Friday 17 October 2008

Bad lashes.

Now I'm not normally one to boast but, looking around, I've definitely got the best wig in chemo. One of the regulars (I do enjoy equating chemo patients with pub-goers) even told me as much today. Actually, I suppose it doesn't really count as boasting when you're bragging about a wig you're being forced to wear against your own will. I've got the best eye make-up in chemo too, but more of that later. First, another boast, but this time justified: this, ladies and gentlemen (more ladies, I suspect), is my second to last chemo. Five down, one to go. My penultimate visit to this miserable, makes-you-ill, dreadfully decorated (but superbly staffed) hospital floor with awful tea and out-of-date magazines. (On the dreadfully decorated front, a big part of my jobs over the last few years has been scouting out contenders for interior makeovers and, I have to say, I've never seen a more worthy project. Extreme Makeover, are you listening?) Still, I guess all that really matters is that, even though the drugs they give you make you really poorly, the point is that they're doing you the world of good (fingers crossed) and the terrific nurses who administer them deserve medals, payrises, OBEs and more time off. But in the absence of being able to help them on that front, I figured I'd treat them all to cupcakes on my last visit there next month. And cupcakes are almost up there with OBEs to my mind (not that I'd knock one back if it were offered, Liz).

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?


Anonymous said...

I know! Ugg boots and the chilli peppers. Dreadful.

And BTW, they are doing research into how snogging cures cancer and it's looking good.

Thinking of you. You're on the home run, but I know that doesn't mean this weekend is going to be any better. Sending all my love and positive vibes and stuff. As usual. xx

Anonymous said...

bring on the last dose! I say boy george all the way..lots of glitter and sparkle..ull be picking up the 5 year old boys in no time ;)

Anonymous said...

You go, girl!It's a close call, but I'd say Boy George is scarier.

I look forward to reading your posts so much, here's big a virtual hug to say thank you.

Caroline x

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you are on the home straight in chemo land. By the way - who on earth decided that Fridays would be a good day? Its a helluva way to start the weekend!

Julia Powell said...

have been following your blog for awhile now and wanted to offer a few words of support but it looks like everyone has already said everything there is to say. But I do wish you all the best in sending the bullshit to hell where it bloody well belongs!


Anonymous said...

love the blog, been reading it since i read the glamour mag (and i started at the start so not to miss anything)
just wondering how you got the fab layout for the blog, as everything i try won't work

Unknown said...

According to my younger sister, there is something about me that reminds her of Boy George. A scary thought indeed!

Maybe that will be my Halloween costume!

Anonymous said...

boy george definitely x

Anonymous said...

I'm 20 and had my first cycle of chemo last week (got ovarian cancer..great!). Just wanted to say how much your blog has cheered me up :D I went for a wig fitting today and have been feeling seriously sorry for myself because I'm actually quite attached to my hair and the acrylic things were not the most flattering on me! But since stumbling on your blog, I've been in hysterics! sooo I just wanted to thank you for cheering me up! All the best with the rest of the treatment x

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the RHCP thing, don't know why they're raved about so much.

I started reading you blog after Glamour and have found it extremely entertaining and uplifting - don't think those words have ever been associated with the bullshit before!

I hope you'll be treating yourself to plenty of cupcakes too when you beat the BS, certainly deserve it!

x x x