Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Text Book

Ok, I'm halfway through chemo, it's time to admit; I am pretty much text book. I really really thought I wouldn't be, I don't know why. It's not because I'm special or superhuman, more it's nearly impossible to be told you WILL suffer this and feel like this and look like this in x amount of days, and then sit there and wait for signs. It's just difficult to imagine.

I said before, I thought my hair wouldn't fall out. This was exhibit 1 in the medical delusion stakes. Since then, every time I get another confirmed side effect, I'm strangely disappointed. I agreed with work that I'd come in part time, work a couple of hours less on those days and generally take it a bit easy. By two o clock on my second day I was disappointed to the point of tears at how wilted I was at my desk. I just didn't think I would be!

So let me tell you, I may be happily extolling the virtues of healthy-making blusher and lash growth serum, but 5 cycles in and I only now know the real meaning of chemo fatigue. They said it would be like nothing else you've had before, so after a couple of weeks when I found myself flopped on the sofa, very tired but unable to sleep, not bothered to turn on the TV, let alone concentrate on the True Blood box set, I though, 'ah, this is that something-else fatigue I've been expecting'. Oh I was wrong.

The Fatigue Proper only hit me a few weeks ago. I feel like I'm being mainlined Night Nurse. Apart from not too unpleasant flash backs to my up-all-night, sleep-all-day (aided by cough medicine - this I don't recommend btw) youth, this text book side effect is further disappointment for me. It's by no means awful, I get used to it and plod along - hey, only temporary and all that - but what is the real let down is this responsibility I have now lumped on myself to be a shining star, healthy facade in the face of cancer.

I didn't mean to, it was just going very well so far, and I genuinely did, (and do - don't get me wrong, I LOVE a challenge) think I sometimes look better than ever, which made me feel great. Not something I thought I ever would again now that I was sick. The responsibility is a blogging side effect. Im sure there isn't a text book about this one since I'm making it up as I go along, so bonus there, but duty to ALWAYS look fab in the face of Chemo, whilst writing LGFB blog is my very own issue.

Not only is this ridiculous, it is also stupid, and dumb. I've had loads of emails from lovely well wishers and fellow cancer patients asking me how did I look great when they went through varying degrees of shockers, from '1970's lesbian gym teacher' to 'looking like ET's bloated older sister'. So let me tell you, although I'm lucky to get advice, give advice, and raid the beauty cupboard for industrial strength radiance boost, I am by no means immune from ETism.

Yes I can help myself look better, feel better, and hope to help some other people along the way, but the main thing is, being happy with all the compliments and how good I feel (in parts), is not something I or anyone else has to strive to keep up. Its great when it's great, but come 16.00 at my desk when that Night Nurse drip has been running all day, NO amount of Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer is going to hide the long haul flight baggage I'm carting around under my fading lashes. And who the hell cares, well, apart from me, but that's because I'm an idiot on a mission.

So now I've fessed up to my merely human status, I don't care so much. I'll still layer on the concealer (Bobbi Brown is the best I've found btw, on good days you'll look freshly botoxed, on not so great, you'll look a hell of a lot fresher than you feel, but best friends and boyfriends will still notice because they're wondering about your superhumanity too. The bare reality is probably a huge relief all round to be honest.

I'm off to wallow in my 5th chemo cycle, makeup free week now. It's nice to give my skin a rest, but my mission awaits. Come on work week, I've got new eye sparkling, cheek flushing, lash conquering tricks to try!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Can I get you anything from the kitchen my beautiful-couch-potatoed-fatigued-bald-droopy-snoozy-achy-girlfriend?

    A banana? A shot of Wheatgrass?


    BF in the adjoining room watching racing

  2. your honesty is the most attractive thing about you. Um, actually i love your cheekbones, your body is ridic and always has been. your eyes are way too big and saucery. Even pale and feeling pants you're a goddess xx

  3. Hang in there Sophie! Your inner beauty and strength shines through.

  4. Dear 'wallowing in 5th chemo cycle, makeup free week',

    Bring on 'work week'... I miss you, I have no one to talk to about boys and whether to buy the Chloe or the Coccinelle (I still haven't decided by the way) and the only view I have to look at is of empty printer cartridges sat on the top behind you. Not nearly as glamorous, or witty.

    On the upside, you're not here to tell me off when I steal your perfume... And ferrero rocher...

    Love always from the one who sits opposite xxx

  5. Always good to find another on the trail. I too am bald and beautiful (the latter is true at least to those who love me) and making my way through cancer treatment in more or less textbook fashion. I suppose there's comfort in knowing we're not alone in this, and also in knowing we aren't alone in wanting to be exceptional...

    Best wishes to you!

  6. Sophie,
    Don't be too tough on yourself. The fatigue is the worst part about the whole thing, and only you know how it feels, because it is indescribable. But it will pass. Rest, rest, healthy food and more rest. And, make sure you have treats to look forward to in your good weeks. Take care.