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Do you ever feel 'ugly'?

Goldenguru's picture
Goldenguru
Posts: 23
Joined: Sep 2009

I don't know if this is due to Christmas parties where everyone is decked out in their holiday finery or what - but - I am feeling SO unattractive.

I had a good cry this morning (I haven't cried in many weeks) when I looked in the mirror. The cancer has stolen my breasts. The chemo took most of my body hair - including just ONE eyebrow and something has given me facial acne the likes of which I haven't seen since adolescence. I have run into several people over the past weeks who did not even recognize me.

I feel stripped of everything that is feminine. *sigh*

Do any of you ever just hate what you see when you look in the mirror? Intellectually, I know this is vain and superficial.

People tell me "For what you have been through, you look so amazing". Ha.

On another note: What would you do with just one eyebrow? Would you shave the other and attempt to use eyebrow pencil? I would love some makeup tips - since I've never worn much more than loose powder and mascara. Thanks for any input - and thanks for letting me whine.

Angel_4_James's picture
Angel_4_James
Posts: 73
Joined: Nov 2009

You know it is okay to cry and feel down,,,,,,,,but the key is to not stay there. I know I have an instresting road ahead of me. I start Chemo on the 12th of Jan. I had long pretty hair and went and got it all chopped off right before Thanksgiving. I cried when I told the lady that I needed to get my hair cut and she was so compassionate. I look in the mirror and see the scars, on my brest, under my arm, by my collar bone and my short hair and feel the same way as you are feeling right now. But you know what, we are still the same awesome person we were before we had to take this journey. So do your best to refocuse on the wonderful person you are, flash that beautiful smile at yourself and watch the sadness fade away. I am not much of a makeup person either, but I think I would shave off the other one and just draw them on. I told my kids if I lost mine and had trouble drawing them on I would just let Geoffy (my 7 year old) do it for me. We all laughed. It helped me with the thought of it all.

May God give you peace to overcome this saddness you are feeling right now. May He show you how beautiful you are to Him and to those around you that love you so much. In Jesus name Amen.

mmontero38's picture
mmontero38
Posts: 1523
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi Guru: Call your local chapter of the American Cancer society. They have some beauty salons that will give you a make over and advise on how to put on make up to minimize the hairless look. I didn't hear about this until after I went through everything. My surgeon never informed me that the cancer society had any of these programs for people going through treatments. They even give you a wig. And.... it is ok to sit on the pitty potty every now and then, just don't sit there too long. OK? You've come a long way and are a proud warrior in pink. Happy New Year. Hugs, Lili

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 7871
Joined: Aug 2005

I remember coming home from having my head buzzed, day 2 of chemo, feeling nauseous, and made the mistake of looking, really looking in the mirror....

I had lost 45 pounds from the fight with rectal cancer, my skin was saggy, and pasty white. NOT pretty, I promise!!!!!

I had a talk with myself then and there...I WAS beautiful (well, inside...lol)...and fighting a fight stronger than many people would ever see in their lifetime!!!! I told myself I would walk around with my (bald) head held high, and not give a rip about anyone else's opinion!!! It worked mostly, but, yeah, it's awful!!!

I lost all body hair, except for 2 'comb-over' hairs, one in each eyebrow. Oh, and 5 lashes on one side, 4 on the other (I counted...lol). I was sporting a 12 inch 'up-and-down' scar from my bellybutton to my crotch, and 2 more on my left breast and under my arm. Oh, and that LOVELY pop-bottle cap (port) jutting from my right chest wall...lol!

I don't wear much makeup, but went to a friend who did, and she taught me how to 'draw' my eyebrows with a brown pencil. She also said the most profound thing, and I remember that to this day, "You see the biggest flaws in yourself. Others may or may not, but those who care about you, accept you any way you are! It's just like braces...remember you thought you would DIE the first time in school after getting them? And then how many kids copied you???"

This is a temporary thing, and, again, you have greater things to worry about right now. In time, it will get easier...partly because, like me, you hair comes back, and your skin gets right again, but partly because you are proud to know that you fought the strong fight!!! Hey, on my recent cruise, I wore my 2-piece bikini, and no one said anything. This is truly amazing, since, still with scars, I am also over 54 years old!!!!

