I love the comparison of these two “mug” shots. The first is from when I was in the middle of Fluorouracil Hell and the second is from yesterday, my second day post Fluorouracil. Although I am not smiling in either I see a look of desperation and pain in my eyes and expression in the first image. In the second image my eyes seem clearer and expression softer. That’s part of the beauty of black and white photography as you are not overwhelmed by color and can more easily get to the emotion of the photograph.
Monday night, day 35, was my last night of Fluorouracil treatment. I was so happy to put the tube of poison away in the cabinet and out of my sight. It was a long and very difficult five weeks. As much as I would love to say everything is done and I am back to normal now, that is not the case. Days 36 through 38 have been a combination of festering blisters, itching, burning and peeling. Last night was another sleepless night due to a lot of discomfort on my forehead. Today there is a bit less inflammation however it still hurts a lot to wash my forehead especially around my temples where the most intense rows of crusty blisters reside. So if you have Fluorouracil treatment in your future don’t expect everything to go back to “normal” too quickly because as in my experience it won’t.
**My face this morning, three days post Fluorouracil on my forehead and
eighteen days post Fluorouracil from my nose down**
For the past few days I have been playing with metal clay. If you are not familiar with metal clay, it is just like traditional wet clay that can be kneaded, formed, molded, and shaped into whatever you want it to be. It was invented by the Japanese and contains tiny bits of metal, water and a binder. Once fired, the water and binder burns away and the bits of metal form into one solid piece.
The process of working with metal clay is the perfect analogy for the Fluorouracil Hell that I have just experienced. So it is fitting that I have intuitively turned to this medium during the healing phase. The clay has to go through the process of firing at a very high temperature for a specific amount of time in order to lose the impurities of the binder. Once fired, the piece is quenched in cool water and is then soaked in a pickling solution to remove any scale from the firing. After pickling it is burnished to create a beautiful shine.
If firing was incomplete, you can end up with hairline fractures that will cause the piece to break under pressure. If firing was complete, you end up with a strong piece of metal that shimmers and shines with a unique beauty.
At this point in my journey with Fluorouracil I feel as if I have come through the fire and am now in the pickling phase where the last remaining bits of scale are being removed from my face. Soon I will be like that piece of shimmery metal. Only time will tell whether my firing was complete or if there are any hidden fracture lines waiting to reveal themselves at a later date.