One of the well known problems arising from having chemo is that your hair falls out. This I knew but I hadn’t realised that it would be from pretty well all over my body nor some of the implications of that happening.
The greatest impact on my morale came with the loss of hair from what, literally, emerged as the dome of my head as it just changed the shape of what I saw in the mirror each morning, but, possibly, the greatest loss of function and therefore of inconvenience has come from the total loss of my eyelashes and pretty much the whole of my eyebrows with the exception of a couple of long straggly hairs on each brow. Now these are areas of me about which I hadn’t really thought much before they went. I mean, I knew in a general sort of way that my eyebrows existed to stop things dribbling down my face and into my eyes, and that the eyelashes’ function was to stop things in the air from getting into my eyes: what I hadn’t realised was just how much stuff there was in the air for them to stop! With the loss of my eyelashes came two things, the loss of a visible demarcation line on my face which helped me to see “not me” in the mirror each day, but also, a continuing gritty feeling to my eyes which sees me flushing them out on a fairly regular basis.
Yesterday I noticed my eyelashes are beginning to grow back. At the moment they are little more than nascent hairs but, they are there, I am sure they are and I can’t wait for them to get longer so that (a) people can see them again and my face will have therefore taken one more step towards looking normal and (b) no more gritty eyes. Which of these two things is most important to me right now? Ah, that would be telling!