In the words of Robert Plant, “It’s been a long time, been a long time” since me last blog.
I have so far been fortunate that the chemo has not hit me as hard as it has others. I still have my taste although I have been feeling exhausted at times and have had some mood swings and slight feelings of nausea, but not too much, but that should put me in good stead for the upcoming season at Leyton Orient.
I now officially have ‘chemo head’. What little hair I have left is fluffy and there are bald patches all over me bonce.
As has been mentioned, everyone reacts differently to treatment. Me losing my hair has had a really negative effect on me personally. I guess that it is because it is visual proof that I have (or had, we don’t know yet) cancer. I have always had a fair amount of hair and I still get a shock sometimes when I look at my patchy balding head in the mirror.
I also get a strong ache in my right arm where I have had the chemo. This is due to the amount of ‘stuff’ they put in my veins during the treatment. Thanks to the operation on my Lymph Glands, my left arm is unable to be used for such things, so everything goes in my right arm, ergo, it gets no respite. It is a hell of a lot to put in there, but HEY HO it has to be done and as I say, it proves it is working.
I have tried a couple of wigs….
But I think I will give it a miss.
After each of my three chemo treatments, I have been able to play gigs. The day after the first one, the evening of the second one and two days after the third. Some have said that this is a brave thing to do, but it is not really. I do it because I physically can. I made a promise to myself and the band that I would not miss anymore gigs because this bastard disease has caused enough grief, but if I could not have physically done so, then I would have had to miss them. Positivity does play a part in not just illness, but in all of life, but if the chemo had hit me hard, no amount of positivity could have made me get on a tube to Camden and back with me bass.
Saying that, I did have a reaction the day after the last gig. So bad in fact that I spent most of the next 4 days in bed. I suppose that it had to catch up sometime AND it was nice not doing the dishes for a few days (Good things about Chemo Pt 3).
I have also become rather grumpy and not able to tolerate fools. This may be an age thing though.
The last treatment was the last of my FECs. Next up is the T or Docetaxel (Taxotere®) to give it its stage name.
I had always been very squeamish, even down to having my BP taken, but this year I have HAD to change that. All had been going fine, what with all of the ops and needles and God knows what else. That is until my last chemo. I was sitting down in the comfy chair, when I started feeling faint. I think I may have been thinking too much about what was going on. I mentioned this to Keith the nurse who was administering the drugs who immediately flicked the bottom of the comfy chair so that I was in a laying position. Within a few seconds, I could feel the blood coming back to my balding head. I was impressed by Keith’s quick response. I guess it must happen a lot.
A few hours after my last blog, Camden Calling’s Locked On Radio posted up their last radio show. I was honoured that they chose to interview me about my cancer (walking down the avenue). If you wish to hear it, then you can here http://soundcloud.com/lockedonradio/expectation
I am on at 55 minutes and 50 seconds to be precise with me mucker Jonny. If you have the time, the rest is worth a listen as well.
Time is rapidly approaching for my appearance on the catwalk. I think it will be a moving and unique experience. I have seen myself as a lot of things, but never considered myself as a model.
We have only all met up once at an inauguration a few months ago, but thanks to us having our own Facebook group, are starting to know each other pretty well. We share our ups and downs and support each other and we cannot wait to meet up again at the end of September for our clothes fittings for the big day. This time as friends rather than a group of people that was not sure what to expect.
I have only two worries about The Show. One is that I may well cry at the sheer scale and emotion of it all and also that I might fall off the catwalk. We shall see.
Below is my press release. If anyone could forward the info to anyone that could be interested in publicising it, then that would be great.
Love peace and a spectrum zx to you all
This October, Doug Harper, 50, who lives in Plumstead, London will conquer the catwalk to show you can look glamorous and feel amazing after a breast cancer diagnosis. He will be taking part in Breast Cancer Care’s London Fashion Show on Wednesday 3rd October 2012 at Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
Doug is currently undergoing chemotherapy until mid-October, following a mastectomy in March.
Doug is a father of five and a musician, currently playing in ‘Steve White & The Protest Family’ as well as performing as a solo artist. By trade he was a printer for 31 years before being made redundant.
Doug and 23 other inspiring men and women will model a fabulous range of designer clothing from fashion’s elite including Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, as well as high street outfits. The models will be styled by fashion correspondent, Hilary Alexander, alongside London Fashion Week coordinator, Lesley Goring. Their hair will be transformed by Sassoon Salons and make up applied by Estée Lauder.
Doug decided to take part in the show because:
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, three days before my 50th birthday; until then I didn’t know that men could get it. I am now helping to raise awareness of male breast cancer, not least through my blog ‘One of 300 Men’. The best way to approach this disease is to treat is as a war and cancer is the enemy to be beaten. This is why The Show is so good for us all. It is a wonderful opportunity to display that we are still beautiful people and that we do not take this disease lying down”.
Breast Cancer Care Chief Executive, Samia al Qadhi says,
“The Show is a splendid opportunity for all the models taking part to demonstrate, in front of their friends and families, that you can celebrate life after a breast cancer diagnosis. The models’ courage and hard work is an inspiration and helps to make The Show a really special event.”
The star-studded event is a diary must for fashion fans, a great opportunity to treat someone special or just a good excuse for a wonderful night out! Book a ticket to one of the two shows that take place, one afternoon and one evening, and support Doug! The money raised from this year’s show will mean that Breast Cancer Care can continue to provide anyone diagnosed with breast cancer, and their friends and family, with free expert information and professional support when they need it most.
Ticket prices range from £60 – £180 and details can be found at www.breastcancercare.org.uk/theshow
Book NOW to avoid disappointment! Call 0845 092 0806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Discounted early bird offers are available for those who book in advance.
If you are unable to attend the Show but would still like to show your support for Doug, please visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Doug-Harper
For further information, please contact Doug Harper by email at email@example.com
Photography c/o Sara Epstein Photography.
Notes to Editors
1. Doug’s blog ‘One in 300’ can be found at: www.dougeharper.wordpress.com
2. About Breast Cancer Care
When breast cancer and its treatment overshadow everything, we see the woman underneath. Breast Cancer Care is the only UK-wide charity dedicated to providing emotional and practical support for anyone affected. Our free helpline, information-packed website and online forums offer a friendly ear and expert advice to those dealing with this life-threatening disease. Across the UK we offer a range of confidential, face-to-face services for people living with and beyond breast cancer. We campaign for better support and care and promote the importance of early detection, involving people with breast cancer in all that we do. Visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call our free helpline on 0808 800 6000.