Putting my face on

Posted by Hazel M on 15 Jul 2014, 03:09PM

Hi Ladies,

3 months since chemo and 2 months since radiation and I am still gradually getting stronger.

I have been on Anastrozole for 4 weeks and no drastic side effects up to this point. My confusion and moodiness have eased somewhat. My hair is growing which is good, 2 shades of grey and sticking up everywhere.

My eyebrows and lashes have been the quickest which surprised me seeing they were the last to leave. Lately, when I go out I have been putting make-up on and trying to look a bit decent, surprisingly how many people tell me how well I'm looking.

Some days I just don't feel like it. I had lunch with my girlfriend and her parents the other day (make-up free) and the next time I saw her she remarked she was disappointed I didn't have my face on when she saw me last and wondered why - when clearly it makes me look better.

I wasn't insulted as we have been friends for 40 years but it occurred to me that people must feel more comforted when they think I look well.

Throughout this whole process I have found myself playing down how I was feeling so others wouldn't worry, even from the day I was diagnosed.

The only place I was honest was this Website because all the people on here know and understand the problems.

Anyway, at this point I'm going ok, still dealing with my depression which constantly tries to bring me down with negative thoughts.

My partner has come to terms with his heart problems and surprisingly after being together 24/7 for 10 months now, we are still close and support each other.

I am having my mammogram and ultrasound on the 23/7, seeing the surgeon and oncologist the same day and am hoping that maybe I can do some short shifts at work in August.

I am a bar attendant and TAB operator and dealing with public, I am a bit concerned about the wig because I am wondering what I will do when I have too much hair for my wig and not enough to go without but I guess I will deal with that when it happens.

Maybe when I put my full make-up face on everybody will be stunned at how well I look:)

Enough waffling from me, hope everybody is coping as well as they can, take care, 

Hazel xx

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Hi Hazel

rivergum's picture

It's funny how makeup makes such a difference! My eyebrows are just starting to come back. Oh, they weren't gone for long but I missed them! I spent a week in hospital post mastectomy and chemo sans makeup and beanie and gosh I looked much worse than I felt (thankfully) . I know our friends love to feel that we're well on the road to recovery. I was asked whether I felt a huge sense of relief to have the cancer "out" of my body and since I know this is a longer journey than a couple of surgeries, I ruefully replied that it will be great when I no longer feel like a patient and back to normal (LOL)! Good thing makeup helps on the outside hey! :) 

Hi Hazel

paulag's picture

Oh wow, that is exactly what happened to me. Nobody really knows how crappy your life is. Make up works wonders. Every time someone said how well I looked, I felt like saying "I don't feel too f@&ing well!" I am 16 months past treatment and am now not feeling too bad. It does get better. Look after yourself xx

Hi Hazel

TonyaM's picture

You are doing ok because it's abit of a weird time when you finish treatments. You are better but you still have the bald thing going on for awhile.Friends tend to think you are back to normal and strangers look at you like you are a "cancer"patient.I felt abit mixed up like wanting to scream out "I'm really fine,just bald still"and then to my friends"no,I'm not back to normal,not by a long shot".I put makeup on most days because it makes me feel better about myself -not for others.Just do whatever pleases YOU. When my hair was about 3cms in length,I swapped over to headbands.That way,I still had abit of security cover.I went nuts and made lots in different colours to match my clothes.They were out of cotton(4cms wide)and tied at the back.You can buy stretchy ones too ofcourse.Good luck with your mammogram. Tonya xx

Hi Hazel

Bearteggie's picture

I too have the same thing said to me when I wear my wig and make up.  Because I still feel so weak and lacking in vitality I don't feel so great and wonder if they are just being nice. 

Once I finished treatment I found that my friends seemed to think "that's it" and that I am now ok.  As Tonya said it becomes a little confusing doesn't it.  I am not sure how to go about getting back into life but I guess as I feel stronger and take on more it will all just evolve. 

Glad to hear you are up to thinking about returning to work.  I am sure that will help to give you a sense of normality.

Take care.


