Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Twigs and Wigs

Photos copyright: Maggie May

This last week has been what I call my best week. The week that my blood cells start to pick up. (The white cells in particular are at their lowest ebb on the fourteenth day of the 3 weekly sessions of chemotherapy.) I have noticed that I am not quite as lively as I was at this stage on session one, so maybe my seasoned chemotherapy advisors are right when they suggest there is an accumulative effect when each session takes a worse toll on the body than the last. After all, they have been there. They know what it is like.
However, there is a stubborn streak in me that wants to ignore this and pretend it isn't so. You can all laugh at me later, if I am wrong.

I think it must be a British thing to go out walking in all weathers. I tend to think that my overseas readers think that I am slightly mad for doing it.
I was brought up in the days when everyone walked everywhere. When we had babies we were instructed to put them outside in the garden for a few hours in the morning, in their prams, in all weathers. The fresh air, we were told would do them good. Most of the prams in those days were sturdy Silver Cross or similar type models with lots of protection from the elements. Not at all like the modern buggy.
At that time, I was more worried about the 14 yr old boy next door who used to fire an air rifle at targets down his garden, with only a flimsy wooden fence between him and my son.
However my baby survived the pellets that might have strayed over but he did suffer from asthma later on. I'm not sure if it was through being out in all weathers or if it was because he was a passive smoker, like me because his Dad and all the outer circle of relatives smoked back then. It was positively encouraged wherever you went.
Non of this would have happened today in the climate of over protecting our youngsters, never letting them anywhere on their own or to take any risk of any kind, without an adult being present and I look back in horror now at some of the things that we all did in those days.
I was really on the subject of walking but took a little detour. Sorry about that.

Well these past two weeks I have walked out in all weathers and different friends have rallied round and said they would accompany me on walks and I have a few booked in for this week later on.

I have started to wear my wig lately. At first it took a bit of nerve as I feel I look more like 45 in it.......... from the back, that is and I feel like mutton dressed as lamb.
A few days ago I bumped into one of my livelier work mates while out, wearing my wig and she shrieked with joy as we hugged one another and laughed fit to bust.
"What are you going to do, Maggie, when your hair grows back? Only you look so much younger in that wig and so well."
I suppose she has a point but the prospect of having any hair at all seems a very long way off. Too long to even visualise it. No wonder I feel the cold as I have lost all the hair on my arms and legs too so cannot even shiver properly. Not that I was a hairy type, mind.

I was gardening recently. Chopping back the clematis from the bottom of trees and shrubs because I wanted them to bear flowers in the Spring and late Summer low enough to see them. I completely forgot that I was wearing a wig and I nearly lost the thing altogether when it became tangled in a branch. That was in the privacy of my own garden. Imagine walking under some low shrubs on the pavement, as I often do and suddenly having my hair torn off. I must definitely remember to be very careful when doing such things in future.
When I wear my wig, every one assumes that I am really healthy and expects much more of me no matter what I am really feeling like inside. When I wear a head scarf, I have had doors opened for me and even people urging me forward in a queue because they must assume I am a poor, sick person having chemotherapy. So that is quite a useful thing. I definitely won't be wearing a wig when I am feeling weak.
What ever happens, it does pay to have a sense of humour. My youngest granddaughter says, "Grannie, let me see you under that scarf. How much hair have you got left?"
I would definitely like to see the girls' school work and wonder if they have written anything about hair loss and being ill or if they have even drawn pictures. Children tend to tell it like it is. They are not scared to speak the truth the way we are.

Well I have rattled on about hair and chemotherapy yet again.
My next session is on 2nd February ....... if the pre assessment the day before proves I am fit enough. I dread having the next one but would be gutted if I couldn't.
That will be Session Three....... the halfway mark. Doesn't time fly by?
(When you're having fun?)

I'd like to remind anyone who might not have seen my brother Eddie Bluelights on the 100th Sunday Roast, interviewing an old friend David Mcmahon, the Melbourne journalist, writer of best selling novels and professional photographer who we all used to know through our blogging. Why not go over and learn more about him.


RNSANE said...

It's 2AM here in San Francisco and I was just headed off to bed when I saw your post and, I must say, I've just had a hysterical fit of laughing, imagining you trying to rescue the wig from the brambles or something. Sounds like you're doing pretty well to be out walking and gardening, and the like!

Take good care and watch out for yourself and the hair..don't let it go flying off in a wind.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I'm just thinking what a godsend it was that you got the rat/new kitchen thing out of the way before you started chemo. We were in the middle of a massive renovation when OG found out and it made things so much more uncomfortable for him. Keep your pecker up dear friend, you are doing great.

Reasons said...

My children were also put outdoors as babes in a good old fashioned pram and I still drag them out for walks as much as possible although I must say it's becoming more difficult now two of them are teens.

Keep stubborn MM, it's a fine attitude to have when dealing with health matters.

jinksy said...

