Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Health, Humor, Humour, Taxotere, Wigs, Women's Health

Faking It (and Failing)

Dear inventor of make-up and wigs,

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know what I’d do without you. (See photo)

From Laura Hetty Price, aged 30 years, 4 months and 4 days 

(3 months and 6 days of which bald as a baby)


Right, that’s it – I give up on fake eyelashes. They are officially the devil’s work.

So yesterday, I had my interview with the Huddersfield Examiner. The photographer and journalist were coming to my house, so I wanted to look nice for my first local newspaper appearance since my 2004 hotpant-clad debut. As you can see by the above photo, my “Before” look is pretty dire now that I’m at the very end of my chemo treatment. Despite the fact that I still have at least 50 eyelashes and 50 eyebrows (I haven’t actually counted – that’s a guesstimate), you would hardly know it to look at me. Add to that the fact that I seem to be going through a rosy-cheeked hot flush in the above photo, and you’ll probably agree you wouldn’t want to appear in a newspaper in front of all your old school friends looking like that either. So, naturally, I wanted to put on some false eyelashes to try and recapture a little of my former dazzle.

Now, two years ago, when I was young and carefree and dabbled for the first time in fakies, I was an absolute natural. Under the careful supervision of my housemate Beth, I applied the glue (gentlemen, be not afraid) to the edges of the falsies, waited 30 seconds or so while waving the lashes about a bit to gain flexibility, then simply looked down and pressed the lashes onto the top of my own ones and held for a while until the glue took hold. Simples, as those meer cats on the telly would say.

Flash forward to 2012, my lashes a shadow of their lengthy, luscious former selves, and things were not so simple. After thirty minutes of grappling with Boots No 7’s finest lashes, Cheryl Cole’s signature collection, some professional Shu Uemera lash glue and a load of sticky, black mess, I still could not attach a single one of the fakies firmly to my own limp, ailing eye hairs and I collapsed into a frustrated tizzy. (It is not often that I get into a tizzy, dear reader, but you can be assured that my lack of experience and expertise in the area of make-up and hair is one of the few things almost guaranteed to cause me bother whenever I step out of my comfort zone.)

The glue used in the fake eyelash industry, I am convinced, is made of exactly the same stuff as the adhesive in the bandages used to protect my breast and armpit scars after my surgery. Those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning will have no problem casting your minds back to July, when I complained about the difficulty I was having removing said adhesive from my breast and armpit, resulting in unfortunate stickage of a) my clothes to my skin and b) my arm to the side of my body. I am now, it seems, having similar problems with the eyelash glue, whereby after several applications of three different types of glue to my eyelids yesterday, my eyes and lashes are now sticking together. This does not bode well for the preservation of the remaining 50 or so eyelashes I do still possess…

Anyway, needless to say, my relationship with the fake eyelash industry is well and truly over and I will just have to hope that the aforementioned stragglers do pull through to 2013 and beyond. For those interested, I have also looked into permanent eyelash extensions, but it seems that as these are attached lash-for-lash to the eyelashes you already have, it isn’t really the ideal option for me. I don’t want to lengthen the ones I’ve got, but thicken them and add new ones. There may be a gap in the beauty market for that particular product.

(Wow, I honestly I had no idea I was even capable of writing so much on the subject of fake eyelashes…)

So, after that digression, I put normal make-up on (see the “After” pic at the top) and did the interview with the lovely lady from the Examiner. The chap came round and took a few photos of me, and I did a few with wig off and a few with wig on (Samantha). I didn’t like any of them, and have decided I’m going to stop this posing-wigless nonsense from now on because I am never pleased with any photos that don’t come from my own iPhone, so that’s that. I’m not sure exactly when the interview will appear in the paper but I will of course keep you posted. I now have a national newspaper on my trail too so I’m one step closer in my quest for world domination.

On the health side of things, my temperature has remained higher than normal for almost four days and I’ve been coughing too, so I went to see my doctor yesterday. He did a bit of a health assessment and confirmed my chest is clear, which is excellent news. I don’t have any visible infections but am still concerned because I’m going to London tomorrow to see the nutritionist and the last thing I want is a temperature spike when I’m 200+ miles away from my usual hospital. So I went for a blood test this morning (amazingly, the needle went in and drew blood first time – happy days) and will hopefully find out by tomorrow just how dangerously low my white blood cells are this time…

I just did my 49th daily injection of Filgrastim and will possibly do a little dance at the nutritionist’s office tomorrow afternoon when I celebrate my 50th (AND LAST EVER, hopefully).

I’ll leave you with a couple of pics of the first winter snow in my beautiful native Shepley yesterday. 

Unfortunately, the paltry amount of snow we received has melted and it’s now lashing with rain and bitter winds outside. Delightful.

Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Taxotere, Women's Health

Losing My Lashes

It has been almost three months since I lost my full head of hair, so I suppose I should count myself lucky my eyebrows and lashes have lasted this long. For some reason I had barely noticed, but my lashes and brows have been falling out thick and fast for a month or so, possibly because of the Taxotere chemotherapy.

I used to curse the big bushy caterpillar brows I inherited from my Dad, but these days I’m very grateful as they’ve seen me through five rounds of chemo! My lashes are now much thinner and have gaps in between them and my brows are much, much thinner. However, the crazy Mancunian man who tried to sell me a wig three months ago told me very matter-of-factly that I would lose ALL my eyelashes and brows, so in your face Mr. Scissorhands!

I consider myself lucky that all my hair loss has been very gradual. Whereas I expected it to fall out in huge clumps after one week, it actually fell out in tiny clumps after three weeks and gradually thinned over the course of a week or so. And whereas I expected to lose my lashes and brows quickly and entirely, they have in fact just come out very gradually, one lash or brow at a time, over the course of three and a half months. I can live with that.

The first photo shows my lashes and brows as they were pre-cancer in May (back when I had head hair as well – I can barely remember what it felt like!) As you can tell by the colour of my skin in these photos, the first photo has been filtered on Instagram and I’m also wearing eyeliner as well as mascara, so it’s not exactly a fair comparison, but unfortunately I didn’t think to take ‘before’ photos sans make-up several months ago!

The second photo is me, today, without any make-up. You can’t really tell that well from the photo, but not only are my eyebrows much thinner, my eyelashes are also quite limp and weak-looking. Very ‘meh’…

Fortunately, a fellow cancer-fighting young lady suggested I buy Browzings eyebrow make-up from Benefit to fill in my brows, and I am quite pleased with the result. The only thing is I often run my fingers through my brows and am not used to having make-up there and am thus liable to smear it all over my face, so if you do see me with dark smears around my temples, please let me know.

In the below photo, I’ve conveniently left one eye sans make-up and one eye done with a bit of mascara and some Browzings, for your perusal. I’ll try and remember to do both eyes when I go out, obviously…

Here’s the finished result with both eyes done. (Still no eyeliner, sorry Beth, I’m just rubbish at it…)

There’s only one more chemo session to go and my hair will keep falling out until about 3 weeks after the last session (so roughly until Christmas) so there’s a chance I could be bald-faced by year-end. But fingers crossed the little stragglers keep hanging on so I can make a nice dark-haired comeback in 2013!

Disclaimer: Before we start with the usual argument, I’m just going to put it out there that my eyes are green, not blue. Thanks 🙂