Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Ok, so a month has passed....

Ok, so I was meant to update more often about the fund raising activities with me bald pate through March! Essentially what I would have recorded was the reactions of people on seeing a bald headed female. I was expecting to encounter negativity, but basically there wasn't any! Apart from a couple of friends who are assuming I am loosing my marbles because of my bt - when I had probably lost them years ago! ;-) - everyone I have encountered have been so supporting, curious and wanting to know more with so much wider community support as well, which has left me feeling very humble indeed! The only funny thing is that occasionally, I would be mistaken for a 'bloke' as from the back I do look a bit like a 'Phil Mitchell from'Eastenders' mini-me. I have promised my husband faithfully that I will grow my hair back, as the poor man is stuck with a wife that looks more butch than he does for the moment!

I was expecting about maybe £500 or so in the way of donations, but as of today *drum roll* the amount raised so far is £1131.51!!! Just over half of that was donated online via www.justgiving.com/heather-ann-taylor-nicholson for Brain Tumour UK and the other by cash donation/sponsorship for Meningioma UK. I'm going to wait another week for the other cash donations to come in before sending off the dosh to Meningioma, and will hope this will reach about £1200 or so. If the difference between the two isn't too horrendous, then I will even up the totals between the two so both charities will get more or less an equal amount.

As from April 1st, I have stopped shaving but currently am encountering something called 'velcro head' as the stubble tends to stick on things like pillows etc!

To be honest, having a bald head is quite liberating in the sense, there's been no dandruff, no hair being caught up in various bits and bobs, no shampoo or hairdressing expenses etc to worry about. However, it does mean close shaving your head every other day (not daily as that can make the scalp too sore) and making sure that when you do, your scalp is properly prepared otherwise you end up giving yourself self imposed plastic surgery!

So the guide to the bald head is -

1. Get your hair as cut and clipped as close to the scalp as possible on first go. Depending on whether you want fuzz or a smooth head, be perpared to use a razor to finish off the process.
2. The best way for me to maintain the shave, was to do this while showering, so the head and fuzz can be well mosistened, and the bristles softened. Use a good quality shaving gel too and evenly coat your head with this, leaving for a minute or so to soak in before applying the razor.
3. Also ensure you use a good quality razor, I prefer the 2-3 blade type and buy in packs of 5 or 10. When you do start to shave, do so starting around the edge of the hairline and gradually aiming towards the middle of the head. Small strokes are better. Keep doing this until you feel the scalp is smooth.
4. At the end, run your hand over the scalp again to feel if there are any patches left, as this can feel quite rough, trying to note which direction the hair is growing when shaving. At the risk of getting ire from grooming specialists etc, I shaved against the grain as I found this gave me a closer cut.
5. Some areas that can be problematical are the back of the neck, the hairline behind the ears and over any sensitive spots as well. Be gentle and as said before, don't hurry the process so to avoid nicks etc, or ingrowing hair. Make sure the razor you use is fresh and sharp.
6. Pat dry your head after rinsing, then moisturise afterwards, as the scalp can be quite dry, especially if you have to wear a hat which I did for most days, as it can be bleedin' cold in Penzance in March! Also, on sunny days, make sure at least Factor 60 sunscreen gets slapped on liberally and be perpared to wear a hat if necessary to protect the skin even further.

The only downside to this past week is that I had to go to my GP for my scan results as I had not heard anything at all after a month. The report came back as 'the tumour is moderately bigger than in October 2010'. Now I have no idea what that means in terms of actual size, rate of increase etc, but certainly it is pushing its way up into the temporal lobe, hence the small petit mal seizures I am getting plus impacting the right trigeminal nerve, which is why I am starting to get numb patches on the right side of my face. Sometimes, I cannot feel the right side of my top lip and there is tingling etc. The loss of sensation is becoming more noticable as time goes on and is extending to the gums underneath and now down on to the right side of my chin. I also find I am more tired and activities will knock the stuffing out of me if I overdo it or not plan carefully how much I do.

Ah well, as they say, C'est la vie.

Brain Tumour Awareness runs throughout March of each year in the UK. The internationational colour is gey.


In memory of Veronica Head.

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