Hair's falling out

My hair is leaving itself on pillows, and in my hand. The itchy scalp thing has returned – looks like I’ll be shaving it all off soon. All rather strange.

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Return home

From the bussle of an oncology ward with its beeps, monitoring by nurses, scheduled meal times and doctor visits I’m home alone: in quarantine. In a bid to not repeat what just happened Brett (my partner), Phillipa (his Mum) and Felix (my son) have decamped to Brett’s Auntie’s house. I’m in our house and Roger (my father) is in the local hotel. The house has been licked clean, albeit with a disinfectant tongue.

The Princess in the Keep

I’m in a single room (yesterday it was an isolation room) on the oncology ward. On Monday I was admitted with a fever of 38.5 and no known source of infection. Because they suspected a cold or flu could’ve been the cause of my puffy eyes and presentation I told them my mother-in-law arrived with a cold from Hong Kong. SWINE FLU alerts abounded, and after a throat swab that makes you gag and a nose poke I was regarded as having it until proven otherwise. I had to wear an industrial mask and anyone entering my room clowned up in gloves, yellow smock, face mask and (in turn) fearful or sad eyes. People’s eyes were all I could see.

After many blood tests and such the primary source of infection is a bacterial infection: streptococcus (from my raw, stripped throat). Viral infection a.k.a. the cold is secondary. Not great news for someone who’s neutropenic (my white cell reading was 0.00).

When a bacterial infection has no mucous white cell soldiers to attack it, it attacks the organs directly. My treating doctor, a diligent gentle soul, put me on continuous antibiotics, which I’m still on. My particular bacterial infection is treatable. Thank you world! Difficult bacterial infections are life threatening for immune compromised people like me. I’m the youngest on the ward by 15yrs or so. As everyone keeps saying ‘you’re young for breast cancer’. I know, I am.

Hello world!

looking seriousI started chemotherapy a week ago. My mouth tastes like metal whatever I eat or drink. My head’s itchy from sunburn or it could be one of the many side effects starting up. Both of these are not bad, just reminders of what’s in my system.

When you think of chemo the grim image of severe nausea and vomiting comes to mind. I’m glad to say the nausea hasn’t taken over – the drugs, the drugs are good. I’m floppy and exist in a chemical and body-ill haze. So far, I’m doing alright.