Well I guess I am using the term 'beauty' loosely here but "what I go through to make myself somewhat presentable" was too long.
First step: Wash with greasy cream and then slather hydrating lotion all over face. This step is so alien to me because up to now, I've had very oily skin though menopause had dried it out somewhat. If I didn't wash my hair daily, it would hang in oily strings (see senior picture on post before). But thanks to chemo, no oil glands!
2nd: Use concealer to hide dark under-eye circles and to negate red nose.
3rd: Draw eyebrows with pencil approximately where they were before. There are a few stray hairs left to guide me but I am just hoping that I can duplicate my effort with the other eye. I only have had to do this in the past few weeks. The LiveStrong ladies insist I do I do a good job with this and that they look real but maybe they are just being kind. I had thought getting through chemo with my eyebrows and eyelashes intact meant I was spared the indignity of them falling out. Ha!
4th: Use eyebrow pencil under eye to make it appear, at least from a distance that dark coloring is due to eyelashes. Use eye shadow to 'brighten' my eyes per instructions by the "Look Good! Feel Better!" ladies. I've had mixed results with this. My oncologist once looked at my eyes and thought I must have some weird eye side effect thing going on and I had to say it was just make-up.
5th: Use mascara brush to darken and thicken any eyelashes that I can't see. No more lower ones now and two-thirds of the uppers are gone. Maybe the uppers I have will stay. Please let them stay!
6th: Blush so I don't look so pale. I never have been pale before except the day that I gave birth to Shanna and lost several pints of blood. After 24 hours and a transfusion, I managed to put on some make-up to disguise the damage. The OB during his rounds noticed my color and said that I must have recovered. Ha! Still had a hemocrit of 18 after the transfusion. This transfusion occured during the time they didn't know how to test for AIDS and hep C, which made me worry for a while but after almost 30 years and two more healthy kids, I suppose I am safe. Still I was happy I didn't need a transfusion with Josh when the virus was more prevalent in the midwest blood supply.
7th: Lipstick-not much change here. I try to use the long lasting kind but it's hard to put on perfectly, which I more than occasionally notice after the fact, is crooked. Foundation: optional-my skin still doesn't look all that bad. I would put it on before the blush though.
8th: My only time saving step. Rub in smelly regrowth cream and hope that it is indeed doing something. Put on wig and hope it remains straight. Of course I sometimes notice way after the fact that it has become askew. I keep begging Steve for help with this-please tell me that I am not walking around with hair two inches longer on one side than the other.
Under the bizarre 'when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade' department aka stupid things to say to cancer patients is pointing out all the money I must be saving in haircuts, shampoo, hair products, etc. People have told me this on several occasions. Of course that one Neulasta co-pay would cover all my haircuts for five years and I had paid too much for them as it was. Cancer is definitely not a budget enhancing opportunity even with my free Y membership, free hats, free make-up, occasional free lunches at the Wellness Community, etc. And I really shouldn't bitch because even with the inferior insurance I have (compared to last year), it is way better than most. I haven't added up all the charges yet that this whole experience has cost me or the insurance companies but I am sure that I am over the 150K mark. And for those who do not have insurance....
It is almost the time now that I had to rush down to the hospital to wait forever to get fried. I was told that if I were more than 20 minutes late, they would cancel the session. Must be real fun for those who have more than the 4 miles I drove. I once was 25 minutes late to a PT session (to cure my frozen shoulder) and they cancelled it. No more of that! My breast was just starting to get red and painful so I am glad to have no more sessions. I will miss the characters in the rad waiting room. They sang "Happy Birthday" to me yesterday. There is a real spirit of camaderie with our similar stories.
After the LiveStrong class yesterday, Marilyn took me out for a 'birthday' smooothie. We don't wear our wigs to class-I wear my bright pink fuzzy cap and she wears a pale blue do-rag. The smoothie place was on campus. For a brief moment, I wondered what the healthy college students thought seeing two older ladies who obviously have (had) cancer sipping smoothies in the corner but then figured we were invisible. The smoothie preparer did note my 'pink' hair but I just smiled. He did say he like it. We stayed there for an hour comparing notes on the whole cancer experience. It was fun.
Later Steve and I went out for a birthday dinner though I was still full from the smoothie. He had gotten me some nice flowers and picture books on Italy.
I have heard that cancer survivors no longer dread birthdays but welcome them as proof that they are still there. Worrying about graying hair and wrinkles just becomes so petty.
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- The Tale of the non-identical Boobsy Twins
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- All triple negative tumors are not created equal.....
- Watch out! Naomi is on the road!
- Cancer modesty
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