That’s right, Those Famous Eyelashes Are Back!!!….
23rd June 2016. Leia and I were called into a small room at The Royal Children’s Hospital and given the devastating news that our 6 year old Hayley has a cancerous tumour called a Rhabdomyosarcoma which is 5cm long and 2.5cm wide with branches coming off in different directions, filling her nasal cavity. Straight away we organise getting her 12 and 14 year old siblings into the hospital to let them all know what is going on.
As soon as the word cancer was mentioned, the reaction was instant. Jackson (14 at the time) went straight into a confused face as his brain clicked into gear trying to work out what that meant. Meant, probably isn’t the right word. What’s next, what’s going to happen, what’s the end game and 500 other questions simultaneously erupting in his head. Fairly typical of someone with Aspergers.
Natalie (12 at the time) went straight into tears. I think she tried hard to say something that wasn’t going to get her in trouble for swearing. At the same time, I don’t think that either her mother or I would have been too angry with her on this occasion. She sobbed out something like “Will she be okay?” to which we replied “Yes”. At that point in time it was probably just as much to convince ourselves as much as anyone else. During the next sob Natalie asked, “Is she going to lose her hair?”
This is the bit that down the track we may look back on and have a giggle while picking on Hayley (in a loving, parenting kind of way). The word cancer seemed to have no effect. At the sound of her hair going, her long, usually scruffy, dark chocolate coloured hair, Hayley burst into tears. She made us promise that we would tell the doctors that the hair stayed. Which we did, knowing that it was pointless. I promised her that when her hair went, so would mine.
It didn’t take long before we saw an increase of hairs left on her pillow. Then one night, less than 2 weeks later, while I was checking on Hayley while she slept, I noticed what felt like a large dreadlock stuck on the side of her head. One side of her hair had all rolled up and clumped together leaving a large bare patch on one side. Knowing how she reacted to the thought of her hair going, I didn’t sleep well at all. I sat there for hours wondering how to tell her, worrying about her reaction in the morning.
Eventually the next morning came. She was sitting up playing with that weeks new toy. Something felt funny so she reached up to feel the side of her head. I hadn’t said anything yet. My heart rate soared, ready for the scream. Will she ever calm down? Will she be angry with me for not saying anything? Would she be angry with me for allowing it to happen? Panic, watching… She felt the side of her head, rubbed the spot with very little hair left and said, “Ooooo, fluffy!” and continued to play. WTF!!!!! For a split second I wanted to yell at her because of my loss of sleep but decided to go with grateful that it turned into a non event. The next night was her mum’s turn to stay in the hospital with her and she asked her mum to brush out these big chunks, of which there were a couple now. We knew that this would take away a lot of hair. Before I left that night I reminded her of my promise and that when I came in the next day, my hair would be gone. She said okay. I leaned forward so she could give my hair a kiss goodbye. “Bye bye hair, now daddy kiss my hair bye.” She leaned forward so I could. My tears hit her head before my lips did.
3rd October, day 1 of 28 days of radiation. Hayley started complaining of sore eyes, constantly getting something in her eyes. Then we noticed a few eyelashes missing, then a few more. Her eyebrows were going too. Then there was one eyelash left, one solitary eyelash. After 3 weeks, this one eyelash was still there. You may have heard about it here:-
or here:- http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melbourne-comedian-andrew-browns-heartbreaking-photo-of-daughters-last-remaining-eyelash-amid-cancer-battle/news-story/19bcd91ec6bcbdc798b3d2bd2a3dfd94
or one of several hundred (not exaggerating) other articles who noticed it. It was quite surreal. One week after I posted the photo, the last eyelash was nowhere to be seen.
Monday 9th January 2017; THEY’RE BAAAAAAAACK!!!!!! YAY! Sob, yay, you beauty, sob, sook, sob, hooray!
This is probably going to be the shortest but possibly the most popular blog I have ever written. I couldn’t even wait the full week to post it. Saw these, my wife pinched my camera due to being on a better angle and check this out….. actually…. before I do.
Does everyone remember this photo? The last one.
…. and now…..