Eyebrows. Who would have thought that losing them would be so emotional. Losing all your hair? No big deal, I can rock that look. Eyelashes? Meh, I didn’t really have full ones anyways. But eyebrows….. sigh, whole other story….
I haven’t been a regular makeup wearer for years. It’s probably been a decade since I had a morning makeup routine, and even then it consisted of quick eyeliner and mascara application. More often than not I’d go to use a tube of mascara and realize it had expired after using it once. Now that my eyebrows are almost gone I find myself reviewing youtube makeup tutorials, reminding myself how to “properly” shape an eyebrow, wading through the massive amounts of makeup THINGS on Sephoras’ website, and cursing myself for not having had microblading done prior to chemo starting.
I struggle with the ego part of this whole eyebrows thing – I mean seriously, it’s such a small thing in the grand scheme of the world’s issues or even just in my own cancer chapter and for god sakes, my skin still looks good and the eyebrows and eyelashes are going to grow back….but still, I find myself averting my eyes from the mirror when am washing my face, being resentful about feeling the need to put on makeup before leaving the house, and worrying about how I’ll cope when toque-season ends (does it ever really end?). “Be bold honey” is what Andy says to me when I’m feeling sheepish and he sees me pulling my toque down a little further before I go out. I’m trying….
These last two cycles have been a tough go with the fatigue, muscle aches, emotional swings and chemo fog. It’s taking a lot more emotional energy to keep a positive mental attitude as I forge ahead in the storm. The hardest part is the self consciousness and resulting frustration that accompanies knowing that during my lows my brain is working slowly. I am so fortunate to have people around me who are being patient and empathetic (have I mentioned that Andy is a saint?)
After sleeping for ten hours I was laying in bed on day 7 wondering how I was going to occupy myself all day when this idea popped into my head…. my very good friend and fellow dog handler Frank’s four year old daughter was sad a few weeks ago that she wanted to be a superhero and it just hadn’t happened yet (don’t we all Elowyn, don’t we all). So I dug through my sewing trunk to find the leftovers from a Wonder Woman cape I made Natasha probably ten years ago (I’ve worn it more than she has, it looks especially good with my patrol uniform) and made one for Elowyn. Projects like this, particularly ones where I’m thinking about the person I’m making it for are so great for lifting my spirits by focusing my thoughts away from cancer-Janet, and ticking off another day in the journey.
Friends have been so good at doing little things to keep my spirits up. Jamai dropped off these hilarious slippers saying she thought of my unicorn post of a few weeks back when she saw them. Jessica will be proud that the random unicorns that she’s left at my house over the years will have new friends. Rory has been very excited that there’s new stuffies in the house and I keep having to hide them to prevent him from using them as his suckie toy.
I may have teared up when Gillian dropped off a ready-to-eat meal of Vietnamese noodles (damn that emotional roller coaster thing) in response to me mentioning that I was craving fresh veg. Split pea and ham soup from James and freshly baked sourdough bread from Eli made a stressful evening so much easier. Jen randomly sends hilarious dog-related Tik Tok videos. My SAR dog handler pals send me photos of their training sessions and keep me in the loop while on tasks. Frank, Carly , James and Jessica check in via text often, sometimes daily when they know am in a period of low energy. Andy, Natasha, my mom and sis…. words can’t explain how valuable they are on a daily basis.
Second-to-last chemo today! The end of this phase is in sight!