Tips from the fancy

I've received some books from wonderful friends...books written by people who have had mastectomies, been through breast cancer, a different type of cancer, or chemo, etc. The books are useful and I appreciate the gift more than anything, but there is one problem so far - the women who have written these books were all totally fabulous and fancy people BEFORE they had breast cancer or a mastectomy, so lots of their tips are for people who wish to stay fancy through breast cancer and their mastectomies.

I feel a little uncomfortable or out of my element because I am and always have been so UN-fancy, and un-girly. Yes, I like the looks of me with hair as much as anyone would, but my hair is certainly no work of art that I spend hours looking at each day. Before this short haircut I was walking around with wet, just-out-of-the-shower hair every morning for most of my life (after 8th grade, that is...I've never managed to achieve the level of fanciness I aspired to in 8th grade, and going to an all-girls' school where I never felt pressure to be beautiful was wonderful for me). If I looked at myself in the mirror after waking up it was to throw my hair into some sort of conglomeration that looked more like a nest than anything. So I have little in common with most women in the world who spend lots of time and money to look their very best and to assure that their hair complies with their desires. I'm sure I'll mourn the loss of my hair, but maybe mostly because I won't be able to pass for normal anymore, or be invisible. People will see me and know I am going through chemo.

I also am so unattached to my chest I think it is scary. I am upset about the expander because I won't match all spring and summer, and I think it will be gross to be sweating against a yucky turkey cutlet/prosthesis, and I don't want to have to bother. Other than that, I really, really think I could just take out this other one and be fine. My plastic surgeon mentioned something about how it will be good to keep getting filled because I'll see progress and see how good I will look, and I was thinking, "Huh? Do you see me coming in here with my sweatpants and my stretch mark belly and my hair which is barely done and think I'm all that interested in having ONE gorgeous breast?" Bill is even fascinated with the fact that I can choose my size, and I am thinking I'd like to be totally flat. ("It is such a clean, sporty look," I think to myself as he envisions pretty, nicer breasts than I started out with.)

There are makeup tips for going through chemo (apparently it helps to wear more than just clumpy mascara if you want to mask the fact that you feel like total garbage). Some of these writers have marched into chemo in their fabulous suits and Manolo Blahnik heels, and marched right out and to work with their kick-ass wigs on. That is so not me - I have lived in sweatpants for so much of my life that I don't even think I owned a pair of JEANS for much of high school! I was wracking my brain trying to think of what I wore when I went out with boyfriends and I was stumped. I moved to Boston to row with a competitive team after college and I didn't even have any clothes to interview for jobs with...any kind of job! It was all rowing clothes and casual clothes for me.

So I can't think of anything inspirational I would add to someone going through this stuff for the first time if I were writing a book- I have no tips on how to remain gorgeous and vibrant and fancy and fashionable as I was never those things in the first place! I'm curious to see if I'll have any tips of my own that will be different.

So far I've only taught myself that I can comfort a 2.5 year old without picking him up just as well as I could have by scooping him up as I did in the past. I've learned that if you can't put a child into his car seat you can put a stool into the car for him to step up himself! I've learned that if I am tired, I can rest without sending my little one away by watching Dora with him, playing Webkinz (he's a maniac for Cash Cow, one of the games where a cow drives a car away...he is a slave driver making me play it again and again), reading books, walking around our yard, and just talking. So see, no beauty tips, yet!

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