I think it's possible to get 'wig tape' - which I assume must be a variation on double sided stick taape- but I've only read about it on the net... Might be worth investigating? Look out for low flying aircraft next time you're out walking in you wig!! :)

Rose said...

There are two things that strike me here. One, I think it's great that you continue to walk. Second, I'm glad to see you still have your sense of humor--that would have been a funny sight to see your wig stuck in the brambles:) Both of these are going to go a long way in helping you to heal, Maggie.

Your comments about taking your children out in the fresh air despite the neighbor boy's pellet gun reminds me of something my friends and I often say. My kids were raised before the days of car seats and worries about dangerous toys. I often say that it's a wonder they all survived!

And no, your friends "across the pond" don't think you're crazy for walking. We Americans need to walk more--we spend way too much time behind the wheel of a car!

Frau said...

I'm happy you are rock the wig and looking so young!! I think the walking part is a European thing, it is bitter ass cold here and people are walking and biking everywhere! Crazy! Hope you have a wonderful week.

Deb said...

I love your spirit and admire how you are maintaining your sense of humor through it all. I walk often and feel that it energizes me, not only physically but also emotionally. Continue to send you positive thoughts and prayers ~ take care!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post!!!!!!!

Mimi said...

Maggie, you're one of the bravest people I've met. Your "I dread having the next one but would be gutted if I couldn't." is an inspiring thought.
I wondered how many altogether till I got to the end of your post..so nearly half way then. You should be well on the mend for summer (if we get one!!).

lakeviewer said...

Yes, funny how you and the brambles fought for that wig! Maggie, I have seen hair regrow more beautiful than ever! Yes, in all cases. Just think how that will make you feel in a few months.

I too grew up walking everywhere; I miss it if I can't get out.

VioletSky said...

How you look on the outside can certainly affect how you feel on the inside and all that will affect how people react to you, or see you.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Dear Maggie - a lovely post and you do sound in good spirits and stronger.

I also remember the "Silver Cross" days and babies in the fresh air, we wouldn't dare to do it these days.

Your wig getting tangled made me laugh, and partly because you could see and wanted to share the funny side of it. I'm so pleased you are doing so well. A x

Mary G said...

My girls, also, spent their infancy in a pram in the garden (in a buggy in the yard is the Canadian equivalent).
Love the post; you sound so much yourself again. In my grandmother's expression, now just don't flip your wig!

Jeni said...

I do pretty much draw the line at walking in the rain -at least at this time of the year. Around here, rain in January and February tends to be a bit on the "Too cold" side for my old joints to appreciate the much needed exercise in the end. But I have been trying to keep up a good bit with the walking on other days, even in the snow and blowing wind -that doesn't bother my arthritic old joints near as much as does the rain.
And look at you now -almost half-way through the chemo regimen! So true about the fun thing, isn't it? Oh and I too got a big chuckle out of the vision in my mind's eye of you grappling with the twigs and the wig! Too funny.

Suburbia said...

You are so positive Maggie, it will get you far.

Yes I agree, walking is a tonic, I wish I had more time. So glad you have lovely friends to go with.

Isn't it strange how people make decisions on sight, quite interesting for you to experience both almost at once.

Make the most of looking younger while you can!!

Nearly halfway through, yay! Good luck and very best wishes


Working Mum said...

How interesting are your observations on people's attitude toward you when wearing different headgear. You could really use that knowledge, as you say, wear the headscarf when you're feeling weak and wear the wig when you're feeling well.

I had a colleague who wore wigs when going through treatment for cancer and I thought she looked fabulous! She tried different hairstyles out and then when her hair regrew, she knew how she wanted it!

Bernie said...

Great post Miss Maggie, and you are a great sport....oh yes I lost my wig a few times before I just said the heck with it and went outside bald head and all. You are so right, people do treat you differently during this time when they see you are having chemo but you know sometimes this can be a good thing....LOL
Your wonderful spirit is so uplifting, still praying for you both.......:-) Hugs

Mimi said...

Maggie, there's an award for you over at mine if you want to collect it.

She Writes said...

I never find you to be rattling! We don't walk enough here. It is good for the soul.

Hilary said...

We Canadians have learned to dress for the weather and tend to walk too. I wish we were in the same area.. I'd love to walk and chatter with you. You're doing a great job of keeping your sense of humour and optimism. You're one tough chick.. 45 or otherwise. ;)

Teacher's Pet said...

OK, Maggie...you not only made me smile with this post...but I actually laughed out loud! What an amazing woman you are!! Thank you for your blog...for being YOU!
I think that using the scarf on the days you need doors opened or packages carried sounds like a WINNER to me! You are simply an amazing woman. Continued strength to you, my friend. I love you much!

Expat mum said...

You're half way through and your spirit is still in one piece. You are amazing. And long may the wigs reign. Who knows - you may get a Tina Turner complex and never give them up!

Brenda said...

I hardly ever wore my wig towards the end. For one thing it was summer, and for another thing it was itchy and I just did not feel like myself.

