But back to the wig fitting (before I forget it ever happened). Actually I'm quite entertained by the fact that I keep calling it a wig 'fitting'. That makes it sound like buying a wedding dress, when the two experiences couldn't be more different. In one, your Mum cries while you spend an hour trying on a dress you'll wear for 12 hours. In the other, you cry with laughter while you spend 15 minutes trying on a wig that you might have to wear for 12 months. The only similarity is showing off in front of a mirror although, again, in one experience your reflection looks as good as it ever will, and in the other you're staring back at Rod Stewart.
On the NHS, you're entitled to an acrylic wig, paying a prescription fee of about £60 (human hair wigs bought privately can cost anything upwards of £1,000). It was never really my intention to go down the acrylic route, but I figured I'd take what I'm entitled to and see how I get on with it. (Plus there's a tiny, foolishly optimistic part of me that thinks my hair might just hang on in there, and that I'll never need a wig. Probably the same part of my brain that thought they'd got it wrong about the breast cancer. I know, I'm an idiot.) If needs be, I'm perfectly prepared to throw some money at the problem (the Louboutins can wait) and buy myself a real hair wig from a specialist shop, but for now I'd rather not have to think about it. Frankly I've got enough on my mind with Pube-gate.
The NHS being the NHS, there was zero sense of style in the process. Instead, P & I were ushered into a hospital back room the size of a stationery cupboard, by a man with surprisingly small feet who reminded me of that funny little gay bloke from the park bench scene in the Extras Christmas special (no, not George Michael). The stationery cupboard had very high shelves displaying mannequin heads with truly awful hairdos that the Wig Man had to stand on a chair to reach (Wig Man is, by the way, completely bald – I wonder if he tries on the wigs when nobody is looking?). The lower shelves were home to an ancient-looking radio buried among lots of boxes containing wigs that had been ordered for other patients. I had a sneaky look and noticed that most of them were grey – another reminder of the lottery-winning odds of getting The Bullshit at my age.
Wig Man handed me a catalogue and told me to point out the styles that appealed to me most. I was tempted to show him a curly black wig reminiscent of The Scousers, but I feared this wasn't a man to be joking with. (Which, of course, made it even more impossible for P & I to stifle our laughter when Getting Jiggy With It came on the radio.) I pointed out a couple of bobs and one or two longer styles to give him an idea of what I was after, and he pulled down a handful of wigs from the top shelf, sat me in front of the mirror and combed back my hair so it wouldn't show beneath the wigs I was trying on.
Oddly, Wig Man referred to each wig as though it were an actual person ('She's too square for you, try this – her style is much more suited to your face shape'), but then I guess a little craziness is permitted when you spend your life in a hospital cupboard listening to Crap FM with only mannequin heads for company. Anyway, after quickly realising that the longer wigs made me look a bit like that tosser from The Darkness, I settled on a bob with a parting and fringe a bit like my usual hair, only fuller. And, to be fair, I was pleasantly surprised at how natural it felt for an acrylic wig. Once you've chosen your design, you fiddle about with swatches until you've found the colour that most resembles your own, then go back in again once your order has arrived. If you like it (sorry, I mean 'her') you hand over your £60, then take your wig to a hairdresser who'll hopefully be able to cut it into a style that's a bit more contemporary. (I'm hoping Mathew will do mine, so I can avoid going to some dreadful wig-cutting-for-the-over-50s place called 'Hair To Stay' or 'Curl Up & Dye'.)
Later that afternoon I went to the other (nicer) hospital to see two of my favourite people: Smiley Surgeon and Always-Right Cancer Nurse. Smiley Surgeon greeted me with beaming excitement. 'I see your CT scan was clear!' he exclaimed, and it felt wonderful to see someone as ecstatic about the outcome as I am. (By the way, I fear this spectacular news may have been lost amongst all the chemo crap, so I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you what a BLOODY BRILLIANT RESULT it is that there was no trace of cancer growth elsewhere in my body. Have a drink to that the next time you open a bottle, eh?) The happy moment didn't last long, mind – Smiley Surgeon hadn't yet seen my new haircut and asked whether it was a wig. (Right. Cheers for that.) He was quick to rectify the insult, though, and repeatedly told me how well I looked for someone who's having chemotherapy (£20 says it's a different story when I see him in a couple of months for the implant-inflation).
Anyway, I had my back wound drained again by Always-Right Cancer Nurse (who had to keep telling me to stay still – I'm always unusually chatty when I'm around those two), and I had Smiley Surgeon check out my right boob, as it's been feeling a bit tender recently. I suspect it's just attention-seeking, but better to be sure. He said it felt perfectly normal, and that the tenderness could well be another chemo side-effect. He is, of course, right – my skin feels pretty delicate all over; I guess I'm just paranoid about the boob area (and rightly so, considering my predicament). After checking out my right'un, SS had another look at his nifty needlework on the left side. 'Has anyone at the other hospital commented on how good it looks?' he enquired, and his chest puffed out a bit when I confirmed that not just the other doctors but, in fact, everyone who's seen it has said how neat it is. (I'm not shy about showing it off – a few weeks back, Tills and I got kicked out of a changing room when I was attempting to show her his handiwork.) On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have given him such an enthusiastic answer – when all of this is over, there's every chance I'll become another of the case-study photos on his website. Flashing my tits on the internet – now there's something I never thought I'd do.