Hugs, Kathi

New Flower
Posts: 3938
Joined: Aug 2009

just wait next year you will feel much better.
Yes we all have been there, but it passed much sooner than you think.
As Kathi said "keeping your head high"' and being confident, feel very strong are the most important elements which have helped me during Chemo and radiation,
You have won your battle with cancer, great news!!!

I have not been on this seminars and workshops, because my oncologist never told me, but I heard they useful.
I hope to wear bikini next summer and you will too.
Hugs

Rague
Posts: 3273
Joined: Aug 2009

Contact your local ACS (or the BC facilitator at your Cancer Care Center) about their "Look Good - Feel Better" program. It is a fantastic program that gives you make-up and teaches how to do the most with it (the little booklet that goes with it shows the points to use to be able to draw on eyebrows so they look 'right' among so many other things).

ladybug22's picture
ladybug22
Posts: 647
Joined: Sep 2008

you are beautiful and amazing, ask about look good feel better they give you make up and show u how to use it . i went it was fun hugs to u

helen e's picture
helen e
Posts: 222
Joined: Sep 2009

I had a mast. with tram flap reconst. 2 weeks ago and the dr. did an incredible job. When I woke up I was so imprssed and happy, I still had a breast with just a small circle cut away where my areola was. Now that I have been home over a week I can't stand to look at myself. In my head I understand what happened and why and that I should be greatful, and I am I just can't look at it. I guess it reminds me of the cancer and that I lost part of who I am as a woman. I'll get through it though, with time it will get better I'm sure. Good luck and know that you are not alone.

e_hope's picture
e_hope
Posts: 371
Joined: Sep 2009

I totally feel you pain. I have been there many time emotionally. Hair gone, breast gone, eye lashes gone. You start to look a little alien like.

Yes, that wonderful statement, people just don't think!

I am 4 months since my last chemo treatment, and still barely any eye lashes I have totally mstered the fake lashes) and and with covering of hair. Hard to get dressed up for the holidays when you look so unfeminine.

I never lost my eyebrows totally but I would use a brow powder that i got a beauty supply store, I found it easier to use and softer than a brow pencil.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4518
Joined: Aug 2009

I try not to think about it all at once. I feel better dressed and put together. I consider myself under reconstruction. Although I wonder once chemo is done if I will focus on it more. Ihave lost a ton of weight, and am too sick to go out and shop.I have two pairs of pants I dont know what size I wear, and I cant seem to look at something and know it will fit. or how it will look. Its an image change for sure. The thing I worry the most about besides the cancer is how this treatment will affect my health.
You are lovely so you cannot be ugly, as they say cancer does not define you , and your hair will come back, and the new you will emerge better than ever. P.S. I have very light brows and lashes. so I cnat decide if I should do something or not bother withthe lashes disapearing I feel a bit like a snake.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4518
Joined: Aug 2009

I also read that certain chemos can give you acne, and I'm sure the hromonal changes dont help that or mood.

Lynda53's picture
Lynda53
Posts: 210
Joined: Oct 2009

Yes many days I feel I look like crap. I avoid the mirror. I have no eyebrows and did not even know until someone told me!
I am far from a make up kind of girl, but the Look Good Feel Great programs have sparked my interest and I plan to attend one next month.
Positive and beautiful thoughts to you of you!
Smile and peace

shortscake's picture
shortscake
Posts: 228
Joined: Nov 2009

Whine on, you have the right to whine you have been though so much in such a short period of time, this has been the first year that i didn't go to any parties with no hair i didn't want to wear a wig and i didn't want to talk about the black spots that are now all over my face seem like they came up over night.sometimes i do get down but i know this to will pass and it will pass.

Taina
Posts: 166
Joined: Jun 2009

hello....you are so beautiful.....
i know how you feel....
my hair is just coming back very slowly even do people tell me is coming back so fast...
i don't see it that way...3 months since my last chemo tx and i have 1/2" hair if that.....
hair everywhere else is also growing faster than my head :)
don't shave your eyebrown...they sell a powder brow makeup...
i don't use much makeup neither...i been wearing my glasses so you can't really see my eyebrows or eyelashes much...
i don't feel sexy some days but i try not to think about it...
i'm just trying to get healthy....and stronger....
best wishes for the new year specially health....
and remember you are beautiful.....

