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It's strange isn't it that once you've had the cancer removed and you're told that chemotherapy's next, all you're concerned about is, "will I lose my hair?" rather than, "thank God I'm going to live!" Well, maybe it's not like that for everyone but, post-operation, that's what it was like for me.
I was assured countless times that I would lose my hair, but I still thought my strength of will, my pure force of personality would make those hair follicles shape up and hold on. They didn't of course, and I lost every hair on my body, yes even the eyebrows then, for good measure my finger and toenails did a disappearing act too. I never saw that one coming.
Through it all though I kept working. Yes, I needed the money, but working made me focus on other things: not cancer, not all the side effects of chemo, not mouth ulcers, not weight gain, not chronic insomnia. I focused on communications strategies, news business programmes, the shopping and ironing, all the mundane things associated with normality. And it helped. Not just me, but my three children who were 8, 10 and 14 at the time. I knew they had been frightened by the diagnosis of my breast cancer, and their world was close to falling apart, so bringing everything back to as near normal as humanly possible was my key objective - day in, day out.
It's not always easy to be positive when you feel attacked on so many fronts, but I found the sheer act of being positive was really infectious; we all became more positive as a result. I called it my virtuous circle. It could so easily been a downward spiralling one, and what would that have achieved?
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