitude. Having given up therapy a bit too quickly (another avoidance tactic), I've managed to reach the grand old conclusion all by myself, that I am an idiot. My blog and all of its lovely readers and supporters have been something of a backbone to my cancer experience. The beauty trial and error approach was something tangible to focus on. Writing about my experience was wonderfully cathartic and helped me organise my thoughts, and every day that I don't write it, I miss it, but in a small compartment of my brain that has a combination lock I haven't quite worked out yet.

By now I'd say I've cracked 3 out of the 4 digits, and am a fraction away from the last one. I'm not sure I'll get there completely, and I don't know if I quite want to, but every time I sit on the bus and suddenly think 'What the f*ck happened to me?!' I think I'm sort of getting my head around it.

Last week saw my one year anniversary from chemo graduation and I am still wrestling my cancer beauty nemeses like nobodies business. This means I have plenty more blog posts in me and a unavoidable conclusion that by 'eck, I am a cancer survivor and I have the nightmare hair to prove it. Just in case my brain keeps regressing into NORMAL AT ALL COSTS mode and I need reminding of who I really am today. Now pass me the bloody ghd's...

Monday, 9 April 2012

You du-rag rag rag, you du rag rag

I have a post in production that explains my recent blog slack, so please bare with me, but in the meantime I've been bestowed some extreme problem solving wisdom from a makeup guru friend of mine Caroline Barns.

Yep, it's still the hair. The goddamn, f*#king, b^*$, st*pid short hair that chooses to behave in anyway other than OK. And which remains a mystery to even me, beauty expert that I am...
I know how straightening irons work; they iron hair straight. I know this because I have been writing about them for several years, I have seen with my own eyes the straightening evidence upon my own hair, but show a pair to my new arch nemesis short hair and they're defunct. Even the mini ones - Powerless in the face of resolute wave. Every morning I am baffled as to how the heat, plates, even steam cannot tame the tufts that curl at the back and above the ears like a wiry old poodle. A scientific anomaly...

Whilst having an eye lift lesson from Caroline (more on that later), she casually throws in a magical hair taming tit bit that has changed my life, and now yours too.

Invest a measly £1.99 in a Du Rag. Most commonly utilised by Snoop Dog and Ashley Banjo (*swoons*), to keep their Afros from forcibly ejecting their baseball caps, this funny piece of stretchy cloth is all that stands between me and perfectly smooth hair.

Forget heat damage, arm ache from wielding a hairdryer at unnatural angles, battling with a bristle brush, this is my new process:
1. Wash Hair (currently with Lee Stafford Great Lengths system. I am adamant it works to make my hair grow nicely)
2. Shove some Aveda Phomolient light hold styling foam through
3. Brush into desired shape - in my case, flat and Emma Watson ish, low side part etc,
4. Tie on Du Rag.
5. Sleep.

Come morning my hair is so flat it could even do with a little root lift in the form of dry shampoo or Fekkai Oceanic Tousled Wave spray. Done! I even use it to 'refresh' my flatness between washes, since no matter how straight and dry my hair is, by morning it's always wiry old poodle again. I'm still awaiting my Brazilian Blowdry appointment, but till then, Du Rag, I owe you a big one (and you Caroline). Even if you have earned me yet another tease to add to my Dadjokes collection. 'Snoop Dawgy Daw-aw- awg' sang at every opportune moment. Delightful. (he's right though, you do look ridiculously awful. If husband/boyfriend/other half not securely pinned down, heed my caution)...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Needles In My Life

As a qualified needle-phobic I have come to a post-treatment point where I no longer balk (OK I no longer cry and sulk and go white and snappy) at the thought of a blood test, but still I have a tinge of dread. I just can't be a willing participant in things that hurt me. It's a little disconcerting then that I now have a regular relationship with two particular needles, one by choice (its not heroin mum), one by necessity, both very much for my own good.

I went to Miami on a work trip once and everywhere I went, amidst the calf implants and rollerbladers, there was always a gay man with a Great Dane and a Chihuahua. I thought it weird to have two such incongruous dogs. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but essentially one of the needles is HUGE and the other the smallest of small. Yes, this is Acupuncture v's Zoladex.

