As the famous proverb by Barnard in 1927 goes; ‘a picture is worth ten thousand words’ and in today’s blog I am sharing the true face of chemotherapy.
I have been ‘lucky’ so far while undertaking my chemotherapy. Although I am losing my hair, unless you know me very well, most people don’t realise (apart from the length) how different it is. But the consequence of not having this characteristic side effect, whether positive or negative, is that people don’t see you as sick. Yes, I still have my hair; Yes, I have a line in my arm, but it is covered and just looks like a mobile phone running band; I don’t have a lump or a scar from surgery because Bob is in my blood; but I am sick.
The impact of this for me, is that sometimes the empathy that you would hope to receive from people, particularly at your lowest times feels as if it isn’t as forth coming as you would hope. Sometimes it feels like people compare your experience to the common cold. But who can blame them?
In today’s culture, we share and often portray through social media platforms the positive sides of life, and the positive pictures that go along with it. I am equally as guilty of this. People don’t see the version of me awake at 2am, unable to sleep due to the nausea, hot flushes and chest palpitations. People don’t see the true effects of the treatment given to help you. Therefore, unless you or a loved one has been through it, how can I expect people to understand what it is like.
So as Barnard so wisely guided us back nearly 100 years ago, I am going to share with you all what the face of chemotherapy truly looks like for me. Put my head out there in the hope of helping others who experience similar.
Both of the following photos were taken on the day of my chemotherapy; one just before at 12.30pm and second one when I returned home at 17.00pm. While I have chemotherapy, the biggest area that notice the effect is around my eyes which quickly become darkened and swollen. It is literally like the life is being sucked out of your eyes as the poison takes hold. Luckily the effects aren’t long lasting and my face returns to more normal appearance within a few days. But here is it is…..the True Face of Chemo!!