No sooner had I said “We are amazed that she’s kept the majority of her hair” Eleanor’s hair started to fall out. The day I had been dreading since she was diagnosed 9 months ago.
At the end of the first ten weeks of treatment her hair began thinning and I thought it was the start of the downward spiral but this was something else. She lost the majority of her hair in just over 2 days and it was everywhere! If you so much as brushed a bit off her face you’d end up with a handful, in the mornings it was all over her bed and pillow, I needed to hoover her car seat after each car journey and we were even finding it in our food!
I’m making light of it but in actual fact I’m devastated. It’s just another filling in this sh*t sandwich, the gift that keeps on giving! Her poor body is fighting so hard but the treatment really is taking its toll, it takes time for her body to recover after each treatment and by the time it has her three week break is over and it’s time for her to be blasted again.
A few days after it first started to come out Tim and I sat and talked with Eleanor about using Daddy’s clippers to ‘tidy it up’ it was starting to look terribly thin and you could see her scalp! She would sit and pull bits out, the confusion on her face when she tugged and it came out in her hands was really upsetting to watch.
When we felt the time was right we had another chat with Eleanor and with her consent we got the clippers out to take the remaining wisps off. She had one last long piece of hair hanging from the back of her head so I made a little plait and cut it off before we all sat together in her room
However tough I had imagined that moment to be, it didn’t even come close to how it actually felt. It was agonising. She kept reaching out for us, tears running down her face. We asked if it was hurting or uncomfortable and she replied with a heartbreaking “No, I’m just sad”
“It’s only hair… it will grow back… she’s still beautiful… it means the chemo is doing its job…”
I’ve heard it all.
Yes, It is only hair and yes, it will grow back but right now, every single time I look at my daughter I am reminded of her illness. I can never forget, not even for a second.
Now she looks like a ‘cancer kid’ and if I thought her symbol cane was a neon sign, boy was I wrong! The sight of a bald little girl is like a shining beacon of interest for almost every single person we come across. Most smile and carry on but some actually stare, opened mouthed! We even spent an entire meal out with three kids on the table next to us staring at her. They even turned in their chairs and ate their food looking in our direction the whole time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know kids are inquisitive and you can’t get cross when it happens but when the adults are doing the same it’s hard not to feel uncomfortable.
So here she is. My precious, brave, courageous little fighter. Still smiling.