Sunday, 22 August 2010

Chemo cycle 2: Day 26 & 27

We'd booked a night at a hotel for me (well, all of us really) to relax and recuperate.  It was mostly lovely apart from an incident with some dodgy towels, and the fact the pool was closed to children from 10am - 5pm.  However, today I had a horrible experience at their spa.

I'd booked a facial in person yesterday.  I think it's pretty obvious to most people that I am undergoing something seeing as I have no hair and bandages poking out from under my top.  But they booked it fine, no problems, no queries.  I got there this morning and had to fill in the standard medical form.   After the lady took it from me, I could hear her and the bloke who had booked me in whispering loudly at reception.  It was clear it was about me.  There were other customers present.  After a few minutes, she came to me to ask what sort of cancer it was.  I told her it was breast cancer but I have been advised facials aren't a problem.  She left again, only for me to hear more whispering at reception, and still there were other customers present.

I went over and asked if there was a problem.  They said there was, that they weren't sure I could have a facial.  Again, I explained that I have had facials since I was diagnosed and have been undergoing chemo but I've been told it's just the massage side of things from the neck down and ankles up that need to be avoided.  Then they told me that about half of their facial is actually a neck and shoulder massage.  Eh?  What kind of facial is that? I know there is some element of massage in a facial, but it's usually been a small proportion of the treatment and therefore, therapists have just worked around it for me - one gave me a foot massage instead.  They kept on arguing with me, making me feel small and in the wrong.

By this point I was super stressed and angry.  They were being really obnoxious and dense and just shrugging at me and arguing with me, offering me no alternatives to one of their facials.  Had one of them come over to me and privately said, we don't think you should have this facial as there is a substantial element of massage which we don't think is appropriate, would you like e.g. a pedicure or manicure instead, I would have said, fair enough, yes please.  I just wanted something to help me relax!  But it was the loud whispering in front of other people, the way they were trying to argue with me about a facial, like I was the one in the wrong.  No-one was wrong, and I understand why they were concerned, but I was made to feel small and stupid.  So I just told them to cancel the appointment and stormed off back to the room.

DH was cross on my behalf and we decided to inform the manager when we checked out.  I had moved from angry to really, really upset.  The manager couldn't have been nicer and agreed with DH that, instead of treating me as a problem, the staff should have found a solution.  So to his credit, he is going to talk to the spa manager so hopefully no-one will be made to feel as awful as I was made to feel.  And I think I get a complimentary spa day as an apology, although I am not sure I do actually want to go back there.  But we'll see.  And on Tuesday I am going to ask my oncologist again exactly what I can and can't have so if it happens again, I will be super informed.

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