OH BROWS AND LASHES WHERE ART THOU

I danced with the red devil and tango’ed with taxol and by some miracle managed to keep my eyelashes and eyebrows. I have been quite proud about this fact and often make sure I mention it when people ask me about hair falling out. It really funny how people ask actually “Um Cands did ALL your hair fall out EVERYWHERE” ha ha um well YES expect for my eyebrows and eyelashes of course.

But I wasn’t going to be the lucky one that got to keep her brows and lashes. As I started radiation I started feeling dangling lashes/brows and low and behold bit by bit these little buggars came out but the silver lining here is as they were falling out so they were growing back. So I now have 2 half brows and 3 or 4 long lashes left on each eye with little stumpy lashes pushing their way through. I went out to a party and tried to apply my mascara and there were little stubby eyelashes and I laughed myself silly as I was trying so desperately to make them long without poking the mascara brush into my eye but they were having non of it.

So all this hair loss including brows and lashes is quite challenging on a self confidence or self esteem level. It really pushes people to start really and truly loving themselves. No golden locks to straighten, or style, no eyebrows to tint, no lashes to make thicker or darker or longer just a bare face with straggly hair sticking out from your very white and bare skull and eyes that have no frame. To truly turn inwards and love yourself for who you are and not what you look like. Often during treatment and especially chemo you are so pale almost see through with dark rings under your eyes with no hair or brows and lashes and to look at yourself in the mirror is one of the hardest things to do. To see yourself like that it really does teach you to dig deep into that self esteem. And to drop judgement of your self and others.

I read something on another blog about eyebrows and I have to share this as it was so funny:  http://cancercans.com/2015/05/18/an-ode-to-eyebrows/

AN ODE TO EYEBROWS 

Oh, eyebrows!

You divinely clustered tresses,

Come back!

Forgive my past transgressions

With pointed tweezers and molten wax;

For every time I uprooted you so harshly.

Please,

Look beyond all my churlish cursing!

You were never too sparse, never too unruly.

You were beautiful!

Oh, eyebrows!

You sleek, sweeping curves,

Come back!

Forget about the times I queried your essentiality!

It is clear to see,

Of facial hairs, you reign supreme!

No beard, moustache or eyelash can compete

With your power to frame, to flatter

An otherwise pallid face.

I feel so bare,

I look so oddly undressed,

So alien.

Oh, eyebrows!

You graceful arches of expression,

Come back!

Without your delicate form,

I cannot truly convey

My feelings to the world!

You are the adjunct to my speech:

A slow lift for bewilderment,

A deep furrow for rage,

A soft angle for scepticism,

Subtle expressions of my unsaid thoughts.

Oh, eyebrows!

You delicate contours of thought,

Come back!

I would give anything to have you

Festoon the bony ridge

Atop my eyes once more.

You’ve left me alone,

Exposed to gawps and stares.

There is no way to belie my illness,

Or feign my way to health

Now that you have jumped ship!

Oh, eyebrows!

My bushy beauties!

Please,

Come back!

Here are a few wacky looking shots of celebs without eyebrows to make you giggle:

celebrities-without-eyebrows-5 celebs-without-eyebrows-22 eyebrow less rowan eyebrowless eyebrowless anne eyebrowless miley eyebrowless ryan

Good for our souls to have a good old laugh and I found this so funny.

So the count down is on for radiation. I am halfway through and quite excited and scared about the end. I have requested that I have a final CT scan after all my treatment that when I have officially finished I know that as it stands that I am clear. I do really hope I am not that person that lives from follow up appointment to follow up appointment. I really do hope I can start living my “new normal” life and enjoying it all.

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GLIMMER OF NEW LIFE

Emotionally I have been strong for a little while. Which has been great not feeling like I have cried for every small little thing, feeling weak and helpless. It was great to feel somewhat normal but then my daughter Keira (9)  sang a song for me. She is part of the school play “The Little Mermaid” (one of my childhood favourites). She has an angelic voice which floated right over to my fragile heart and gave it a big old emotional grip.

