For the first few days following chemotherapy I was fine and it was somewhat uneventful. I had my hair cut short on Monday the 4th of October 2010. None of my friends ever saw me with this short hair and I've desperately been trying to find a photo of it but can't seem to get hold of one!
The next day I awoke to find my face was covered in spots. I don't mean slightly, I mean covered all over. I was immediately taken to Hull Royal who said that it was nothing after I had waited three hours for a doctor to come and see me. I remember walking through the centre of Hull, with everyone staring at me. Strangers would stop just to stare at me. My face was so unbearably sore from all the spots that the wind made my face sting. I hated how I looked and was embarrassed to go out and I hadn't even lost my hair yet.
I barely slept at night for the next few days as it hurt so much to lay on my face and the spots had spread to my back and chest too. I refused to leave the house for three days and the only people to see how awful I looked were my parents and Sarah.
Friday the 8th of October would prove to be a very interesting day. I woke up feeling horrendous, and after collapsing in the shower, I went straight back to sleep. A while later I got up again and attempted to eat something but my throat was so unbearable sore and I couldn't manage to eat anything. I could barely speak and both felt and looked horrendous. My Mum rang the ward and they told her to check my temperature. It was above 37 celsius so they told me to go to Hull Royal and have my bloods done. If I had an infection then I would have to go to Ward 78 in Leeds for IV antibiotics. The results came back and they told me I would have to go to Leeds for my antibiotics to be given. This was to be my first time in hospital with an infection.
I arrived at Ward 78 at about 10 that night and was started on antibiotics straight away. They were given through my portacath so I had to have a drip stand with me all the time, even in the shower, just like chemo!
The next morning I washed my hair three times while in the shower, knowing full well that it wouldn't be there much longer. My face still stung so badly but it was starting to get better because it was in fact related to the infection I had caught! It was later on that afternoon when it started to happen. I was stood outside the main entrance to the hospital, on the phone to Sarah, that I ran my hand through my hair only to look at my hand and find I was still holding a big clump of it. My immediate reaction was not to be upset, for some unusual reason I found it quite funny! The psychological damage done to people seeing a teenager laughing his head off as he pulled out his own hair must've been huge!
I went back to the ward and told them that it had started to fall out, and they said that one of the nurses would come and shave it off for me. It was upsetting having my hair shaved off. A small part of me had been hoping that by some miracle it would never happen but I suppose it was inevitable. I looked in the mirror for the first time and barely recognised myself. It hit both of my parents hard too, making both my Mum and Dad cry. I also sent Sarah a picture from my phone and although she tried to be strong for my sake, I know it upset her a lot too.
I hated how I looked and couldn't stand to look in the mirror. I didn't want any of this to happen and I didn't like how upsetting it was for my family, girlfriend or friends. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I now looked just as bad as I felt.