Medical treatment can have all sorts of effects on the body.
Over the years Mum was ill, I saw a host of changes to her appearance and the way she acted.
Each and every individual change was very hard at first, but as a family we would grow with it, support her, keep our chins up and carry on.
The first thing, the one I was most scared of, was her hair loss. Up to this point talking about her illness was avoidable, the majority of people didn't know the severity of it. It wasn't long before Mum lost her hair, she loved her hair, it was a heartbreaking moment for us all. Not only people that knew her personally but everyday people in the street could now take an estimated guess that she was a cancer patient. The world now truly knew what was wrong. This was a very difficult period but it didn't knock her confidence one bit.
Mum didn't change her hairstyle very much, I can remember that she used to have it cut maybe shorter or dyed darker but she didn't change it drastically over the years we shared. As a child I remember Donna Russell coming round to cut both Mum's and Granny's hair (same style just Granny's slightly greyer!!)
I clearly remember when she decided to get a wig fitted. This was her decision and she used to wear it to events and parties where she wanted to look as presentable as possible. Despite being absolutely identical to her hairstyle, she hated the wig with passion, it was very itchy but more so because it was fake and Mum was not a fake person. Almost like wearing it was lying to herself, like she was hiding under it, she was too "heart on sleeve" for that. By her second diagnosis the wig was not used anymore and she used to wear her short, curly, browny/grey hair with pride and a smile on her face. I used to love giving it a rub when I got back from school because it was so wooly!
The slow demise of the human body is painful to watch. I remember in the final few weeks a rapid deterioration once the cancer had taken over her body. She gained weight and had to stay in the same position for extended periods, usually in the conservatory we had built, as it was her favourite place in the house. It then became painful for her to move altogether, we had a stairlift fitted for her but she would scream in agony even attempting to get to the stairs. It was horrible. Shortly after, her vital organs began to fail her and us. After struggling on with slow progress over a couple of years, the rate in which her body finally shut down was too fast for us to properly cope with, I will go into more detail another time.
In light of recent events I have questioned myself as to "what is the best way to die?" A long drawn out illness, a short illness or an instant death? It is a question I cannot answer, all result in the same thing, a loss. Personally I absolutely cherished the extra 3 years I got to spend with my Mum whilst she battled on, as I know she did as well. She didn't have to go through what she did, but she did, for us. It could have been a lot shorter if the cancer had beaten her earlier on, but she was a fighter.
Some of the greatest fighters never won their final bout.
For the first time I will add some photo's of my Mum. I want everyone to see her hair and how she didn't let it effect her. As i find better photos I will add them, I only had a quick look.