By Sara Cutting
On a sunny day in July 2014 I was told I had cancer.
Triple negative breast cancer to be precise, which needless to say floored me. Once over the initial tirade of emotions that come with such a diagnosis, I was given my treatment plan, which was going to happen like this.
- Surgery – breast conserving and full lymph clearance = ouch
- Chemotherapy – 6 rounds over 18 week = terrifying
- Radiotherapy – daily for 4 weeks = sounds like a breeze, but in reality no
Surgery done, chemo looming, I was wandering aimlessly around Brighton’s North Laine feeling utterly low at the prospect of losing my hair (which at that point was long, blonde – bottle version – and curly), as if in some sort of Prozac like haze, I found myself in my hairdressers. Sitting in the barber’s chair, I instructed a shocked hairdresser to shave off half of my hair, “give me a buzz cut”. Reluctantly he did.
Elated to have taken control, and loving my “do “– nothing like a woman in her mid 40’s rockin’ a buzzcut – I no longer felt scared (well less scared) about the looming hair loss. In my surprising new attitude, I thought, let some good come from this frankly shitty situation. That “good” came in a moment of inspiration of donning a different piece of headgear every day for a year, taking a selfie, and posting it on social media.
“FizzySnood – Now Go Check Your Bits” was born. The year has been and gone and I’ve decided to take it to infinity and beyond and continue to do my daily pics.
The idea being:
- To raise a little cash for Macmillan, who are just brilliant on all levels. Currently raised £18,000 and counting
- To encourage my audience to check their bits #NowGoCheckYourBits
- To give me a reason to get up every day, put some make up on (far too vain to post of make-up free selfie) and find something creative to put on my head
To begin with it was all quite normal, a headscarf here, a lampshade there but as time and my treatment went on I let me creativity flow. Bread head on Day 15 is still a firm favourite, Radiohead on Day 138 is a classic. Philip Treacy lending me one of his masterpieces for Day 136 was a when I knew I was on to something.
It really did and continues to get me through the low days. The shitty days through chemo where I felt and looked so vile, I made Courtney Love on a bad day look beautiful. On the days post treatment when I can’t work in my building and renovation company again because of the nerve damage in my arm, I have a reason to keep going. The response from the ever increasing number of followers who inspire and delight me with their love, encouragement and unadulterated support…..they all keep me going. They keep me shaving my head in solidarity of all those who have lost their hair through medical reasons, to stick two fingers up and say bald can be beautiful, bald can be strong, bald has its place in the world and not just from pity.
So as I continue day to day, looking at the world in a very different way…….how could I get that teapot to stay on my head long enough for me to take a selfie…….or being approached by some of the most talented and creative milliners from all over the land wanting to donate or lend their wares. My hope is that someone, somewhere is checking their bits, having a fondle every day. Making a note of what their bits feel like, so in the event of a lump rearing its ugly head, they’ll know that said lump is not their norm and go to their GP. Because if that lump does turn out to be cancer, the earlier it’s found the more chance of kicking the living day lights we’ll have.
So in closing, I ask you, please #NowGoCheckYourBits
“Brighton, bald and proud”
Was a dancing builder pre-cancer now a dancing marathon hopeful post cancer.
Just Giving: www.justgiving.com/chemosnoodhead