First to arrive was a small dog. A little rusty ball of fur, his claws scrabbled along my hallway as he scampered through my home. He was followed by a film crew, a make-up artist, stylist and a very nice lady clutching a large lasagne. “I hope you don’t mind the dog, we’ve brought him with us because he has separation issues” announced the camera man as he manouevred his tripod into the narrow hallway of my flat.
Today was the day I was to be treated to a “Wardrobe Makeover” courtesy of Clothes Aid, in Partnership with Macmillan. Prior to this meeting I had completed a questionnaire detailing some of my style preferences including my style crush on Mary Portas. I do not look like Mary Portas. I am short, she is tall. I am a bit stumpy, she is decidedly willowy. But she wears fabulous jewellery and she’s not a bad role model when you are a 50 something year old woman looking for a bit of help regaining your self esteem.
Losing my hair wasn’t really the hardest part of the physical changes that cancer treatment inflicted on me. I can count myself lucky in that I have a rather nicely shaped head. Hardest for me was the loss of my eyebrows and eyelashes. This left me feeling like I had somehow faded. Add to that the generous pounds one piles on through the wonders of steroids. Steroids keep you awake and make you fat. Now post surgery I have a uni boob to further add to my growing list of body issues. And if one more person deems it helpful to tell me I should look on my scar as a sign that I am alive I might just nut them. Growing older I have the same insecurities that beset any woman who feels past their prime. I too feel uncomfortable about my extra pounds, my crows feet and my bingo wings. “Beating” cancer hasn’t suddenly filled me with super human confidence. So, having one boob makes me feel like less of a woman. So treats like the one I am getting today are welcome.
The stylist arrives. I still have very little hair. My head is a kind of ping pong ball with bum fluff. The stylist has an awful lot of hair. Thank goodness she is kind, positive and ready to explore my wardrobe for hidden gems. She will teach me how to clash patterns, play with textures…the whole kit and caboodle that one reads about on the fashion pages of glossy magazine. When I was bald I had a lot of fun with scarves and hats. Wigs weren’t for me. My hair had never been my crowning glory, so the bouffant, mother-of-the-bride wig shop offerings did me few favours. They made me feel like a freak and made my head sweat. When I was sick I got compliments for my hats, my glasses and my scarves. Now is time for me to turn my chemo-style into something more permanent. And so, especially for Recycle Week check out my video.