Thank you for visiting, I hope you will find this blog of my journey both interesting and inspiring.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Extreme Makeover

Todays society is extremely harsh on women to look and appear a certain way; in fact it seems to me that we are pretty much expected to be perfect at everything! Look perfect, have the perfect job, be the perfect mum, have a social life, a successful pastime... And all at the same time!!

I am more than guilty to falling into this trap certainly in the past. Recently more than ever it has been apparent to me that the judgements of others are predominant in the social consciousness and with some major changes to the way I look in my near future I wondered if it was vain to want to hide them. I haven't before thought of myself as vain; then I had an epiphany: I must be.

I don't mean this as a harsh self criticism but I wear make up when I go to town or on a night out, I like my shoes and clothes, I have long bemoaned the loss of my long hair; hair that used to be layered, highlighted, dyed every colour under the sun since the age of seventeen. I have three piercings in my ears, a naval bar, two tattoos and wear jewellery. Do I sound like someone who doesn't care about how I look?

When I first became ill I had to endure the complete loss of control over my appearance as my face shape changed, I lost a lot of my hair (due to the cancer rather than treatment) and I gained some beautiful scars including a twelve inch beauty on my stomach. It was then that I decided I wanted more than anything to look like me. This might be an enhanced me but me none the less. For example my hair is deep auburn and although I would like it longer I would never again wish it any other colour; this is my colour. But what to do now when imminent chemo means no hair at all? Do I consider that me?

A question that has frankly tortured me the last week or so when I am trying to raise awareness and unashamedly say "hey I have cancer, but it is not my fault and I sure as hell not going to hide or pretend otherwise!!!" Does that then mean I have to embrace the cancer chick look? The conclusion I have come to is no; I am me I am not cancer so I am entitled to still look like me.

In this light I took my first step to maintaining my own appearance through chemo and had my eyebrows tattooed on: sorry Mr Cancer you will not steal my eyebrows from me!

Marianne working away.
Let me explain this process to anyone wanting to know how it done. I went to a cosmetic clinic in Norwich and a lovely lady took me through the process of choosing the shape and colour I wanted. For me this was straightforward having my eyebrows I simply wanted the tattoo to match. She then tidied the shape and tested some dye on my cheek for me to see the final colour. Then I lay on a bed as she drew the shape measuring up as she went along to make sure that both were even and level. After showing me in a mirror she got to work with a tattoo pen and filled in the shape. It wasn't hugely comfortable but didn't hurt, more a scratching sensation. It took about an hour and the result now is a little permanent marker like as the dye, as with any tattoo, takes a few days to heal over and fade to the desired shade. Here are the before and after pics..
Before - my natural look.

After - little bit of swelling and a little dark to start with.

So I've typed this from a day in hospital and the final two big pieces of news I leave you with are, firstly I will be seeing about having a wig designed tomorrow, but mostly that next Tuesday at 1pm I will be starting my first aggressive IV chemo. So until then I am afraid I am going to go a little quiet on you. I have one week of relative normality left before taking on this cancer full time and y'know what I am going to use every second to LIVE! I dare you to do the same!

If you really want to follow what I am doing check out www.imagineit.org.uk or the Imagine It facebook and twitter accounts and you can follow me there!!

Til next week!!

(oh and feel free to share this blog around everyone you know!!)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Poppies - good luck with the treatment. I end up feeling very emotional every single time I read your blog and i just wanted to let you know that people are still reading and wishing you all the best in a big way. xx