Whilst October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, last month it was Leukemia Awareness month, so when I received an email asking if I’d be interested in doing a guest blog post for Beauty Expert, it was definitely something I was very interested in.
Today, we are surrounded by a world filled with stiletto heels, stunning models and luscious locks… but what happens to that beauty orientated world when it all comes crashing down? Back in 2013 on June 20th, I was hit with the news that I had cancer, specifically leukemia, which is a cancer of theblood. At just 20 years old there was nothing I could have done to prepare myself for the months ahead. Days revolved around medication. Breakfast meds, lunch meds and tea time meds. Sleep was now second nature and brushing your hair drops from the top of your daily routines list to the very bottom.
Hair. It’s a big deal. A really big deal. The further into my treatment I got, just that little bit more hair would fall out. One morning before I was getting ready to go home from hospital, I’d been standing in the bathroom for a while, just looking in the mirror. Prior to this day, my hair had slowly been getting thinner, but that morning I had taken the plunge, I’d brushed my hair and a bald patch had formed. Up until that moment, mentally, the fact I had cancer hadn’t affected me too much. I’d kept my head down, I’d accepted the treatment I needed, I’d lay there in the hospital bed day after day having my bloods taken, having blood transfusions, having more bloods taken. I’d accepted it. But this was the first moment I remember feeling truly and utterly broken. When you go through cancer, you reach a point either during diagnosis, treatment, or even when you reach recovery, where the pain and the feeling of being broken can’t be fixed. Don’t get me wrong, in time it will heal, but it will never truly mend.
Your nails peel and break, sometimes your eyebrows and eyelashes fall out, (I was lucky that mine didn’t). Your skin becomes dry/ cracked and sore… but standing there and watching your hair come out piece by piece in your own hands is one of the harder things you go through during treatment. It was the moment I realised I was breaking and I could do nothing about it. My hair was going, it had to go and eventually it all did as I’d had enough of the growing bald patch and watching it fall into my hands or onto the floor at the slightest touch. I had to accept that losing your hair was just part of the cancer package. It would grow back. It would be okay. This was when I decided to try out different products in an attempt to get my hair to grow back at super speed! I started by putting coconut oil on my little bald head, not only does it make your skin lovely and soft, it’s also meant to aid hair growth! As my hair started poking through again I introduced shampoo and conditioner back into my life, which was a very welcomed addition. I was always on the search for products that help with hair growth. It was my first step to getting my long hair back. Looking back on my ‘cancer journey’ there are many things you’ll be challenged with mentally and physically, some days you’ll look at yourself in the mirror and not even recognise the person looking back at you. But it will get better. You’ve just got to keep going.
Thanks so much to the lovely Emily Parker for sharing her story with Beauty Expert. How will you be supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month? We’d love to hear your thoughts by commenting in the box below or by using @BeautyExpertCom on Twitter and Facebook.