Thursday, December 6, 2012


Sometimes I surprise myself when I catch my reflection in the mirror in the morning. I don't expect to look so sick, because - for the most part - I don't feel sick. I still wake up expecting to look like I used to, like somehow overnight all of this cancer crap will have just been a bad dream. But then there's my image in the bathroom mirror, reminding me that I'm still in this fight, still getting chemo every three weeks, still facing Stage IV cancer.

People continually tell me how great I look, and I appreciate it. I really do. But there's a process that goes into leaving the house every day so that I don't look like a cancer patient. Somehow, putting on a little blush (and some eyebrows) makes me feel better, almost normal.

I go back and forth in my head about why I wear a wig or even a headscarf most days. On the one hand, I do want to feel normal, and while I realize a scarf doesn't accomplish this, it somehow doesn't scream cancer the way my bald head does. On the other hand, if I'm really kicking cancer's ass, shouldn't I be a poster child for what that looks like, baldness and all? Most days, I'm not that brave. And truth be told, I don't want the sympathy stares. 

I have a crop of fuzz on my head, but it's about as thick as the hair on Chris' arms (so, not very thick). But I have very little in the way of eyebrows or eyelashes. My skin has taken on that chemo sallowness that comes at a certain point after so much poison has been pumped through your body. And I have flaky patches of dryness everywhere because chemo sucks the moisture right out of your cells, no matter how much water you drink; living in Arizona probably doesn't help.

So I thought I'd share my process for looking presentable.

I start with this:

Sorry about the scowl. I hadn't had coffee yet.
And a little foundation and blush always helps...

Eyebrows are also good! Here's one...

And the other... I used to draw them on with pencil, but lately I'm liking a waxy product that I paint on with a brush. So much for chemo making it FASTER to get ready in the mornings. Also, who knew I had make-up skills at all? This is a whole new world for me, and Sephora may or may not be my new favorite store.

A little eyeliner (to make it look like there are eyelashes) and some mascara to the few hairs still hanging on, and we're almost there!

Only takes this many products...

And a wig and some lipstick...

Ta-da! And while the end result's not bad, I'm really looking forward to having hair again and all that entails - basically, a long-term remission (like twenty years would be nice).


  1. You are gorgeous with or without make up, with or without hair... You are a radiant beauty inside and out and you inspire me! I love you. Oxox Jenn

  2. Every picture is beautiful. You can do this.

  3. Jen,
    I have not seen you since Christmas of 2010, but have been keeping tabs on you through Tracee and the blogs she forwards. We all thought you were an amazing woman before you took on this battle, but you have shown us a new kind of graceful beauty in your quiet strength and honest sharing. Your beauty is unmatched!! Keep it up! You are in our prayers, and you are very loved ❤

  4. You wouldn,t have to make a decision if you were in Pa. , Your wig would be your hat to keep your head warm. Keeping you and your boys in my thoughts and prayers! Kudos--your "hair" looks very natural...

    1. Wigs are definitely easier to wear in the winter here, that's for sure! And by next summer, I should have my pixie cut back...

  5. Wow, that's quite the transformation! FCT is part of Canada's Look Good Feel Better program - so your make-over transformation reminds me so much of that.

    I didn't have the energy to look this good toward the end of my chemo, but if I had seen a post like this, maybe I would have been more inclined to give it that extra effort. Very inspiring!

    Thanks for the demonstration. ~Catherine