5. Reality hits

Day… no idea. It’s four weeks and a day since I was diagnosed, but after three weeks of tests, scans, and emotion telling people what’s happening, the past week has been the polar opposite.

Right now, I’m a few thousand feet up over the Atlantic in an A380, heading home from LA after an awesome trip. I’d booked this trip months ago, and when they told me I had cancer, my second question (after “can I keep working?”) was “can I still go to Austin?” At the time, I thought I must go because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for three years so I can’t miss out again! Then as it drew closer, I thought I must go because if I don’t I’ll start treatment in disappointment, vs starting on a high! But now, on my way home from LA, I have all sorts of feelings… I’ve totally switched off from work, daily life etc, and I’ve chilled out, had fun, and enjoyed a great 10 days of feeling totally at ease and happy. But now I’m heading back, it’s all starting to hit home.

When I look in the mirror, all I see is my hair. When I’m on the beach, I just feel my hair blowing in my face, I don’t want to put it up, or brush it, or even wipe it away from my eyes, it can do what it likes, I just don’t want to lose it.

But I know that’s not a choice for me now. It’s going to go, and whilst I could opt to save it,  I’d risk not killing what could kill me. So I’m putting my life before my hair!

That sounds crazy, I know! But until you’re in the position where you’ve no choice, it’s incomprehensible. My best mate shaved her head when she was traveling after Uni. But that was her choice. I’d give anything to keep my hair, except my life. And that’s the crux of it. Sounds crazy but it’s simply true.

So here I am, on a plane, somewhere over the Atlantic, flying home to have my hair cut short, before it falls out, and makes me look like an Alien. Yes, joking aside, I’ll look like an Alien – no hair on my head, eyebrows, nostrils, arms… ok I’ll save money on waxing! But in all honesty, looking good, or even just normal, gives you confidence. And looking bad, or just different, takes that away.

So while I know I’m gonna feel like crap, I’ll fight that and get through it. But knowing I’ll look different, that’s the bit that’s getting to me the most.

I looked different as a kid; I had weird eyes, ginger hair, a spikey barnet and gappy teeth. But as I grew up, I grew my hair and made a virtue of it, and the other stuff didn’t matter. That virtue is now going to go. And I hate that. I’m gonna be the weird kid again. Sure, everyone says I’m strong and am gonna nail this… maybe, but I’m still gonna feel the weird kid again, and that sucks.

So tomorrow I’m gonna put a brace face on it. I’m gonna let them cut my hair. I’m gonna smile and say I like it, even though in two weeks it’ll be gone anyway. But inside, really, this is killing me almost as hard as the cancer is.

Suck it up and style it out Boxy…


10 hours later, and I’m BACK – apologies for the momentary lapse of positivity! Having just watched Heston Blumenthal conquering space food, my temporary hair loss seems trivial!

So we’re 10 minutes to landing; first stop arrivals lounge for a shower, next stop London Town, Covent Garden, and a date with my girls and a bottle of bubbles as we celebrate daring to embrace a BIG change!

Let’s do this!


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