Showing blog posts tagged with: time saving hair

To wig or not to wig

by Hilla Duka - View comments


Did you ever wonder what happened after I said I'd try the wig thing out? Well, here it is - me in the wig. Coincidentally, this is the only time I wore it. It sits on its stand in my bedroom, decorating a styrofoam head rather than mine. In some way, I'm happy I have it, but I just don't feel comfortable wearing it. I feel too much like a lie, a fake. 


I thought the wig would let me escape the reality of having cancer for a bit - but it turns out it runs much deeper than that. For now, I'll stay bald. Hopefully I will have time to let the hair grow out a little - even a super short pixie cut sounds good at this point. As long as it's my own hair. 


Edit: I realised looking at this that someone reading it might think this is how I look nowadays, more or less. It's really not. Since I have this compulsory need to not keep my blog as some kind of look-at-me-with-my-successful-life channel, but rather the not-so-popular radical honesty channel, this is what I look like most of the time:

Hilla Duka after ten rounds of chemotherapy

Milo snapped this shot of me so quickly I didn't even have time to put on my I-hate-being-photographed face. Ten rounds of chemo has left me swollen beyond belief, puffy around the eyes and with an arm that looks more like the hammer of Thor than anything human. Has about the same mobility too... No, it's not a pretty picture, but "pretty" is very much secondary to "alive"

Wigging it

by Hilla Duka - View comments


I came into this chemo experience with very strong opinions about wearing a wig. Well, there’s a surprise for you, when did I not have strong opinions? Anyway, I felt quite strongly that I shouldn’t have to change to make others more at ease, I felt that wearing a wig was an uncomfortable way of trying to hide your illness, faking it, and I wanted no part in it. I would be bald and comfortable. In some ways I still feel that way, but I’ve also learnt to see the other side of it. Perhaps because comfortable just isn’t on the map anymore.


I will sometimes wear a scarf and sometimes go bald, depending on how I feel. If my scalp is really sore and itchy I’ll wear a scarf both to hide it and protect it, while if I have a bit of a stub at the moment and don’t have a headache I’ll go bald. People who’ve previously seen me bald and then see me in a scarf often question it, like “Oh, but I thought you were ok being bald now, why are you wearing a scarf today?” Because it’s not only about how comfortable I am about having no hair.


But wearing a scarf means combining it with clothes, choosing one you want for the day, and then choosing a way of tying that you like and that feels comfortable for the day. All of these choices that you never have to make if you have hair. And then the scarf sits uncomfortably and the headache you were trying to avoid by putting it on comes on in full force from the knot of the scarf… There’s just no way to come out on top here.


And to be honest - the longer I do this cancer journey, the more I long to be well. I just cannot put into words how I yearn to be well. I would give anything to just not have cancer. And these days, I can understand why one would put on a wig, just to get a chance to escape from being seen as a cancer patient all the time, pretend for a little that life is as it was. As it should be.


So, six months into chemo hell, I made an appointment to try out a wig. Today was the big day, and off I went, half dreading the experience half excited and hopeful. And even though it felt weird, the wigs were actually a lot more comfortable than my scarves, which I had never thought. It was strange to see myself with hair again, but comforting, in a way. We didn’t find the exact same shade that my hair used to be, but this one’s fairly close. I didn’t get one today, but I probably will. If you see me suddenly having hair again, feel free to laugh. I do too - I laugh at the absurdity of worrying about what’s on your head when you’re fighting for your life. I laugh at the duality of it all - my life and my thoughts have become some sort of hellenistic saga of opposing concepts, that oftentimes seem to negate each other…

Oh and that arm you see in the picture? That's one of the many side effects I'm having to chemo - It's swollen beyond belief as you can probably tell, aching, and my fingers seem impossible to maneuver with any kind of accuracy... Oh chemo, how I love and hate you!

Adventures far away

by Hilla Duka - View comments


We’ve had a truly wonderful week of sun, swimming, food and drinks, and are now back home again. Before I go into all the loveliness of the week, I want to direct a huge, absolutely massive Thank you! to all the people who contributed to make this week a reality! I really can’t thank you enough - but I hope that you can feel my gratefulness even though my words are inadequate. With all the madness of being on sick leave, insurance companies making trouble and refusing to pay, there really is no way I could have afforded to do this trip if it wasn’t for you. It’s a memory the kids will always have of a week away from this horror that has become their lives (and if they forget, I’ve taken about a gozillion photos to help them remember!). 


Jonathan jumping in to the pool


The kids swam in the pool non stop. Jacob (almost) learned how to swim - which is a huge step as he’s been quite scared of water before. And since he’s so skinny, we can’t really go to the swimming pool close by - he gets cold after five minutes (and by cold, I mean his lips are blue and he’s shaking non stop). Here, he could practise jumping into the water and getting his head completely under water, eventually brave enough to remove his arm pads and practise floating (not so easy when there isn’t an ounce of fat on you apparently), and eventually trying to swim. He can manage a few metres, and most importantly, he’s no longer terrified to start his obligatory swimming lessons next year. Jonathan, who’s always loved being in water had  an amazing time, jumping in and trying to do tricks in the water as often as possible. Milo’s still wearing his arm pads, but can move around and has finally stopped referring to getting his head dipped as “drowning”.


Milo by the pool side


When I needed a rest, Ilir took the boys to the sea, where they got to swim in the Atlantic, get splashed by waves and look for sea shells and pretty stones.


Jonathan and Jacob by the sea


Milo by the sea

Milo got to meet Bamse, though he was somewhat hesitant he finally gathered up his courage and went to say hi. He was fascinated, even though he explained several times that he knew there were people in the costumes, at the same time they were the characters from Bamse as well.


