Sunday, 14 August 2011

Feel Better...Look Normal

I thought I was doing OK on the looks front. It has been my own personal challenge to beat the chemo appearance issue into submission. Which I was pretty confident I had done, based on many compliments, a vigorous interest in getting dressed, and a fearless attitude when it came to looking down the barrel of a point and shoot.

Why then am I getting a lot of this nowadays? 'Oh, now you look good', 'You look SO much better!' and other variations on the same comparative theme. It started the day of my surgery results. It is true that the week between amputation (dramatic, I know) and consultation was stupendously scary. I thought I would feel instant relief, like a weight had been lifted on top of the measly few grams my little boob had once added to my grand total. Ain't so. Instead I took a pew and watched the frankly mental turn my own brain took, after too many months of suppressed negativity. Even though I knew breast cancer is the most treatable, they'd taken mine out, and there wasn't a morbid secret kind that somehow never goes away, I was still convinced that the doctor was going to give me bad news results. As in, yes, we took it out, but your cancer was of the secret kind that never goes away. Sorry.

This level of mental is clearly apparent in the eyes, because as soon as I got my good news results, my breast care nurse Helen told me I looked different now, especially in the eyes. We went out for our celebratory lunch and my dad used a large proportion of the chat to tell me I was looking great! Because the rest of the entire time I had looked sad and grey - it was all in the eyes apparently.

After 8 months of blogging, I'm feeling like something of a beauty expert fraud. There was me thinking it was the missing hair letting my reflection down, but no, apparently it was the eyeballs.

I must say, I can see it in Dadjokes. He always looks good (unbiased, ask my friends), but there was one morning when he sat next to me on the bed, distinctly more Brad Pitt, 2011 model  (i.e. still good, but not fulfilling his true potential), than the original DadJokes who signed our tenancy agreement. To see a bit too much beard growth, more than his eye-baggage allowance and a past-it's-best haircut would have been ok, but his not caring about it was the clue that suggested he could do with a little feeling better himself. It wasn't screamingly obvious, and lecture over, haircut done, I thought he was looking his old self. But it's only getting back to normality that he really is, and yes, it is something about the eyes. And the eye bags, lets not kid ourselves people. It is easier to sleep when cancer has been evicted.

So since we're getting a bit more sparkly-eyed every day (with some wobbles still, the mental hasn't quite left the building),  it is with great pleasure that I finally welcome the full glorious return of my eyelashes. Like beautiful fringe curtains complimenting newly Windolened windows, their timing is perfect. I won't lie, I was worried. Everything else was making a come back as welcomely received as Take That, but like Robbie Williams, the eyelashes resolutely refused. They're the most important part I might add - this analogy is more apt with every sentence - and when they eventually did rejoin, all the material I had to work with was suddenly vastly improved.

Its amazing what the lightest smattering of eyelashes does after a very long absence. In the old days I would rather eat prawns than pop to the shops mascara-less, but my comeback lashes make such a huge comparative difference to my whole face, I feel like I've done my makeup already. Eyes are prettier with eyelashes, I am confident that is a fact. And now that they're leading the rest of my face in a two fingered salute to the last of the chemo effects, I'm helping them even more with Rapidlash. I've loved it before, but I think using the stuff on virgin lashes makes it even more effective. Mine will be eyebrow skimming in no time. Well, maybe in some time, once they find their correct path in life and stop growing outwards, downwards, backwards, or any other waywards than up.

The moral of the eye story is (I think) this: No amount of eye drops, Creme De La Mer concealer or cleverly applied eyeliner can convince your dad/nurse/boyfriend that you're sparkly-fine, but that is not our main objective dear reader. No, it is to make yourself feel better, and betterness comes in degrees. I didn't realise it was quite so apparent until it was all over, but like my friend Claire said a few days after the good news results, 'I didn't realise how stressed I was until I wasn't stressed anymore'.  In retrospect, who knew eyeliner worked so much better with a positive outlook?


  1. You're making such amazing progress and being so sanguine about the challenges you encounter each day. Keep going. And keep blogging x

  2. yay! I'm glad you got your lashes back :)

    how long would you say it took for them to noticeably grow back in? You've had the best attitude through out treatment it makes me hope for the same. I'm setting my hopes high thanks to you! <3