This is a hard hitting photograph. I make no apologies for it. I am aware that its unflattering, shows my double chin, not glamorous, blah blah blah, but it depicts a pivotal moment, I now look like I have cancer, I now have a universally recognised badge, whether I want it or not.
However my real reason for showing this photo is that it is a perfect capture of that exquisite moment of pain which results in total relief. A bit like ripping off an irritating plaster, you know it will hurt, but it will be worth it. If you wondered why Breast Cancer Club members shave their heads, not only is it to stop hair falling out all over the place, it is to prevent the pain. For me the pain can be described as each hair having turned into a bristle, think scrubbing brush, each bristle was buried an inch deep into my scalp and whenever my hair moved or was touched, it hurt. Serious hurt. This is because the hair follicles die. My darling husband was prepared to shave my head. His emotions were more fraught than mine, I was eliminating pain, he was eliminating a part of his wife's femininity, he had already seen my breast be altered to a less rounded shape and now it was down to him to remove the hair that he enjoyed running his fingers though or sweeping to one side so he could kiss my neck. What a strong man he is to be able to get those clippers out and remove the last of his wife's hair. Which he did. You see him doing so in this photo. You can see pain in my face, but it was temporary, as soon as the hair was shaved off, the pain was gone. This very emotive picture was taken by my talented son Stuart Murray. This was not easy for him either. Documenting your mother's journey through cancer is not something you ever think will happen to you. He was concerned about showing the photo to me, but he knew he had caught a captivating moment. I think so too.