Jonathan was most impressed with the idea that someone would wash and change the towels and sheets for us, he thought that was a luxury quite beyond belief. And I realised that of course, they haven’t stayed at a hotel before: whenever we’ve traveled we’ve rented a flat, or stayed with relatives: this was all new to them. And even though they enjoyed the idea of always having food prepared, they all agreed that they preferred Ilirs cooking, saying how spoiled they felt for having someone cook such good food for them. So for tonight they’ve ordered him to make carrot patties for dinner!


I decided I might as well go scarf-less, since wether I wore scarf or not seemed to have little impact on the amount of stares, pointing and whispers I got, so I figured I might as well be as comfortable as I could!

me and milo by the pool

The flight, though a good five and a half hours, was a breeze, at least as far as the kids were concerned. And considering how the other kids on the plane behaved I was so proud of my calm, well behaved little ones. I was less happy with other kids on the plane, but I suppose there must be at least one baby screaming his lungs out on all planes… I’m just happy that kid doesn’t belong to me! Usually, I’m not the one with the best behaved children, they run a bit wild, are highly opinionated, and tend to get into arguments with each other constantly. But they do have good flight manners! No loud voices, no kicking the next chair, no wrestling for armspace or reclining your chair, and definitely no, absolutely no crying. Actually, I’d say they’re better than most fellow passengers on any flight!

And as we were heading home, the kids told me how happy they were with their holiday, how much fun they had had, and how pleased they were to be back home, and my heart filled with gratitude that I had been allowed to experience this with them. Again, thank you! Now we're safely home again, and tomorrow it's back to reality as I head in for treatment number six.


Tying a scarf

by Hilla Duka - View comments


My hair is coming off rather quickly now, two weeks into my first chemo, and it's a fine line between just thin haired and time-to-go-bald. I'd rather not shave it all off too early, but I'd also prefer not to be the last one to notice that it's not working any more. My guess is that if it continues like this, I'll shave the last bits off within a few days.


So today, as I sent the kids off with Ilir and Joel to go strawberry picking, I dedicated some time to watching YouTube clips on how to tie a chemo scarf. And trying and trying to get it right. I've had an easy enough time with the first dose of chemo, and I don't really mind losing my hair, but getting the knack of this scarves business is difficult to say the least. I'm quite adamant about not wearing a wig though, so I better get good at this. 


This first turn of chemo (I get a combination called FEC, which has been used for hormonal breast cancer for something like 20 years) has been pretty ok - I honestly expected to feel worse than I have. I've been nautious, but not vomiting, more like being pregnant those first few months. I've had some pains in my joints, I've been really tired (though that could still be the shock), but other than that I feel quite alright, though I'm assured it will get worse with each treatment... Still, I'm trying to stay positive about the fact that I've not had any of the really horribe side effects. 


One week left until my next treatment!

So lately...

by Hilla Duka - View comments


I am aware I haven't exactly been very good at updating lately, which I will mainly attribute to being insanely busy. September included Baruco and the trip to Barcelona, which I believe I already told you about, and People Days in Berlin, which I have not yet told you about.

Basically, I am insanely fortunate to work at a company that evaluates itself mainly on how much people love working there. Let's just take that again, shall we? You read it right. My company measures it's success on how much we love working there. Based on that, I'll say it's a raging success. But I'm getting side tracked. Berlin. My lovely company just flew 120 people over for 36 hours, to spend our annual People days in Berlin. To celebrate we just opened in Germany. Great talks, workshops, drinks, live music with a band that took the roof of the place, the works. I may be skint having spent my salary on babysitters, but I had a great time!

My sweet friend Fia is getting special treatment and enjoying it like no tomorrow. Also, you know, hipsters taking pictures of food...

Lovely Li is all dolled up for the party in Berlin. She looks so amazing in this picture I think! 

Well, yes, there were drinks, and then I'd had too many to remember to take more pictures. That happens. :)


October is so far trying really hard not to be less interesting, so it's offered our annual Mynewsday, for which I was tweeting and it may or may not have been a coicidence (it is completely a coincidence) but while I was in charge of our twitter account, @mynewsdesk_se, the hashtag of the day #mnday was trending on twitter. Kind of cool no? Oh, and also no big deal, but that led to an article by our lovely internal journalist, which you could read here (especially if you like reading me ramble).  

Fredrik Rahnasto doing a stellar job at presenting at Mynewsday. Who knew he was so funny??

There were goodiebags. Soooo many goodiebags. I feel bad for the people packing them, but hopefully the people receiving them were happy enough to make up for it!


October is also offering up a trip to see my lovely UK team next week, which will be great! I haven't been over since August, and even though I got to see them all during People days, it's not the same as being there in person. On Tuesday we have an exciting product strategy day, and next morning at 4am I'm off! And yes, there is a slight chance I miss the flight. What can I say, I like living on the edge...


Oh yes, and getting back to the picture of me that I started with. I'm guessing you wonder why that's there? Well, following a discussion from last nights drinks, I figured a semi-public annoncement is in place: I've officially given up on my daily struggle with the straightener and am wearing my hair as it irrevertibly returns to as soon as I touch humdity - curly. If you see me and think I look odd - no, I did not decide to go for an eighty's perm, I've just given myself an extra twenty minutes every morning. End of anouncement. Sorry for the really long post, but it was either that, or like five of them. Honestly, what would you have prefered? I know, I know, I will get better at updating more often again.


P.S. I know the comments thing is broken. I know I need to figure it out. But you hardly ever comment, and I am short on time. So if you think about it, it's really your fault. Somehow. I'm not really sure how, but I'll work it out and get back to you, ok? Or I'll just fix the comments function and then you all comment like mad. Deal? Deal!