In that very moment of listening to her sing the fear crept sneakily down my spine, cold moving slowly down my legs. The tears just started flowing and all those damn what if’s I managed to keep at bay for a while now started playing over and over in my head.

What if I didn’t get myself seen to when I did, what if I left it another year where would I be now, would I even see them finish school, would I get to see their plays, their sporting achievements, their start of high school, their decision on what subjects to take, boyfriends, heart-break, entering into womanhood, matric dance, matric finals, marriage, grandchildren. And even though I have caught this early will I get to see these things……….. around and around these thoughts went.

I know that all sounds crazy and yes I know I shouldn’t think like that but these are really fears and I wonder if once I am done and dusted with this part of life if I will still have these moments. These what if moments. Will they haunt me, hanging over my head, my own little personal thunder-cloud. What is my life going to be after breast cancer?

I know I am going to sound bias now as every mother does but my children are the most beautiful little souls inside and out, don’t you think 😉

IMG-20150725-WA0012Keira      IMG-20150725-WA0009 Maria

Radiation morning arrived and I was quite excited in some sort of strange way to get it all started. Most likely because it was the last haul. I was waiting outside the room when the door opened and another lady walked out looking very overwhelmed. The radiation people were saying “you see it wasn’t that bad, once we started again you were calmer”. A little anxiety crept in because I had been through this with my mom I kind knew what to expect. It was her first day too and so for the next 6 weeks I would have a radiation buddy, yay for me 🙂

I was lead into the room and told to take everything from my waist up off. At this point I am no stranger to bearing my tatas for all to see and so I striped down and walked over to the very hard looking bed. They have these extra’s that they add onto the bed to ensure you are in the correct position and my position for the next couple of weeks were hands above my head in a kind of stirrup, head turned to the right.

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Nigel entered the room (yes a man) and stood over my bare chest ensuring those alien green lasers lined up with my new tattoos. He moved my torso slightly and continued to call out some numbers pertaining to my position. Again I’m no stranger to having my bare chest showing but did feel a little awkward. I suppose he does this all day long and like a gynae doesn’t even notice (or so we hope ha ha)

I was fine up until that point but then everyone left the room and my heart started pounding and my breathing became quick and short and I started to feel all panicky. The machine started to whiiirrrrr and click and then a loud buzzing sound. I felt heat on my skin, then the machine started to move to the other side of my body and the same whiring and clicking happening and then more buzzing. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie. And then it was all over, just like that, quick, quick.

Was that it, man oh man this was going to be easy peasy. No sitting in the chair for 4 hours, no nausea, no hair loss just a little suntan I can do this.

And so I suppose for the next 6 weeks life it going to be a little groundhog day. I can’t wash the area that is being radiated for the 6 weeks plus about a week to 10 days afterwards. Well this was going to be interesting. It is such an instinct to jump in the shower or put on roll on and body spray. All of that will have to be abandoned for the next 2 months of my life. Thank goodness it isn’t summer time and I could possibly get away without washing my 1 armpit without being detected from down the road ha ha.

I have made new friends at radiation and as it usually goes everyone keeps to themselves, generally looking at something on their phones or talking to the person that came with them. And as the time goes on you start asking basic questions or making a comment here or there and then suddenly you know each others intricate details of your lives, sharing stories about your treatment or having general chit-chat about the weekend or the weather or children or work. It’s like an instant connection just add cancer.

I continue to get inspired by my group of Soul Sisters all of them having breast cancer and all of them young. We help each other through our low moments and laugh with each other when something crazy happens with our treatment.  These ladies are truly phenomenal and I am so grateful to have them in my life.

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And so each and every one of us effect by this disease towards the end of our treatment definitely try to find our “new normal”. Picking up the pieces after the turmoil we have endured over the last couple of months or even boarding a year. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes we too shall rise in our newness to face the world with a different outlook, with new passion for life.