Ugly

Oh God this sounds so vain but I can't look in the mirror anymore. I see an alien in the mirror with no hair no eyebrows or eye lashes. Feel bloated and can't stop eating. I doesn't bother me that I have no hair but since my eyebrows went, I look in the mirror and see a cancer patient, what else do I expect to see? Then my husband keeps asking me when am I going to get the all clear. I just give up ladies, I really do. 😟

23 Replies

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  • So sorry you see yourself this way Damelza. I suppose we all go through this...at first I tried not to look at myself in a mirror, but then sometimes it couldn't be helped, like trying to put on some makeup! Now I see myself a little differently, I'm adjusting to it I guess. I'm even tempted to go out without anything on my head...but I haven't.

    Hair or no hair, you are beautiful. You're still the same person, just a little changed on the outside. I understand about the eating...when my stomach is upset, I don't, but when it feels better, I keep picking at things. Don't understand that. As for your husband's remark, I don't know what to say - maybe "shut up"! :) Nah, better not do that. Perhaps try to explain to him that you're struggling & his words hurt you.

  • Hello Lovely... yes totally agree with you! I'm very feminine and have to say I looked bloody awful.. no hair, no eyebrows.. it's a look to adapt too. I started chemo in Feb and finished in June.. Within a week I could see new hair and now 12 wks later my hair 1/2", I have eyebrows bit bushier and now waxing my upper lip.. didn't need that! I have a friend who is a photographer and asked her to take some pics of me without hair.. I wanted something to look back on when going through all this. It is tough, chemo is brutal, it makes us sad and very emotional on this tough journey. We are all here for you through the good times and the bad times and we all support each other. Your husband and if he were mine (We split up just before I was diagnosed) would get the wrath of my tongue.. I take no prisoners going through this because it's the hardest journey we'll have. I wish you all the very best, it's for a limited time and your beautiful locks will be back.. keep strong and keep fighting. Love Michelle xx

  • I really struggled with the loss of my eyebrows.

    Hair loss was a lot easier, I got used to what I looked like quickly as I still looked like ME. But by the time I lost my eyebrows, I had put on a lot of weight and was puffy from all the steroids. Then when my eyelashes fell out I just felt like a frog, haha.

    I found that pencilling them in was really hard, and they just never looked right. They were always to dark, to light, or worse - smudged.

    I found things like Maybelline's Brow Palette MUCH easier to use, had better results, and stayed put longer.

    maybelline.com.au/products/...

    If it helps, my eyebrows came back very quickly (less than 5 weeks after chemo) and all of the damage I did to them plucking them over the years has been undone. I have epic eyebrows with virtually no maintained now. My eyelashes came back thicker as well.

    Your husband asking you when you'll get the all clear is insensitive. Has he been going with you to appointments?

  • Hi damelza, big hugs to you, I don't think anyone going through this looks in the mirror and thinks it's a good look, but it's a necessary part of sorting this damn ed disease out. I remember I looked like gollum without hair, and wouldn't take my hats off for anyone.

    As for your husbands comments...he's obviously worried, and wants reassurance that everything's going to be ok. Ask him if he was in your position what would he want to hear from you? It might make him think....

    Sue

    X

  • Hi Damelza. Sorry you are feeling as you do at the moment, your not vain your feeling like we all do when undergoing treatment. No way are you ugly, you are just going through a tough time. As for your husband Id say ( from experience of my own hubby) that although physically hes not going through what you are hes scared and sometimes just wont know what to say. I bet he'd be horrified to know hes upset you with his comments . Its tough on loved ones. Go look in that mirror and see a fighter and a beautiful woman who nobody would call ugly but a courageous beautiful woman xx Kathy

  • Hi Demeiza,

    I'm know just how you feel.

    I am just now starting to grown hair and lost my eyebrows and lashes.

    In fact I'm losing my lashes and brows again which is upsetting as I had a break from chemo for op them they started to grow and when back on chemo for two more treatments, and now are falling out again.

