Jun 16, 2017

Feeling feminine after breast cancer and mastectomy - HAIR / EYES

One of the things I have struggled with since I finished my treatment is feeling feminine and basically throwing any item of clothing I liked beforehand, away (except of course I don't throw it away, I donate it to charity, stay ethical people)
The reason I say, 'since I finished treatment,' is because whilst I was going through it, I honestly didn't care about what I looked like. Now as I am piecing my life back together and trying to find out who the new 'me' is, I have struggled with how I look. From the baby chimp fuzzy hair to the 'Buzz from Home Alone' hairstyle, I have felt far from feminine most days. It's not that I wasn't happy with how I looked, but more that everything about me was so different....When I was going through treatment, my face and body bloated a lot due to the steroids I had to take.

Then there was dealing with the added bonus of only having one boob and how to dress. When you have hormone positive cancer, all the treatments basically include stripping you of your oestrogen etc. The very things that make you feel like a woman.

Normally I'd just throw on a pretty lacy dress or something but my clothing is very limited due to the type of bra I can wear and also the fact I can't wear anything low-cut anymore, without showing off part of a pretty intense scar, which still scares me, let alone anyone else. My scar goes from the middle of my chest, right up underneath my armpit and it's big and red.

I actually really dislike wearing a bra, I always have. Even more, I hate having bra straps on show. Before my mastectomy my style always consisted of wearing a strapless bra, I hate bra straps so much that even if I'm not wearing a strapless top, I still wear a strapless bra. And before the op I had found THE most perfect Calvin Klein strapless bra. It was the perfect fit, cut, and never slipped. Cruelly, I can no longer wear it, without agonising pain. (Goodbye underwired, forever)

So I've been trying hard to find a style that suits my personality, suits my new body shape, compliments my boyish/short hair cut right now and try and be comfortable. I don't know whether it's the mastectomy or my age but I'm alllllll about the comfort factor right now. I honestly would never wear anything for the sake of fashion, like I would when I was younger.If it isn't comfy, I'm not wearing it.


As I mentioned before, since shaving my head, which actually wasn't too bad, it was kinda fun being a skin head for a while. I've been bald, I've had fluffy chemo regrowth, I've had the 'Buzz from Home Alone' haircut and you might even remember when I bleached it three times, only to achieve bright orange on account of the chemo in the hair and not taking to the hair dye! It's been a rollercoaster of bad styles for the last 6 months, but I'm actually at a point now where I kind of like my hair. I had it cut the other day ($10 at a barbers #perk!) because it was starting to look like I was actually wearing a helmet! I looked like a lego person and now it actually looks like a pixie crop, or at least some kind of human hairstyle.

Everybody's hair is different, everybody's hair grows back differently after chemo but whilst I was going through these crazy regrowth stages I found a few things that did help me out a bit.

Alice Bands - when my front hair was just about long enough I started wearing these kind of hairbands, it was the first time I'd felt girly in months. My gold Grecian style hairband was my favourite.

Elastic headbands - These are very inexpensive and I bought a pack from H 'n' M in all different neutral tones, they weren't too thick or tight that they hurt my head, they added a little something and a little femininity to a look.

Bandannas - and I don't mean a bandanna worn in the 'covering your whole head' way. But bandannas are actually really on trend right now, so they were easy to pick up in just about any clothing or accessories store. I have them in black and rd but I'm keen to get a white one too. I'd wear them as a headband with the tie-up part at the front of my head. (Pictured below)


I actually got my eyebrows tattooed (micro-blading) before and after chemo. It was the best thing I could have done, because although I wasn't too traumatised by losing the hair on my head, I couldn't handle losing my eyebrows! I can't recommend micro-blading enough, it really does compliment your whole face when your eyebrows are symmetrical and in proportion. I wrote a separate post all about that HERE

Recently, I got a half set of eyelash extensions too. The main reason is because, even before chemo I wasn't blessed with amazing lashes, then they all fell out and are now still pretty thin, short and stumpy. I never wear mascara because I have extremely sensitive eyes and wear daily contact lenses. I cannot even entertain stick on false lashes. Luckily these lashes do not irritate my eyes at all and I'm really happy with how they look. I decided to get a half set as I didn't want to look unnatural and really dramatic. I defintiely feel a lot more comfortable with no makeup, now I've got my brows and lashes under control.

I find little bra-lettes like this are the best thing for me to wear. I can still fit my prosthetic inside the triangle and when I wear a t-shirt or something over the top, I still look pretty symmetrical and you honestly can't tell there's anything different, unless of course you wear a style where you'd usually have a cleavage.

My favourite bra-lettes and crop tops, are by 'Stussy', 'Lorna Jane' and 'Cotton On Body'
Anything with wires is a complete no-no. My skin is very sensitive from the radiation and also with no breast, means no fat, wires will only rub against your chest wall and ribs and trust me, it is not pleasant.

I often wear little bandeaus as well, so I can still wear my favourite strapless, or off the shoulder looks.

In terms of clothing, I basically have to wear something that is high, or round necked. 
I try and draw the focus to my legs, my shoes, or a killer jacket, and 'dress down' my chest/boob area and I'm thinking I may do a whole separate post on clothing....

I've found that this doesn't have to be boring, or boyish, or un-feminine. It's really all about learning how to utilise your best features and embracing a new style and wearing what makes you feel good.

I have been focusing a lot more on self care lately, rather than buying new clothes and trying to feel better about myself that way. I think taking the time to sit and meditate, to drink more water, even do a bit of exercise, goes a lot farther in making you feel good, on the inside and on the outside.

But also, pink crushed velvet ankle boots make me happy :)


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