Vanities: appearance

I’ve been thinking about vanity a lot lately. I seem to have a lot of it.  To me it settles out into some different realms:

Vanity about body appearance: from taking steroids for so long, I have chubby cheeks and a more rectangular face without noticeable cheekbones.  My face really looks different from before.  I was kind of dreading the steroid face all along, and here it is.  No pictures of me look nice to me. It took me a month or so to stop not-recognizing my face in the mirror.  This chubby-face thing really bums me out.  I liked my old face and this is yet another sign of the mandatory ongoing negotiations with cancer.

The original face
The original face
April 2015--18 months in...
April 2015–18 months in…
The steroid face!

I’ve also gained weight elsewhere on the steroids–that and a lack of ability to exercise much lately–and steroid weight goes to the midsection so I’ve got more of a belly than usual and my pants are tight around the waist.  I was really feeling good about myself when I weighed 142 pounds and exercised every day; now I weigh 152 pounds instead and feel like there’s little I can do about it.

The combination of steroids and edema from my left arm means I have a double chin and maybe even a triple chin if I try, on the left side anyway.  Who said that was allowed?

My hair is really thin; in August and September about half of it fell out slowly, and I don’t know why.  Chemo? Steroids (possible)?  Anyway I now have curly, more-gray-than-before, sparse hair.  My scalp shines through.  On first glance it might not look weird but I am definitely sporting the “chemo victim” look all the time now, like it or not. The curls that want to go straight up are not really what I wished for all those times I wished for curly instead of stick-straight hair.

On the other hand, this summer sometime my eyebrows grew back.  For a while I had basically half an eyebrow on one side and 2/3 an eyebrow on the other side, and I had an eyebrow pencil and eyebrow mascara to make them look normal.  Now I don’t need to bother, so that’s nice!

But the way I look now overall gives the game away: I am an ill person, not a healthy person.  I am far more self-conscious now when I go places, like the chiropractor or even my oncologist’s offfice.  In the waiting room, I’m one of the obviously in-treatment And when I dig into how I feel about this transformation, I find a lot of vanity about my previous appearance–which I was very happy with–and grief that I have lost that, and with it my own feeling of being attractive.  I really liked my cheekbones.

2 thoughts on “Vanities: appearance

  1. KM

    You are proof that beauty is more than skin deep. XOXOX

  2. Larin

    You are beautiful! Thank you for sharing the photos, newly discovered vanities notwithstanding. So much love from out here xoxoxo. Larin

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