Now that I'm a chemo old hat and feeling a tiny bit less nervous about going there every three weeks (not that it stopped me chewing at P again this time, mind, though I did it last night rather than this morning on the grounds that he hadn't been snogging me enough lately and it was making me feel like a cancer patient, not a wife), I've been putting a bit more thought into my chemo-day outfits, and choosing to glam it up a bit more each time I go. (Though I suspect that's got little to do with keeping up with the regulars in the fashion stakes, and more to do with making myself feel better for having gained weight each time I'm there. 9lbs and counting. Bastard steroids. And ginger biscuits.) I went with the old-faithful pinafore-dress-and-boots option today (when you step out the flat as little as me, wearing jeans to the hospital will simply not do), but decided to crank things up a bit by completely overdoing it with the eye make-up. (The Claudia Winkleman look – have you been watching It Takes Two?) It's basically my way of overcompensating for my sudden lack of eyelashes (plus I thought I'd give the chemo newbies something else to think about when they saw me: less, 'God, she's young,' and more, 'Blimey, has she been beaten up?').
Cancer changes many things in your life, and this week it's changed my make-up bag (my day-to-day one, not the huge bag of tricks I was gifted by Look Good, Feel Better). My foundation has been ditched (chemo has been mercifully good to my skin since the acne episode) in favour of an eyebrow pencil (they're close behind my lashes in the falling-out stakes), and my mascara has been replaced by two different eyeliners and a bunch of eyeshadows. I reckon I've previously been missing the eye-make-up gene (just like I'm missing the pets gene, the Ugg boots gene and the Red Hot Chili Peppers gene); I've always been more of a mascara-and-nowt-else girl, but these days my eyes are hamming it up so much I could teach drag queens a thing or two.
I'm clearly doing this for the same reason that I wanted to wear a wig rather than a headscarf (and that I want my husband to keep up the snog-count): much as I feel like a cancer patient, I don't want to look like one, too. And so, however lengthy a process it is to take the necessary beautifying steps to make me look like a normal person when I'm being visited by my mates or out in public at the hospital or wherever, I'm damn well going to take them and at least attempt to fool the world that there's nothing wrong with me (until I start fiddling with my wig, that is). Don't get me wrong, the rest of the time – sans wig, sans make-up – there's simply no escaping the fact that I'm a cancer patient – something only my immediate family (or the woman who did my pre-wedding spray tan last week) are ever party to, the poor sods. Because, God knows, it's not a pretty sight. Speaking of which, with Halloween coming up, if anyone's looking for someone to go trick-or-treating with, I've got my costume ready made: just dress me in black and call me Uncle Fester. Or I could always bring out the glittery eye make-up, stick on a trilby and go as Boy George. I wonder which is scarier?