The thing about baldness is that you have a blank palette from which to begin to create new looks. I’ve never been much bothered with new looks – I wore straight brown hair parted down the middle forever – but now that I’ve been led here by chemo-induced baldness I’m quite enjoying it. I went to a friend’s place for dinner last night in a cloche hat and curly red hair and a big green vintage coat. I watched as a very close friend’s eyes skated over me without recognition. I was invisible; someone new; someone else. A fly on the wall; an occupier of liminal space. But then she did recognise me and everything jolted back to normal. We resumed our long-running discussions about art, illness and crochet.
Then I hobbled home in the dark. My left knee has been giving me hell. I think the chemo is eating away at my cartilage, or I have fluid retention, or something. And so I return to Dr Google, typing in search terms like “sore knee chemo” to see what others have to say on the subject. What they say is that chemo often causes sore knees. Besides the knee, I’m in a bit of a dip all round. Everything is an effort, today. I’m in slow motion. Next Wednesday, I’ll be having another CT scan to see what the three rounds of chemo have done to my tumours. I’m alternating between confidence and apprehension.
Last Tuesday, after a wild weekend with my relatives (enjoyable wildness involving two small boys, possum hunting and a dramatically crashing and splintering glass object in a shop that had to be paid for), I took my Waste to Art entry up to the Flannery Centre for the exhibition that opens tomorrow. As a work of art it’s lumpy and unresolved (aka ugly) but as a project it has been enormously satisfying. And through it, I’ve discovered pen and ink! The kind you have to keep dipping into an ink well. Oh fun! Oh beautiful scratchings! Here it is: