8 minute makeover 

Although I haven’t shied away from showing pictures of myself bald, one thing I have never shared is a picture of myself without make-up on since starting chemo. I’m not sure why, I guess because I feel like I look pretty hideous! No eyebrows, no eyelashes, bad skin. But I try to be real here, so here is what chemo really looks like, and how I fix it.

Today I took a picture before and after I did my make-up. I also timed my make-up routine, eight minutes. Now I am never one to say that somebody needs to wear make up, people should look the way they feel comfortable…but sometimes when people find out I wear make up every day (although I am not as anal about it when I have hair!) they say that they want to but don’t have time for that. I say that if somebody likes the way they look with make-up more, they can find 8 minutes! I’m certainly glad that I do, because even without chemo I prefer my appearance with make up. During (and shortly after ) chemo, it’s a necessity to me!


Minutes: 

1: moisturizer and BB cream 

2: Eye primer 

3-4: draw on brows (this originally took me about 5 minutes, now it takes me 1.5-2 minutes to draw on both browswith a pencil)

5-7: eyeliner and eyeshadow (2 colours, lid and crease, blend)

8: dust face with powder, quick blush on the cheeks, lipgloss

Bonus: smile 

6 is the number of the day

Today is my first day back at work after my sixth and final chemotherapy cycle. That feels significant, because when I embarked on this journey (what a stupid word) of chemotherapy and working through it, it didn’t seem like I could really make it to the end. I was just trying.

I did it though, I have worked through six chemotherapy cycles, and now I am at the end of this part of my treatment. Six is also significant because it is almost exactly 6 months since the day I was diagnosed, October 27.

In honour of the number six, I written a list of six things I’ve learned about myself through these past six months and past six cycles. They are all things I’ve though about a lot, mostly about personal responsibility when life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to.

1. Everything is not about me, even when it feels like it should be. Things that feel personal probably aren’t really about me at all.

2. I know myself best. I know what’s good for me and what isn’t, and have to follow those insticts to be at my best.

3. I cannot make people reach out to me, if I want someone in my life I have to reach out to them. The other option is waiting and feeling resentful when they don’t, which is a stupid option because it’s nobody else’s job to call me, email me, or text me just because I want them to. I know how to pick up the phone if I want to talk to somebody. If I don’t then the lack of communication is nobody’s fault but mine.

but…

4. Some people just cannot deal with bad shit happening, and don’t know how to be supportive. It doesn’t mean they don’t care, it’s just how they are. I can choose to accept them in my life or not, but I can’t change it. trying to force it doesn’t help.

5. Whatever is wrong in my life, it is my job to deal with it. Sometimes I cannot do that in the way I most want to, if circumstances or people don’t cooperate. But that’s okay, it’s still in my power to figure it out.

6. I can inject myself in the stomach.

That’s a wrap

Last chemo today!!!!

It’s a bittersweet feeling. Of course I’m glad to be done chemo (which sucks) but I’ve been trying to take this step by step. Since January 6 I’ve gotten very used to this step. Moving forward to my next steps of treatment and the unknown physical and emotional (and logistical) challenges they will bring is certainly frightening!

Oh well…today is for celebrating. I can start worrying tomorrow (and feeling like crap Thursday and Friday and into the weekend!)

I gave a lot of thought to whether or not I would ring the bell…trying to be sensitive to those in the chemo clinic who may never get to ring the bell, or too early on in chemo to feel like they will ever get there. I was sorta planning to skip it, and buy a bell to ring at home with my kid’s later.

In the end, the nurses surrounded me and rang the bell, before I had a chance to ask them not to. I hope nobody was upset by it! 

