“Don’t worry I won’t make you bark like a dog.”
Now those are the kind of reassuring words you want to hear when you’re about to be hypnotised.
I get my next evil chemo cocktail tomorrow. After round one I now know just how bad it’s going to be. To help me cope with the chronic pain I’m trying hypnotherapy. Prescription drugs and daytime TV are not really doing the trick.
I went to hospital for the hypnotherapy. It felt like we were in the basement next to the boiler room. I lay on an examination table covered by rough blue paper to protect me from the previous person’s germs.
The woman who was about to put me under wore academic looking glasses and a conservative suit. She explained that this was nothing like stage hypnotism and that she was medically trained.
Part of me was disappointed that it wasn’t Kenny Craig, the character from Little Britain with too much guy-liner, telling me to look into his eyes.
I was lulled into a trance and told to think of a special location, real or imagined. The first place that came to mind was my old flat in Kiev which looked out onto a row of Soviet-era tower blocks.
Nope, I need somewhere much more exotic so I thought of my perfect desert island.
Apparently the hypnotherapy will help to stop the chemo pain by getting my brain to tell my body to chillax. Or something like that. Whatever happened on that tropical island, it felt lovely. I’ll have a couple more sessions but so far it seems like the pain has eased.
What’s even better is that this is free. It’s what I like to call a cancer bonus. It’s rubbish going through all this but you do get some nice stuff to make it just a little bit easier.
Last week I took part in a pampering session. A charity called Look Good Feel Better holds workshops to help women deal with the changes in appearance caused by the cancer treatment.
I was feeling tired and emotional when I arrived. Insomnia caused by the chemo means that I cry very easily these days.
A group of us sat around a long table. We each had a mirror so I was able to watch the tears rolling down my face. Beauticians gave us all a big bag of expensive make-up and advice on how to do things like draw on eye brows that have fallen out.
By the end of the session, my mood had lifted and I looked like I was ready to party. It was a shame that I was so exhausted and had to go straight home.
With my make- up taken care of, I need to concentrate on my hair.
Since I last updated my blog it has properly started to fall out. If I run my fingers through it, whole handfuls of hair come out. I found it very upsetting yesterday but then I’d only had two hours sleep that night. Today I’m not so worried. I realise that it’s just part of the process of getting well again.
I think it will take a few days for it all to drop out. It’s a good job that I should get to choose my NHS wig tomorrow. It’s another cancer bonus I’d rather not be getting but I’m quite excited to see what I’ll be wearing for the next few months.
Because of this I’m not dreading chemo number two quite so much. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some pictures so you can see my new look for summer!