ppurdin's picture
ppurdin
Posts: 935
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi,reading this reminds me of about 2months ago,I wrotte my best friend that I felt the ugliest that I ever had in my life.To begine with I have always had a weight problem.I have lost weight many times.When I found out I had Cancer I was going to WW. and had lost some weight.I had a lumpectomy and another surgery to remove more breast tissue.In the middle of chemo treatments they had to stop them.So I had hives all over me,I lost my hair,the steroids had put weight on me.I was truley a mess.I still feel that way alot.but when I get through with rad. treatments I Pray I can get back on my diet and I hope I have hair by then,We will feel better then I am sure.But right now I feel your pain.I am their and probley will be for awhile.Good luck to you.Love and Prayers.(Pat).

boppel
Posts: 26
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi, been there, 2x, tell yourself its temporary. Yes, you can feel sorry for yourself but not for long, better times are coming, sooner than you think. Also call your local ACS for the Look good Feel good program. I remember drawing my eyebrows and put a little mascara on my 5 lashes, it was nice not to shave for a while. My hair came back wavy and had nice body to it. Think positive, you are beautiful no matter what.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Like the others wrote, you are entitled to feel sorry for yourself for a little while, but, then you must put that aside and focus on fighting bc. The look good feel good program sponsored by the ACS is a great place to go. See when there is one in your area. It will make you feel better.

HUGS

dmc_emmy's picture
dmc_emmy
Posts: 549
Joined: May 2009

and some may say it robs of us our feminine dignity as well. After many weeks of feeling sorry for myself (much deserved if I say so myself) I accepted an invitation to "Look Good, Feel Better" offered by the local ACS. I was introduced to make-up that I didn't even know how to use, given a pretty wig, and then went home to wait for my daughter to come home. She didn't even recognize me :). That was a good thing.

If you have not gone to a "Look Good, Feel Better" event, which is really a make-up make-over, you really ought to do it. The one I attended was given by licensed cosmotololgists who were also cancer survivors, and they were able to instruct us on how to cover-up what chemo had done to our skin and hide the effects of hair loss.

As an old hippie from the '70s I can tell you that, until that day, I didn't wear much make-up either. It was a experience in more ways than one (and fun, too).

In time, your skin will recoup itself (the body is really quite amazing in how it can rejuvenate) and your hair will grow back. It all takes time so, in the meantime, pamper yourself--you deserve it!
dmc

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

In a good way, I just want to say, Are you Kidding???!!! I felt ugly in the 7th grade when my legs were too skinny. I felt ugly in 8th grade when I didn't have much to put in that bra, 9-12th grade I hated my hair, complection, clothes, parents ( well, maybe I didn't hate them, but I was on/off embarrassed that they were related to me)

I felt ugly when I had pre-menstrual bloat, ugly during my period, ugly when I turned 40...oh sweetie, fill in the blanks! LOL I am just happy that I am no longer in my 20's~ the TV ads for Victoria's Secret "fashion shows" would send my psyche to ugly-ville for life!

So, did losing my breast, slamming into menopause, losing hair, and being as pale as Powder, fearing loss of life, and being with a man 5 years younger than me make me feel ugly????? uh~ YEAH! I didn't just feel ugly~ I was ugly!!!

Know what? That was 7 years ago! I am 7 years older now, my still with me awesome man is still 5 years younger than I am ( go figure! ) my hair is back, my breast is scarred and lopsided, I am not as toned as I was when I was 40, and hopefully not giving TMI here~ just this moring we proved that we love each other and still have an active love/sex life!

Through all of this, I found I am indeed more than my breast~ more than no hair, more than a never to be perfect, young body. I am alive, and a faithful, fun, caring life partner to a man who is lucky to be with me! And I mean that in a positive way~ I seriously try to be the woman he is happy to come home to. And he reciprocates in kind.

It sounds trite to say "this too shall pass" when you are in the middle of it all. Our emotions are all over the Richter scale, and there isn't much comfort, I realize. Just look back on this when it has indeed passed, and know that you will be giving the same advice to those who follow your footsteps in the journey to Life After Cancer.

As Christina Aguilara so poignantly sang: "You are Beautiful, no matter what they say, words can't bring me down"...own those words, sweet sister.

Hugs,
Chen♥

prv
Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 2009

I had bilateral mastectomies in June. Yesterday I was so uncomfortable at work that I took my padding out and walked around "flat". No one dared to say anything! And I felt so much better, though probably not so attractive!

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