After giving birth to my second child I found out that I had a malignant 5 cm tumor in my breast that would likely require a mastectomy. I went through all sorts of emotions while experiencing the hormonal rollercoaster ride, I was already on from giving birth. I found it all unfathomable.
I quickly learned that I had stage 3 invasive mammary carcinoma. That was when I received my prognosis and was told by my oncologist that my disease is curable. Hearing that news was music to my ears. That is when I shed my last tear and told myself from that point on, all I could do was stay positive and fight for my life.
While it was a relief to hear, I knew that there was a long road ahead of me. For 16 weeks I would undergo dose-dense chemotherapy, followed by a bi-lateral mastectomy and then radiation. A day before my second round of chemotherapy my hair started to fall out. I was a lot less devastated than I thought I would be and decided to hold off from cutting it for as long as I could. About 3 days later, I found a strand wrapped around my newborns finger and decided that it was time.
My hair is naturally long and brunette so I decided to have a little fun with it and go short and blonde.
My partner buzzed it for me and the first thing that I said when I looked at myself in the mirror was, "I still feel beautiful.” I think it was more devastating for my partner than myself as I had prepared for the day. Now I wear a wig that is attached to a baseball cap and I can just pop it on and go.
There are many effects of cancer treatment that are uncontrollable so I think it is important to be in control of what you can. I do believe that looking good makes you feel a million times better, since you feel more like yourself. I feel like I can go out in public and people do not look at me as a cancer patient, although I would also feel quite confident going out with a buzzed head.
Now that I don't have to wash and blow dry my long thick hair in the morning, I spend that extra time putting my makeup on. It makes me feel a little livelier, less tired looking and more like myself again, despite what other symptoms I am experiencing.
Feeling comfortable in your own skin and good about yourself is essential, and whether you usually wear makeup or not, the LGFB workshop really helps you feel better.
Even though I did not get the chance to meet the other participants in person, it is nice knowing that you are not alone and that others are also experiencing what I am going through. I have learned plenty of information to help me get through my chemotherapy treatment during the online workshop. I now know how essential cosmetic hygiene is while applying makeup, and how you can avoid infection by using cotton buds, q-tips and disposable mascara wands instead of brushes. Another highlight was how important it is to keep your skin moisturized through chemotherapy.
Through it all I have come to understand how important perspective is to handling cancer. I do not feel like a cancer patient at all. I wake up every morning to my daughter climbing into our bed or my son crying for milk, then do my skincare routine, put my makeup and wig on and start my day.