I've had breast cancer twice now - Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, stage 2A, in 2012, and Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, stage 0, in 2021. I had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for both.
With the 1st occurrence, given the stage, I had 4 doses of chemotherapy each 3 weeks apart. I handled it well, no nausea or sickness, just the occasional tiredness. But it didn't stop me from exercising and doing my normal activities. I was grateful for that.
When I was told I'd lose my hair after the 1st dose, I didn't think much of it. I just figured I'd shave my head and move on. Well, I did exactly that. What never occurred to me was that I'd lose all my hair, everywhere. I can honestly say that I didn't really notice the loss of hair on my eyebrows or eyelashes until a friend mentioned it. I'm not sure why but I didn't notice...I guess I wasn't paying that much attention. :)
With that 1st round of cancer, there were many silver linings - no shaving ANYTHING for over a year, my hair grew back curly (and is still curly 9+ yrs later), and no hair appointments for almost a year, to name a few.
The biggest and best, however, were the many kindnesses of friends and family. Those 1st 8 weeks when I was only allowed to walk while I healed, friends walked with me daily for an hour (when Jose couldn't walk with me). Friends brought us dinner every other day for a month!
A good friend, Sheila Cook, sent me mascara, Younique mascara to be specific. Why would someone give me mascara when I didn't have eyelashes, one might ask. :) Well, as my lashes started to grow back, they were short initially (of course). The mascara she sent were fiber lashes. As you brush on the mascara, tiny fibers attach to your lashes to make them look longer. I had never heard of that before but it worked. Nine plus years later, my lashes did not fully grow back. But I still use Younique.
I am so grateful...grateful to this type of mascara that can help make my lashes look longer and fuller, grateful to my friend for thinking of this. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received.
If you have a female friend who is going through chemo and you want to do something for her, you don't have to spend a lot of money or do anything fancy for her. Go for a walk, sit with her and have some tea, give her a scarf to wear on her head (if she's covering), or give her fiber lash mascara.
It's the little things that mean so much. :)