    I find it helps to put makeup on each day to look better. I also wear my wig or a turban.

    How you got a macmillian centre where they do feel good look good courses?

    We in Leeds have a Roberts Ogden centre and the course is free and your taught how to apply makeup to enhance your eyes and make up . We were given about £200 worth of make up and skin care free on the course

    It's just trying to get over this period of time and I get round it by thinking, if the chemo is getting rid of my growing cells ( hair eyebrows lashes etc)think what is it doing to the cancer!

    Remember it's for only a short time and it will grow back

    Hope I may of helped you by replying to your post. XXXX

  • Damelza, I'm sorry for what you're going through. It is so hard to lose all your hair, facial,hair and look on the mirror. I think it's because our hair, long or short, and general appearance is so much a part of our self image. I took steroids while on chemo and it puffed up my face terribly. It is hard, very hard. As for your husband, it's my humble opinion that he needs a separate appointment to talk to your oncologist. All clear is kind of a peculiar notion. Ovarian cancer can be pretty nasty.

    But, don't give up! Try some of the suggestions, keep us posted. I think you will feel a little better just giving it some more fight. It is a fight. It's your life and I want you to win it! Take care, Nesie 237

  • Oh Damelza, I know what you mean. I look in the mirror and see someone else looking back at me. Far worse is when I glance at my family and they are clearly thinking less than complimentary thoughts about my hairless look. I'm eating all the time too. Having lost so much weight on chemo and hated food I managed to get through my body weight in champagne truffles last night. Plus cake at lunchtime too. I'm not moving much and can't do stuff as I feel light headed and dizzy. So I know the lbs are coming back.

    I'd wanted to keep as slim as possible so I could see if my stomach/abdomen swelled up and I had a reoccurrence. Plus being a women I have an unhealthy relationship with food and scales at times.

    So reading your post really held a mirror up to me. I think we had our last chemo around the same time didn't we? So I decided to give myself a little time and a free pass on the food front. As my health improves I'll be able to do more and as I regain my confidence I'll head out more.

    My hubbie told me that he hadn't realised what a small head I had until I lost my hair again. Last time I'd permanently worn a wig (literally glued to my head).

    We must give up Damelza. We mustn't only see all our flaws. I think I do it as there is a space inside me now to worry about this stuff as I've finished chemo and am in the wait and see stage.

    Husbands.... Mine has decided that I'm cancer free; yours at least wants to get a scan result. This site and my female friends are the ones who help more with the emotional/feeling stuff.

    You're so compassionate in the messages you send to the other ladies on this site Damelza, and funny too. Be patient with yourself.

    Love, T. X

  • Ah bless you. Am sure we can all relate to how you feel. I felt that I looked like something from a science fiction film and yet I look back at photos and I really didn't look that bad. It's probably a low mood distorting perception. Try one of the looking good courses (your specialist nurse should have details) even if you're not a make up person they'll give you great tips and a bag of beautiful freebies to help you look more like your perception of yourself again.

    I suppose your hubby was a little insensitive but am sure it was out of fear and love for you that he wants you to be well again soon. My other half was pretty much the same at times.

    Hope today's a better day.

    Sandra x

  • So with you on the eyebrow and eyelashes.

    For some reason I didn't loone my eyebrows first time round ....but this time yep....and my eyelashes....would see this white ringed eye staring at me.

    It's cost me a fortune in various eyebrow pencils, allegedly smudge proof huh....not on my face. I need a false stop where my eyes end and forehead and then head starts.....I really hated this period.

