Friday, 25 September 2015

Chemo and Rapunzel

Today I went in for my seventh, and penultimate chemo treatment. Yesterday I saw Dr. Lo, the oncologist, and as usual she was particularly concerned about the peripheral neuropathy – if one is not careful this side effect can become permanent, and the only way to reduce that risk is to reduce the dose of the chemo. I have already had two reductions of 10 percent each, and thought she might suggest this, but she said that as I was so near the end of the course, she could reduce it to half the original amount for the final two sessions! I was very surprised (and delighted) at this, and asked whether it might not compromise the effectiveness of the treatment. She replied that some research has been done on patients receiving chemo after the removal of their cancers by surgery, and it has been suggested that those whose dose is reduced, or whose treatment is shortened, do just as well as those who have the full dose for the full six months, so she was confident that I would be OK. I am looking forward to seeing if this affects how I feel over the coming fortnight – I should notice a huge difference!

The Ricky Grant Day Unit phoned this morning while I was still in bed, to ask if I would come in earlier than my 1.15 p.m. appointment. I was half expecting this, because it happened before when they’d made me rather a late appointment. Because the treatment takes four hours, they are anxious to finish before the unit closes for the day. Why they can’t think of this when they make the initial appointment is beyond me! Last time I had to rush around and was still late, but at least this time they asked me to come in at 12 noon, so I still had time to get up and do everything that was necessary, and have a bit of time to myself in the morning before setting off.

All went off OK, except that the place was absolutely heaving with people today! For the first couple of hours there wasn’t a recliner chair available for me, even though I specifically requested it because I find it uncomfortable to sit in a normal chair without having my feet up for any length of time. The chair they offered me was the same as the one I’d had on the ward after my operation and it was very uncomfortable! After a short while I transferred back to my wheelchair which was at least more comfortable and supported me in all the right places, but I really did want to get my feet up. It was rather annoying that the man sitting opposite me was sitting on a recliner but in its upright position, so he would have been just as comfortable on a normal chair, freeing up the recliner for the likes of yours truly!! Eventually, though, this recliner became available when the man left, and I sat next to a delightful couple (husband having treatment) and we had a nice chat.

As usual, I took a bag of things in to do, but ended up not touching most of it, because I had printed out some free downloads of adult colouring pages, and decided to work on one of these. The nurses were very interested and loved what I had done, and enjoyed seeing it progressing. They are all so friendly and lovely.

This is the finished drawing. After using my Sharpies for the Koi Carp drawing I did before, this time I decided to go for a more subtle effect using my coloured pencils, which blend beautifully for shading.

09 Completed Drawing

Here is the original printed drawing.

01 Printed Drawing

My c9lored pencils, which fit very nicely in one of Dad’s old cigar boxes! Beside it are the other bits and pieces I thought I might need – pencil sharpener, paper stump for blending, pencil-shaped eraser, Zig Millennium archival pen, soluble graphite pencil, water brush. In the end I didn’t use the pencil sharpener, the graphite pencil or the water brush,  but everything else came in handy.

02 Coloured Pencils

Now for some detail shots. Here is a detail of the hair. I had fun shading this!

03 Detai - Hair

Detail of the prince. Note the shading on his hat.

04 Detail - Prince

Detail of the trees and towers. I like the roofs on part of the castle, that I decided to colour to look like terracotta tiles.

05 Detail - Trees and Towers

Detail of the top border. The lattice didn’t look like a wooden one to me, with its cross-shaped pieces connecting the bars – it looked more like metal, so I coloured it as such. This suggested to me the fact that Rapunzel was imprisoned in her tower. The top border has a slightly art nouveau flavour to it.

06 Detail - Top Border

Detail of Rapunzel’s face. You can’t see it very well in the photo but she has a delicate blush of pink on her cheeks, and blue eyeshadow. Note the shading under her arm.

07 Detail - Rapunzel

Lastly, a detail shot of the bottom of the picture. I love how the hair spills out beyond the frame of the picture. The whole picture has a lovely fluid feel to it.

08 Detail - Bottom Border

A final glimpse of the finished picture again. You will notice that I added a drop shadow which gives the picture a bit of dimension. I hope you enjoyed it!

09 Completed Drawing

Edit: You might be interested to visit where I downloaded this drawing – they have got literally hundreds of amazing adult colouring pages for free download, arranged in categories. More than enough for a lifetime of happy colouring, I should think! Have fun.


  1. Beautiful shading work. Glad you were able to be comfy at last while chemo going on. Glad dose has been reduced.Next 2 weeks should be more comfortable I hope.

  2. Love your work! Folks must have been fascinated. Let's hope the reduced treatment will work well for you!

  3. Hi Shoshi,
    Thank you so much for your visit and kind words. I love your colouring, such beautiful shading and it's a really lovely picture. There was a discussion on Radio 2 the other day about adult colouring and how it's gained in popularity recently - it's such a useful activity for de-stressing and focusing the mind away from other worries and problems. Having spent hours having iron through an IV every few weeks a few years ago, I know how boring it can be - sometimes the sessions seemed full of interesting people who wanted to chat but there were other times when no-one wanted to interact and the hours used to drag. I never thought of taking art stuff along - colouring would have been perfect!
    I do hope you feel much better on the lower chemo dose, fingers crossed!
    Diana xx

  4. Your coloring is awesome, Shoshi! Glad you got your dosage reduced. Speedy recovery to you!

  5. Hi Shoshi! Thanks for popping over to my blog again! Your colouring technique is superb - I love the variation in the colour tones - it really looks professional! What a great way to while away those hours sitting in a chair. They can't possibly expect you to sit in an uncomfortable chair for that long, without putting your feet up! Of all the places, the cancer unit should be able to afford a sufficient number of recliners - I would have thought the cost was negligable compared to the treatment and makes such a big difference to the well-being of the patients. Glad you've got through it OK and I hope you will be feeling better than before. The fact that you are creating again, even during receiving your treatment is wonderful! Keep it up! xx


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