The usual advice for someone with long hair going for chemo is to get their hair restyled with a nice short hair cut before their hospital admission.
However Leah had done her online research and she had a different plan – she would go to Bristol with her hair still long.
Once her hair started to fall out then she planned to get her plait cut off and donate it to the Little Princess Trust
Before Leah could have her bone marrow transplant, her existing diseased bone marrow needed to be killed off by a toxic cocktail of chemotherapy.
When the nurses are handling these bags of chemo they wear aprons, goggles and arm protectors, because chemotherapy is so poisonous.
In the space of two weeks Leah had 8 doses of Busulfan, 2 of mephalan and 2 of cyclophosphamide.
The side effects were very nasty.
On the 15th day Leah started to lose her hair. However her boyfriend Nic was due to arrive late that night for the first time since Leah’s admission to the Transplant Unit.
Leah wanted him to see her with hair first so that the shock of seeing her so sick would not be too great for him.
The next day I cut off Leah’s plait and shaved her head while Nic filmed us using my iPad.
We chatted and laughed throughout.
I asked Leah if I could keep a lock of her shaved hair but she instructed me to put it all in the bin.
I was upset about this but I didn’t show it or argue with her, as I always tried to respect her wishes.
The next day I went to Bristol Post Office to send Leah’s hair donation to the Little Princess Trust by recorded mail.
The Counter Assistant asked me what was in the envelope – she said that it was their new policy to ask.
I started crying and explained as best I could through my sobs. She was really nice to me.
Leah eventually found out months later, how upset I was that she hadn’t let me keep a lock of her hair.
When we returned from Bristol Leah found one of her hairbrushes that still had her hair in it and put this little bit of hair in a small box.
She gave it to me tied up with ribbon.