    But it's over now. 2 months later they are back...I love them....but knowing that I'm going to loose them again shortly means that I'm seriously considering getting them tattooed in whilst they can see the shape and colour.....I probably won't but that's how much I missed them

    Dawn

  • I would not consider myself as vain but when my eyebrows went I felt like you. My daughter persuaded me to go on a Look Good, Feel Better course and despite being very sceptical it was really good and fun, I came home and my husband (who is not subtle at all) said I looked the best he had ever seen me. I have had terrible rows and tears with him at times over the past 4 years but it is very hard on them too and men are just not good at coping in the same way. That's why having the ladies here helps so much!

    Good luck, Claire xx

  • Your not alone ... My eyebrows are all but gone as are my eyelashes ... I do go out without a wig but in sure people look at me and think there's a cancer patient... Before treatment this is what I feared but now it does not bother me I'm a fighter I'm going through this for myself and my family ... I wanted to attended t look good feel good but there are none until after Christmas which is no good for me in fact the Macmillan hub at my local hospital wasn't much good at all so I asked boots and they will give me make over ... Doubt I will get freebies tho 😫 Not sure I want to sit on shop floor either... My make up skills are rubbish I pencilled in my eyebrows just thought I looked like a clown and foundation ... Where do you stop lol.... Your not ugly we are beautiful warriors we should wear our look with pride ... I go out with my head held high and stare back at the people that give me the look .... I don't like being bald my ears are constantly cold but I'm giving myself the best chance to survive here me roar !!!! Chin up lass we are in this together xx

  • Hey Damelza!

    Sorry I was in bed early last night and just saw your message!

    Don't beat yourself up I felt exactly the same way when the eyebrows went and as you see from all the responses so did many other women! I can tell you that the eyebrows are the first to come back or at least they were for me and I was very happy to see them I can tell you! There are days where the relentless awfulness seems never ending but you will get there in the end! How many chemos have you left now?

    Hope you are feeling a bit better now!

    Dx

  • Hi Delmeza

    We all know how you feel. Can I add to your list a masdive ugly scar, baggy eyes that have appeared and hate the big square head my wig adds. Others do not see these things nearly as much as we do. I caught a pupil in my class staring at me on my first day back a few weeks back, heavier and wigged up since he last saw me. I rather accusingly asked if he was staring as I looked so different. He replied, " No. It's just that I'm so pleased to see you." Blimey that taught me a lesson. We have to remember no one is judging us for our change of appearance and we should try and be less harsh on ourselves but easier said than done. Chin up. Our appearance is just one more thing to put up with but hopefully reversible. Xx

  • What a lovely response from your pupil. The honesty of children is their best feature. Lx

  • You are not vain. You are a woman going through an unspeakably difficult time and the last thing you want is to feel different.

    Being as bald as a billiard ball didn't bother me ... I have a nice shaped head which I told my sons they'd inherited from me ... Felt sad when my eyebrows became anorexic but I was able to draw pretty good fake ones. Wept when my last, loyal eyelash lost its grip on my eyelid.

    Then 3 months down the line I had lots of hair on my head, on my legs, under my arms, a sprinkle of pesky numbers on my chin and top lip, brows like caterpillars and flirty eyelashes. Had more chemo (long story) so brows thinned as did lashes and pesky mustache and chinny-chin-chin ones vanished along with pins and pits quota.

    Now back on chemo again and this time with the assurance that I will keep all my hair wherever it grows, even those hideous ones on toes ... You know the ones I mean ... Not there until they are there, curly like Brillo pad wire.

    Do have hope. They'll be back. You might not like the colour or the texture but it's hair and it's all yours.

    Xxx

  • taprobane, you have a wonderful sense of humor! I think I'm more concerned with how many of my wild facial hairs will come back...hope it's not a full beard! I was happy to see them gone (kind of peach fuzzy & a couple of long babies sticking out).

  • Hi Demelsa,

    You are not ugly,you are a beautiful woman,fighting the good fight!

    I used to look at myself and I looked like a bag of bones,but just look at life as a performance, slap on the war paint,a wig or a head cover and a smile on your face and if you can convince yourself you look good then you will feel better.

