I looked fragile, was bald and emaciated, it was like looking at a stranger. Of course I still felt like the same person on the inside but I certainly didn’t recognise the person I was looking at!
In hospital it was fairly easy to avoid mirrors and as I was an inpatient for weeks at a time I wasn’t at home much. Because of this I hadn’t taken much notice of my appearance and I had been really poorly a lot of the time.
I distinctly remember the first time I really looked at my changed appearance, it was when I was at home during one of my ‘breaks’ between chemotherapy treatment. There are mirrored doors on my wardrobe which is right next to my bed so difficult to avoid. One morning when I woke up I sat on the edge of the bed, looked at myself and the words “Yeah…you’ve definitely got cancer” came out of my mouth. It was probably the first time I had really admitted it and even though I was going through the brutal treatment a little bit of me was still in denial. Leukaemia still didn’t feel like it belonged to me, I guess it’s the mind’s way of protecting you from having a complete breakdown. It was quite a while before I could say the word ‘Cancer’ somehow the word ‘Leukaemia’ seemed less scary…strange the things that go through your head.