Joy xx

Thank you

Hazel M's picture

Thanks for your replies, yes, Tonya did sum it up, everybody seems to think that once treatment has finished we are all better. I wish. I'm just having a bit of trouble finding and accepting this 'new normal'. As you say Joy, hopefully it will evolve eventually. Take care, 

Hazel xx


TonyaM's picture

Yes,evolve is a good word to describe the aftermath.Hopefully,we evolve into a butterfly coming out of our chemo cocoon! Tonya xx

Hi Hazel

mum2jj's picture

Taking my wig off at work was the hardest thing for me to do!!! You just have to do it one day. I remember being in tears and not wanting to walk out where general public could see me. They soon got used to it. Do you have enough hair to just go with a very funky short hairdo to start off with so you never have to do the taking off thing? Just a thought.
As for looking well...our friends cope so much better if they think we are well. I found they just don't know how to deal with us if we say we don't feel great. That was my experience. I really struggled post treatment. I seemed to be better whilst I was going to appointments etc. it's like we are thrown out into the wild, yet all our friends think that our treatment is over so we are all better. Thank goodness for your lovely partner.
Hang in there as it does get better.
Paula xxx

Hi Paula

Hazel M's picture

I don't quite have enough for a funky short hairdo, I do know what you mean though. You are right, when I start back at work I will just have to do it one day. That is still approx 3 weeks away at least, so I might go with the wig for a short time, then go without. I guess it's a confidence thing, if I look confident, people will get used to it. I am a bar attendant and I'm sure that my regular customers will be fine, however part of my job is to cut people off when they have had too much to drink and they can get personal about it. I will need to have a bulletproof shield on and not let it get to me. I am extremely lucky to have my partner, I was blessed the day I met him:) Thanks for your response Paula, take care, 

Hazel xx

Hi Hazel

Deanne's picture

It is a difficult step, working out when your hair has reached the stage where it is ok to reveal to the world. My hair started growing (very slowly) in the summer and I was desperate to reach the uncovered stage for coolness (temperature coolness not looking 'cool'!). The first time I went out with my very short hair I felt very self conscious but like you have said if you act confident then everyone takes it from there. Make-up can definitely help you feel better.

Best of luck with your mammogram and ultrasound on the 23rd. Take care. Deanne xxx

Thanks Deanne

Hazel M's picture

It is a difficult step, I've given myself a good talking to and have stopped worrying so much:) In the big scheme of things I know it's not the most important issue we face. This recovery stage is going so slow, I have too much time on my hands to think about things. I have my hopes pinned on doing some short shifts back at work in August. Thank you for your kind thoughts on my mammogram and ultrasound on Wednesday. I feel confident, I've done all the treatment they recommended and done the best I can, there's not much else I can do but have faith that it's all worked. Take care, 

Hazel xx

Hi Hazel,

mgndam1603's picture

I couldn't wait to stop wearing head gear, I found it hot and annoying. Like yours mine came back a couple of shades of silver and the growth was uneven. I took photos all along the way. I came back to work without any head gear, it was really short and I did have a person tell me I was rocking a good lezzo cut. How rude, thoughtless and completely politically incorrect. I admit to getting tears in my eyes, I know that the person thought they were being funny, its wasn't funny on so many levels. So overall that was it, one very stupid thoughtless person and many many wonderful understanding people.

My siutation was different, I work in corporate offices and its the same people who knew about my illness, I know for you your challenges will be strangers.

You will know when you are ready to go san wig.

Sending you hugs



Thanks Donna

Hazel M's picture

I have already had the comment that I look a bit butch. It was supposed to be funny but like you said it wasn't funny on quite a few levels. It will be strangers that will affect me, I have been thinking that I will have to stop and think, 'Who is this person?' 'How important are they in my life?' I have become a lot stronger since my diagnosis, hopefully I will have my shield up, sending big hugs back at ya, 

Hazel xx

Hazel M


My diagnosis

  • Breast cancer experience: 
    I have been diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Diagnosis type: 
    Early Breast Cancer
  • Family history: 
    Multiple relatives with breast cancer


  • Hobbies: 
    Cooking, Reading
  • Breast cancer-related interests: 
    Depression and psychological impacts, Impact on relationships

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