    I have a husband that makes inane comments, because I don't think truly he knows what to say,or how to say it.I find it easier to talk to the half a dozen true friends that have stuck by me, or the ladies on here.I find family only want to know that you are getting better and how soon? It's their way of coping with it, but it doesn't always help.

    I hope you are feeling a bit better now, we are all with you and you will always have your beauty and inner strength

    Carole xxx

  • Hi Demelsa... You are not being vain at all.... When I first went through this with breast cancer I was at a store and the cashier said here's your change sir. Well that Just lit a fire within. I went home and looked in the mirror honestly this time..no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows... Dammit, I did look like a man. From then on, I wore lipstick, earrings, and eyeliner when I went out. I wore gypsy like scarves that gave me a look of mystery, not sorrow. This is all temporary, just remember that. As for your mate, I assume he's trying to be supportive, but if it were me I'd say something snarky like sorry I'm inconveniencing you with my battle to live, my bad. But hopefully you're not me, and deal with it civilly.

  • Dear Dalmeza - one of the positives of chemotherapy was my complexion! Lovely new skin cells, no need to exfoliate! LOL!! The make-up lady for my daughter's wedding, two weeks after my second chemo said it was one of the benefits! She role me her own mum had had breast cancer and chemo had given her the most beautiful skin! I tend to agree with her!! Every cloud ....... X

  • I do remember that feeling, I looked like a frog!

    But I tried to see it like a fairy tale, we are given the elixir of life (chemo ) but have to give something in return, first hair, then eye lashes.

    I used caps with a rolled edge to give more shape to my face and dangling earrings to draw the attention away from my bare eyes.

    Friends I saw a lot in those days commented recently how lucky I had been not to loose my eyelashes and eyebrows so I know people notice a lot less than you think.

    Or the earrings must really have worked.

    And with all the savings on shampoos and other hair products you don't need now, buy yourself something nice like earrings or a different comfortable hat.

    You are still beautiful, it's just a little harder to see now.

  • Hi, Dalmeza!

    I also look ugly to myself, but I am lucky enough to have a very supportive family who claim to find some kind of "cuteness" about this look. I was really worried about how my young grandchildren (aged 2-9 the first time around) would react if I didn't wear a scarf or turban around them, but they never blinked an eye and accepted it as the norm right away. I just wish I could see myself through their eyes, but their responses to new hats, outfits, etc. are very comforting.

    By the way, the picture on my profile is during my brief remission, when everybody raved about my short hair. But when I recurred, after reacting badly to doxil and avastin, I went back on taxol and it was Bye-bye hair. Am I glad to be without hair and also without hand and foot syndrome, mouth sores, and horrible rashes? You bet!

    I do hope that you can take one of the "look good, feel good," workshops. I am signed up for one next month. The American Cancer Society does them here in the states, and I've heard many rave reviews.

    I also hope that the love you are getting from this forum will make it easier to love yourself.

    Lots from me, and prayers as well,

    Linda

  • HI Damelza, I understand what you are saying, I hated the mirror, would there be a look good feel good make up class in your hospital. I dont mean you need one but there you get tips on how to make your make up look natural. I hated the grey face, it wasnt me, I dont know if I ever look like the old me, sometimes I do, sometimes I dont. But what the heck I am alive and kicking, My hair thinned on my last treatment and its coming back now to the fine hair it was. So a wig for me was a blessing in disguise, wash and wear. I used Clarins Beauty Flash to brighten my skin, Yes I got mad and threw things including the wig. But I made myself go out. Men what can I say, they are different to us and think because we are up and about we are grand!!! Typical reaction, maybe they dont want to delve or think to far ahead. Maybe they fool themselves into thinking we are grand when we are not, My hubby would tell me before any one else who has got Cancer now. My friends would normally avoid the topic. The colour does return to our faces, our hair grows back but we are different because this illness makes us different. I hope that makes sense to you. Just remember" everthing passes ".