One of the most publicly obvious effects of chemotherapy may be hair loss.  Before it happens, you may think, "So what, I'll buy a wig, done!"  Well, almost.  Did anyone tell you that your eyebrows may go?  How about your eyelashes?  I'm pretty sure someone must have mentioned that and I missed it.  You probably won't notice it happening, one morning you'll just reach your mascara wand up to coat your lashes, and, "What the...."  You'll put on your eyeglasses maybe, trying to see what the problem is.  Your brain skips a couple thoughts, then you finally get it.  Oh yes, they said HAIR would fall out, and eyelashes are HAIR, too!  Now what do you do, well, women have been there before you and have dealt with the same thing, read on!

Funny thing, how the details elude us.  When the doctor says 'cancer' and 'chemo' everything else seems to fade slowly away.  If anyone told me my body would look like ET (as in 'phone home' ET!) I'd have laughed, but there it is.  The hair on our heads can go, and also eyebrows, eyelashes, underarms, legs, and, well, EVERYwhere.   Use your imagination.

It's not all bad,  you also don't have to shave your legs or underarms for months.  If you're past menopause, you will be happy to note that you also won't have to pluck the odd chin hair.  Enjoy it, but it won't last.  Too bad on that one...

 You'll find that one of the most annoying things about losing hair is actually the loss of eyebrows and lashes.  These are the two things that you never pay attention to until they are GONE.  They are the things that others will see first that will register on their brains before even the hair loss on your head, because you can always cover that with a wig or hat or scarf.  Without them, you truly do begin to LOOK as ill as you may feel.

You may think that eyebrows are easy to draw back on, after all, you KNOW where your eyebrows are, right?  You've seen them every day of your life in the mirror, how could you not know where to draw them back so you'll look the same?  Right?

Strangely, when the eyebrows fall out, it's NOT obvious where they go anymore.  You may have to wait and see before you'll believe this, but if you don't pay very close attention NOW, before you lose them, you may be wishing you had.

It would help to use your digital camera to take a photo of yourself in the mirror now, print it out, and keep it to tape to the mirror later until you get used to drawing your eyebrows on. 

The reason for taking the photo of your reflection?  Well, think about it. Your reflection is reversed in a mirror.  If you take a photo of YOU, then it will be harder to translate it back into reverse when you look at it next to the mirror.  After all, if you part your hair on the left side of your head, when you look in the mirror, you see someone whose hair is parted on the right side of their head. AHA!

As for eyelashes, you can draw on a simple line with some eyeliner, but don't get too dark with it unless you're choosing to go all Goth for fun.  I personally found it made a less noticeable effect to take an artist's brush, a narrow flat one with some rounding at the edges, dampen a little eyeshadow, and draw on my lash line with that.  I have green eyes, so I often used some brown or smoky green.  Behind my glasses, it was smoother and more likely to be overlooked than a harsh line of black eyeliner.

I'm not the best with makeup so I can't really advise you on the rest, but I do really, really, really encourage you to look up a program for chemo patients called "Look Good, Feel Better" in your local area.  If you ask around the oncologist's office, chances are they have a phone number for you to call.  You may also look on the internet and find someone in your area with the program.

That was such a positive thing for me!  Call them and put your name in for the next 'class' they have scheduled, sometimes it may be a while away if they've just had a class, so put your name in right away. 

You'll meet wherever they have it planned, a small group of ladies going through (or about to go through) the same thing you are.  The meeting will be led by a volunteer, usually someone who makes their living with hairstyling and makeup. 

She will show you how to do everything from applying makeup effectively on a pale chemo-affected face, to how to care for a wig, or how to tie a head-scarf, what colors make your face appear a healthier color, etc...

I just can't say enough good things about this free program and the people who run it, donate their time to it, and the wonderful makeup companies who contribute their very best lines of makeup to it. 

I won't attempt to name them all, there's a lot!  When I went to the class and they handed me a gift of a tote-bag full of amazingly great products, almost all full size and not samples, I was moved to tears.  After all, when we're going through chemo and feel so bad, the fact that these large companies care enough to do that for us just blew my mind.  After all, we're not exactly their best advertising at that point with our pale hairless selves.

I promise you though, if you will just pluck up your courage and strength and drag yourself into that class, you will leave it feeling as if you're walking on air, with a smile on your face, feeling and looking your best!  They truly do give you the tools and knowledge to keep yourself looking great.