Tuesday, 12 August 2014

29. "Has your hair fallen out yet?"

I am intensely grateful to the parents of my older daughter's best friend, who had invited her to stay at their forest farm house in Lithuania. She has been there several times before. On hearing of my predicament, the parents not only offered that she could stay as long as she liked, but that her sister could come too. So now the two of them are running wild in some faraway woods without any wifi signal or phone connection. Bliss, for them, and for me.

Somehow, they managed to ring us this evening. Their excited voices were absolutely lovely to hear, but also a reminder of how hard it would have been for my poor fragmented brain to cope with the joys of family life. I'm afraid I only pretended to follow the tales of Bear's adventures. (I switched off at the point where he had to be a witness at the court case of some errant wild bear from the forest. I may have got that wrong.)

They are absolute delights, my girls, but right now I am grateful to be left with just the men. My quiet son is more likely to ask whether I want anything than to ask for attention.

My daughters' one question to me was: "Has your hair fallen out yet?"

"No, not yet," I assured them. "They said it would happen after two or three weeks, and it's only been one week."

"So I will be there when it falls out?" my younger daughter demanded to know.

"Yes, I hope so," I said. "You don't want to miss that, do you?"

It always seemed to me that hair loss was about the only side effect worth hanging around for as a child. When talking about it from the safe distance of a few months ago, my younger daughter had seemed particularly excited about the prospect of shaving mum's head in preparation.

Now, though, they didn't seem too sure.

"It's going to be scary," my older daughter said with some trepidation.

And in a way, I feel the same. It's easy enough to shrug my shoulders and be brave (even blasé) about such things from afar, but now that I'm up close, my courage is failing me slightly.

At least Chemo Tongue is showing signs of submission.

I have a constant battery of ammunition at the ready, pure lemon juice, plain ginger, plain yoghurt, hot spices. Even the ginger biscuits have been opened. Defeated, Chemo Tongue let me sleep most of last night, thank goodness.

Now I am just left with a feeling of utter exhaustion, a slight but stubborn headache that has lasted all week, and (worrying, this one) a fragmented brain that does not allow me to multi-task.

More of that tomorrow.

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