Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Painted Lady

Eyeliner and mascara were never major tools in my cosmetic arsenal. Concealer for my undereye circles, bronzer to appear less ghostly in midwinter and lipstick to complement my mood or my outfit were my desert island essentials. No longer. Nearly five weeks out from my last chemo session, I am down to five eyelashes on the bottom of my left eye, and eight on the right. That count will probably go lower half an hour from now when I remove my painstakingly applied eye makeup.

About two-thirds of my upper lashes are still hanging in there, although I am not holding out much hope for those either, as I watch them wash down the drain or rub off onto a towel each night. I’ve also developed eyebrow bald patches, although admittedly I had some to spare. If I thought I was hopeless with eyeliner before, an eyebrow pencil was an even more laughable idea. But thanks to my friend Gretchen the makeup junkie’s generosity, as well as several makeup companies’ official participation in the “Look Good Feel Better” program for cancer survivors and the day of beauty St. Luke’s, I have amassed an impressive collection of pencils and wands in various shades and have started experimenting with creating some approximation of normal. If that doesn’t work, I can always hide behind Wanda’s long bangs. I only need the lashes and brows to make it through the end of this week, my last week of work before next Wednesday’s surgery, after which I will have a few weeks off to recuperate and regrow (to clarify, I'm referring to hair here - they're surgeons, not miracle workers) before I regularly present my public face to the world again.

The irony is that as the hair on my face is disappearing, the hair elsewhere is making a comeback. I had to shave my legs yesterday for the first time since January, and I’m at half an inch and counting all over my head. Texture and color are still TBD, but I’m holding out hope for straight, and resigning myself to mousey. Needles in my scalp have become part of my biweekly acupuncture routine – who knows if I would have had the full-head stubble coverage I am sporting now without it, but I see no reason to take chances. But despite the fact that the lack of lashes bothers me more than the bald head, I think I’ll venture to Sephora rather than Chinatown for help in that department.


Blogger Beauty Chick said...

I'm sorry your brows and lashes have not been able to stick around for the long haul, but I'm sure they'll be back in no time. I'm glad that I helped arm you with the makeup tools to create the necessary illusion! ;)

We'll be thinking of you tomorrow and hope to see you this weekend. I'll drop Michael a line to get scheduled for visiting hours.

Lots of love,
Gretchen, the makuep junkie

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