Time is fleeting 

I recently joined a writing group, I think I’m going to start sharing some of the essays I write for the group here. To be honest I haven’t written in the group in about a month. I’m doing OK, but definitely getting more tired more easily, and losing my focus at the end of the day! Anyway, I was looking over some of the essays I wrote in the group, and really like them and want to share. The topic of this essay is:

Time is Fleeting
Over the last few years several things have happened in my life and the lives around me to reiterate the fact that Time is fleeting. Time flies, and really you never know when your time is going to end. This might sound negative but it’s not, it’s just reality. People get sick and die all the time, lives change in a heartbeat, you never know that tomorrow’s going to be there. I got breast cancer when I was 41 years old, and even though I’m quite confident that I will beat it, I know that there’s a chance that it will be back in a year and kill me, or that I will walk out of the house tomorrow and get hit by a car (really, I go for long walks every night after dark!). These things happen to people every day, and when something like getting cancer happens to you, you realize that they don’t just happen to other people.

Therefore, it seems very important to enjoy every day, to make the most out of every day and live the way you want to live, not to waste time doing things that aren’t important to you or living in a way that doesn’t make you happy.

Which sounds easy enough, but the reality of life is sometimes changes just can’t be made. It’s easy to say “if you don’t like how you’re living, change it” but somethings can’t be changed easily or at all. Some people can’t afford to leave their jobs and start a new job or stay at home. I would love to change my life and do something different, because I find my career emotionally overwhelming, but the truth is I can’t afford to do so. What I can do is change the way I look at my job, and look at opportunities in my field to do something that’s a little bit different, and that is what I’m doing now, but it’s not a quick easy road and there’s no guarantee it’s going to end the way I hope it does!

People are unhappy in their marriages and don’t know how to fix it, nor do they think they’d be happier single, so they stay in an unhappy marriage. There are people that are in love with someone outside of their marriage, and want to be with that person but know that being with them would hurt their marriage and the people in their lives too much, so they don’t. Sometimes people have to choose between living for every day and making themselves happy, and remembering that other people deserve to be happy to. Sometimes being happy involves a level of selfishness that people can’t realistically or morally attain. This is not actually the case for me, I don’t have to choose between (deeply, we all make choices that are exactly what other people might want us to make) hurting the people I love and being happy, but I do know people that do and it’s not easy to live that way.

The area that the notion of time being fleeting is most relevant to me as well in terms of health and healthy living. Often I see Memes on Facebook that say things like “life is short enjoy the cake”. I get that sentiment, but my opinion is “life is short, I don’t want to make it shorter”. That doesn’t mean I never enjoy cake but if every time I gave in to my desire to eat unhealthy food and sit on my butt watching Netflix instead of exercising, I’d probably be making my life shorter. Not only that, but my life would actually be less pleasant (I know this, I did it for many years). The short-term joy of eating cake and doing nothing active doesn’t outweigh the long-term joy of feeling good about one’s body and fitness level, having more energy, and meeting personal goals. 20 pieces of cake could not give me as much pleasure as the first time I crossed a finish line. If I had kept eating cake (a metaphor for crap) every day and not eating healthy I never would’ve been inspired to start exercising, and that Finish line never would’ve been there for me.

For a lot of people, money is also an issue. I know people that spend all their money and never worry about saving, because they say that life is short and they want to enjoy their lives and have and do and see everything. But what if life isn’t short? What if they end up living to 100? What if they end up needing a lot of care and can’t afford it? It’s sad to see people save and save and save for their futures, and then see something happen in their life and that they’ve saved for nothing. It’s also sad to see somebody spend everything, and then have nothing. There needs to be some kind of balance between enjoying every day, and planning for the future. Some people have enough money to make that easy, others don’t.

I guess my point is, even though time is fleeting and people should try to live their lives the way they want and make everyday good, I don’t look down on people who aren’t able to do so. Sometimes time is fleeting. Sometimes life is long, you never know what it’s going to be so you have to find some kind of balance. It’s not some kind of horrible moral downfall to have times in your life when you’re unhappy and things aren’t the way you want them to be. But it is always in one’s best interest to try to change the way one looks at and copes with them!