Since my untimely recurrence in Jan it has been decided that I try a new method of endocrine therapy in the form of a nightly tablet, Letrozol, and a 4 weekly mamma of an injection, Zoladex. I was still giddy from the relief of the 'no more chemo' news, that I happily skipped from consulting to treatment room, safe in the knowledge my blood-test-dread might imminently resurface, but I'm a big brave needlephobe who can now handle injections with poise, grace and minimal to no fuss. Erm, not so much. So cocky was I in my new found bravery that I made the error of all medical errors, I glanced down. For the first time in my 32 year history of injection partaking (aside of course from when I injected myself, but that required a whole other plane of consciousness - dramatic? me?). Why I chose to do it on this particular occasion is beyond me, but it has tainted my Zoladex experience for the next five years. I quickly glanced up hoping I'd confused myself and the nurse hadn't taken the cap off yet, but Dadjokes, on the other side of the room also looked, and offered up, 'Blimey, that's a bit meaty isn't it?'

Yes, yes it is. A BIRO sized, OK, Biro nib sized...OK, toothpick sized hollow tube to allow a pellet to get out the end and under your skin is no blood test let me tell you. Alright, so no worse than getting your ears pierced, only lasts a couple of seconds and goes in my tummy, so I'm sure it could be worse, but not in my experience of injections, so I spend the next 27 days quietly dreading the 28th when I have to volunteer myself up to my GP for further stomach stabbing. I'm pretty sure I'm not being too much of a wuss, since I come away with a bruise that lasts a good week or so. And which we all know makes the experience sort of enjoyable and definitely worthwhile. Any sort of tangible evidence that pain and bravery have happened here is a pretty satisfying reward. Come on, who hasn't secretly let their oven-burn develop a tiny bit before running under cold water? Just me? oh...

So it must be due to some other strange universal forces that I find myself lying on a bed being pierced with several needles on a weekly basis, and not only am I choosing this plan, but I am paying for it.

I have a theory about breast cancer and that is I haven't a clue why it happened to me. I know no one has, but since it is rare in my age group, and since I don't have the faulty gene that predisposes me to it, I am left with my own theories. They vary thus: I misused my deodorant, G*d doesn't like me very much, my flat is cursed, I internalise my stress. I am in the process of moving and I have a very mistrusting relationship with my underarms now, the other thing I can't do much about, but the final thing I am working on as my anti-cancer 2012 strategy. How do I know I didn't bring this on myself by worrying? Always worrying. Somehow I have reached a point where formulating this theory has me worrying about the fact I'm worrying. So I willingly turned to point one in my anti-stress treatment plan; Acupuncture

Today was a good example. After a nightmare morning involving estate agents, deadlines and pissing rain I jumped in a cab to make my appointment on time. G*d was clearly challenging me to create a comparative frame of reference since he delivered ridiculous traffic and the only cabbie in London who doesn't know the knowledge. By the time he dropped me at the wrong address without an umbrella, late and out of pocket I was weepy-stressed enough to present a perfect test case. After three minutes of needles I felt peaceful and floaty and miraculously oh-what-the-hell about everything. I wouldn't say perfectly relaxed, but definitely different.

I won't lie, it helps that my acupuncturist is mildly to moderately attractive (DadJokes, I promise this is not why I insist on spending a large proportion of my wages on him - Katie and I see the same guy and we are of the opinion he has manipulated both our girlish giggle responses). I just feel like I'm doing something to help. Apparently your breast sits on your liver channel. This makes some sense to me since breast cancer tends to spread to the liver, so if he's clearing my liver channel, I'm all for it. Even if it is in my head, at least I'm having a positive reaction. Add in my definite reduction in hot flushes, better sleep, and less hip pain and its already worth the money. Once I've got my head around the fact I will be pierced repeatedly for half an hour, and I don't approach every appointment with needle nervousness, maybe I can get that proper relaxing benefit out of it too. Um, maybe I'd better think more seriously about yoga. Or Valium?..

this is a picture of a dog getting acupuncture for goodness sake

Disclaimer: Any Zolodex users, current or impending, who are perturbed by my account, please bear in mind my patheticism and flagrant use of drama.