Back in 2014 when I was first diagnosed, this was our conversation with the boys describing Chemo. Keep in mind they were 8 and 9 at the time. This is where it all began and what takes us to today! Even then the humour was an important part! The samples I used of my hair falling out made me giggle! Feels like a lifetime ago this conversation happened. Enjoy!
“What’s Chemo –
(me)chemo is a drug that they will put into my body so that it can help kill the bigger pieces of cancer that may not be in the area where they did the surgery. Sometimes little cancer cells try and hide somewhere else and after the radiation is done in one area, they might start to grow again in a different area. I don’t want to have to do the surgery twice, so the chemo will make sure that it is all gone.
(boy)will this one make you sick?
(me)probably it will make me sick. It will also do other things to me. One of the main things that can be a side effect of chemo is going bald.
(boys)(eye brows go up…)Bald?
(me) (smiling) yes, bald! No hair! Not a bit! (smiling bigger)
(boys) (I can tell their not sure about this… after a pause, they burst into laughter) Your going to be bald? really bald? (they are trying to control the laughter)
(me) Every last hair… although I’m probably going to help get it off before it starts to fall off so I don’t wake up with hair stuck in my mouth in the morning or have Leia jump on me and run off with long hair stuck to her. (boys were now getting into the conversation)
(me) the best part is the decorating part. Maybe on Friday nights, we can start movie nights with colour mommy’s head with a maker night! You guys can each help decorate a part of mommy’s head.
(needless to say, the boys are all over this plan!)”
In the end, I didn’t need chemo for that go around with cancer and was put on Tamoxifen for 5 years. My youngest had been so dissapointed in not doing the head painting, we ended up using a fun spray of pink colour in my hair over the 5 year window.
Flashing forward, just 3 weeks before my tamoxifen ended, they accidentally found the new breast cancer while looking into some gallbladder issues I was having. This time it was HER2 triple positive. A much more aggressive cancer.
Now, flash forward to May 9th, the night we told the boys. They knew I was awaiting word on the possibility of cancer, and what type.
“ Tonight at dinner, we told the boys. I told them to “get the old washable markers ready, because I’m expecting great art!”
R said, “does that mean the cancer is back?
D – “that sucks”
R – shoulders drop…
me – “we’ve been thru this once. Just will be a bit tougher.”
Conversation keep to a clean standard. Answered some questions and then told them if they had any extra questions or concerns, to ask.
I told them I was going to have both breast taken off, not just one so I could be flat as board. Bra’s are so not fun! got a laugh out of both!
R said, “I wouldn’t know” and we laughed! There were a few other jokes and the kids decided they understood things and were good. Moving forward now.”
And this is how Healing Head Art got it’s start!