My hair grew back soft and curly, with hardly any grey, so maybe you'll get something pretty when your hair grows back!

Marguerite said...

I admire your beautiful spirit and find it so inspiring, and your sense of humor is wonderful! Love the wig story and think that looking 45 would have to be a good thing! My thoughts and prayers are with you, each day. Blessings to you and your family. Love, Marguerite

Anonymous said...

My MIL had a wig when she had cancer.. she loved that wig because she finally had the hair she always wished for!

Here in Sweden kids sleep out in prams at minus 20 C - no problem!

Thumbelina said...

Ah yes, wigs and twigs do not go do they? Mind you, more painful with real hair I think!

Glad you have those "good" days and that you also choose to wear a scarf when you feel you need to. It is important to give people those non verbal clues. They don't know what you're feeling inside and you might not feel like saying it, but a non verbal clue sets the scene and you're looked after then.
I know what you mean about not looking forward to the next one but not wanting to miss it. Strange hotch potch of emotions.

Take care Maggie. hugs. xxx

SandyCarlson said...

I admire your spirit. You strengthen me as you share your journey with us. Thank you.

Renee said...

Maggie oh wigs............

I wore one to my daughter's wedding and it was a rough go only because I didn't feel like me. My friends all wore wigs and I thought they looked fantastic. Funny hey.


Bina said...

When I was young, we were always outside. I mean ALWAYS, and I don't ever remember being sick. When I lived in the country my boys were always outside, climbing trees, exploring, and some parents would be stunned that I let them climb trees!!!

Anyway, you sound like you are doing well, considering. Your attitude is hanging in there and for that I'm happy. And you must take a picture of you in the wig, if even from the back!!!

On a side note, I wish my Clemantis would grow!!!!! I wonder what I've done wrong?

St Jude said...

Like you I walk in all weathers, and I used to walk miles when my children were little pushing one in a huge pram with the other sitting on the seat on top and shopping underneath. Giddy aunt when I think about it now I'm shattered.

I'll be thinking about you on the 2nd. Take care.

cheshire wife said...

It can't be all bad if you look like 45 with your wig on. If you have been gardening in the last few weeks you must be tough. I have been tempted to go out in the garden but it has generally been too cold and wet here or maybe I am just soft. Look after yourself.

gaelikaa said...

I love your cheerful attitude and feel reassured when I read you; you are doing just great, God bless you. Now I'm heading over to the Sunday Roast!

Valerie said...

Hi Maggie, I had to giggle about your wig in the twigs story.
You're doing great, girl, taking one step at a time is the best way to go. I often think about you and marvel at your bravery.
Oh yea, I remember leaving young son out in in his pram, in all weathers. I wonder if it did them any harm or did we get softer as the years rolled by?
God bless.

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

In the city, we walk everywhere.
Outside the city, people drive everywhere.

Oh to wig or not to wig!
Yes Maggie, people react to the exterior side of a person...
I am quite impressed at how you manage to maintain that sense of humour!

Oh, I read "A Modern Fairy Tale"!
"At the moment, there is no ending..." induces one to reflect on one's very own fairy tale...

Wendy said...

You made me laugh too! I can just imagine you walking down the street, leaving your wig behind on a branch and then feeling awfully cold! Running back to rescue it, and finding out that a bird has already got designs for a nest. LOL!

It's good to laugh and you are one tough cookie. I also have that same "stubborn streak" as you and will ignore body aches and pains. I don't think for one minute that's a wrong attitude.

Oh I do remember those days - I used to allow my 5 year old to take a bus to kindergaarten alone. It was a city bus too! I do shudder at that memory. I used to leave my children home alone too sometimes when they had a school holiday and I was at work. The oldest one took care of the little ones. The youngest must have been 4 or thereabouts. I'd never leave a baby alone. But somehow they all survived and learned responsibility too.

Fresh air - absolutely! I think we grannies all did that with our children - even in winter.

Sending you warm hugs for your chemo and I'm glad you can post and make us smile a bit.

Debbie Drews said...

I think you look younger than me when wearing your wig! Maybe we should all wear one & you start a new craze!
I guess with any new adventures there are drawbacks. At least getting the wig tangled up in your own garden was in private & no harm came to the wig or your ego! I hope that never happens to you for your sake.
It has brought back memories when hubby lost his hat after chemo. His hat blew off showing his bald head whilst going around a circuit on a steam train. People were very good & quickly came to retrieve it & hubby took it very light-heartedly beaming with a big smile on his face.
You will become very experienced at ducking from the overhead twigs & branches as you walk past.
Thinking of you at your pre-assessment visit today before chemo tomorrow.
All my love Debs xxxx

Nishant said...

Sounds like you're doing pretty well to be out walking and gardening, and the like!

Work from home India

prashant said...

Take good care and watch out for yourself and the hair..don't let it go flying off in a wind.

Work from home India