Strong is Our Sexy founder Beth has been blogging about her personal experience since she was diagnosed with cancer on her Health & Fitness Mentoring page on Facebook. Here, we’ve collected some of her observations on one of the most visible effects of her cancer treatment: hair loss.
The last few weeks have provided a few mental challenges and my mind has strayed from some personal goals. For no particular reason, I felt a sense of renewal one Saturday morning, 59 days into treatment, and recommitted my mind and body to positive thoughts and energy.
With that, I awoke at 4:55am ready to begin my weekend. After breakfast, laundry and several emails, I hopped in the car and headed for Bella Forza Fitness, the all-women’s fitness studio I started over four years ago.
The quiet, cool morning welcomed me with open arms. As I unloaded my car, the fresh air reminded me to slow down my thoughts and enjoy the peacefulness – just what I needed prior to my workout.
But quickly, my surroundings changed – music pounding, heart racing, sweat dripping, muscles shaping. Ahhhh…there could not be a better feeling! As members began trickling in, it was time to wrap up my workout. Wait…let me just video a few TRX Rows. Maybe I’ll post it on Instagram – after all, it’s been awhile.
Low to the ground, my arms were on fire pulling and releasing. As one of all time favorite moves, I’m not sure I would ever tire from doing them. It didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t wearing any covering on my head, not even my usual bandana. Kendra filmed about 9 seconds’ worth, and then it was time to move on. Emails were calling my name and members were anxious to sweat.
Arriving home several hours later, my daughter Gia scrambled down the stairs to admonish me for posting such a video on Instagram. “Mom, why did you post that video with your bald head?” she questioned with gritted teeth.
“Umm…because…” was all I could respond with.
“Mom, my friends follow you. Now they will see you without hair!” she exclaimed.
“Oh…” I replied as my head sunk into my hands.
Gia then proceeded to tell me she logged into my account and blocked her friends so they could not see the video. Ugh!
Breathe, I told myself. Her friends…furthest from my mind. Quite the reminder that not everyone is OK with how I look. Lesson learned – BIG lesson learned.
“I’m sorry, Gia,” I whispered as we hugged.
“It’s OK, Mom. Just cover your head the next time. I think you are beautiful. But I’m not sure what my friends will think.” she murmured. And she is right. They are only 11, after all…
Just weeks later, Gia would give me another lesson in beauty – and this one, much less harsh.
As a result of chemo and radiation treatments, my bottom eyelashes said good-bye. It had been a long drawn out farewell, but they finally decided to leave.
Struggling to apply makeup one evening before a family wedding, I had hoped false eyelashes would complete my “look.” Not once, not twice, but three times, attempts were made with the falsies. I even solicited the assistance of two eleven-year olds – desperate times call for desperate measures!
I’ve never been fond of makeup, so applying it is something I loathe. And now, with minimal eyebrows and no eyelashes, I convinced myself that makeup was needed more than ever. But the wisdom (and support) from Gia and her good friend AL, well, let’s just say were an eye opener. I learned three lessons in about twenty minutes that night:
First, eye shadow can do wonders for someone without eyelashes – accenting the brow, lining the top of the lid, creating a smoky look. Yes, the girls knew all about this and were anxious to paint my eyes like an empty canvas.
Did you know? “Your eyebrows are sisters and not twins.” While penciling my eyebrows in, I was directed to make them look similar but not alike. Wow! Ok…no twins it is. Who knew there was so much to this makeup thing?
And lastly, if you line the top and bottom of your eyes with black eyeliner, no one will notice the lack of lashes!
I could not help but smile the entire time the girls were fussing over me. Feeling like a princess on my way to the Royal Ball, they had more fun in those twenty minutes educating me than the rest of their evening.
Something in their hearts spoke more than volumizing mascara. Maybe it was support, or the feeling of knowing more than me, or hopefully, just love.
Whatever it was, it prompted me to return the favor. And while you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, this old dog was able to teach the young pups a trick or two of her own.
And my lessons to them?
Makeup hides your true beauty, so less is more.
And a wig with long bangs can do wonders when you are without eyebrows and eyelashes! 🙂