On Friday, 30th September, in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Support Big Coffee Morning, I decided to go a step further and have my head shaved. My friend, and stylist, Glen, kindly zapped the razor over my head and in about 15 minutes (or less) my hair was lying in a heap on the floor. Sadly, it wasn’t long enough to send to the Little Princess Charity which sends human hair to China to be made into wigs for children who’ve lost their hair through having chemotherapy.
I was asked why I’d do such a radical thing and all I can say is that it’s my way of celebrating 10 years of being in remission. It’s also a way to remember loved ones who’ve lost their fight with cancer. Ten years ago, in June 2006, I was given the awful news that I’d got Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and that in less than 2 weeks I’d have to go into hospital for six months of aggressive, intensive chemotherapy. As I had six cats at the time, my first thought was that I can’t possibly go into hospital for six months – who would take care of all my cats, especially my 20-year-old Garfield. He had special needs and he knew he could rely on me to understand his meows and act accordingly.
Garfield had his own ideas though and five days after my diagnosis, he let me know that it was time for him to make his onward journey. Did he know what I was going to be going through in the next year or so? Was he making my life just that bit easier so that I could go through my stuff and not have to worry about his needs being met? Who can say?
My friend Steve came to look after Billy, Timmy, Ricky, Sam and Ollie during my first stay in hospital when I had chemotherapy. When I came out of hospital and Steve had gone back to his life, the first thing Billy did was to get up on the sofa behind where I was sitting and get on my shoulders. Then he started patting my bald head with his paws (claws retracted). He did that a lot – for those who might remember Benny Hill, the comedian, there used to be a little guy in it who had a bald head and Benny Hill used to pat it as part of an ongoing joke. Although Billy never watched Benny Hill on television, it’s almost as if he was trying to encourage the follicles to make the hair grow again. It wasn’t a one-off occurrence, either. He did it every day, several times a day.
The Macmillan nurses are a vital part of anyone’s journey with cancer, and the four nurses I was privileged to come to know at the hospital did a terrific job. It can’t be easy telling a family that their loved one is not going to make it and they do other important jobs as well.
I raised a fair bit of money for Macmillan Cancer Support and I’m very thankful to all the Daily Mews subscribers who donated via the JustGiving page and sent me cheques in the post. Thank you.
Gibbs seemed a bit wary when I first came home last Friday but Casey didn’t seem bothered. I think his mantra is ‘if this person feeds me on demand, hair or no hair, she’s ok with me.’
My friend Lydia Brett made a short video of me at the salon and on my Facebook page – if you scroll down a bit – you’ll see lots of pictures.
If you would like to make a donation, it’s not too late. Either send me a cheque made payable to Macmillan Cancer Support and send it to me (email me for my address) or go to the JustGiving page:
Thank you. You’re awesome!
love Pauline xxx