On Friday, I went to the ophthalmologist to try to get some answers concerning the many unfortunate things happening in and all around my poor eyes. It was confirmed that I have “severely” dry eyes, and something called blepharitis, which is the reason for my styes, itchiness, redness, grossness, and general discomfort. I was given many various things to put in my eyes to try to help and a new bedtime eye care ritual that is somewhat unpleasant. The doctor said it could take several months/half a year for the styes to clear up. When I asked, But how long until the constant watering of my eyes goes away, he replied, That will be for the rest of your life.

Chemotherapy, the gift that just keeps giving.

I am doing what I can do to get the situation under control and praying that the entire mess is not going to be chronic and as ridiculously dire as he made it sound. That is completely unacceptable to me, since I currently can’t do much of anything because of my stinking eyes. So we’ll see what happens. (Get it? We’ll “see” what happens? Never pass up an opportunity to make a pun, even if you have cancer and have learned your eyes might be damaged forever.)

Anyway. I’m going to now change to the subject of wigs. When I first learned I would be losing my hair, I wanted to make sure I had a wig that I could use to cover up my bald head. The second after I shave my head, I am putting on a wig and never taking it off, I said. Before starting chemo, I went to a few professional wig shops in the city and tried on some very expensive options (many good wigs can cost well over $1000). It wasn’t as fun as I had wanted it to be. The whole thing felt very strange. All the salespeople seemed to talk to me in this hushed voice. They looked at me with sad eyes, like I might die at any moment. The whole ordeal made me uncomfortable, as did spending so much money on something I didn’t even like all that much. I left each store without purchasing anything, thinking maybe I’d go back eventually. I never did.

After I lost my hair, I was surprised how comfortable I felt going out with just a hat or a scarf. I mean, I have cancer. I’m writing about it. It’s not a secret. I no longer felt the need to hide under fake hair. I was bald throughout most of my chemo, and felt okay about it, which surprised me. I still am amazed I posted photos of myself so freely on the internet, for all to see. If you had asked me if I would do that four months ago, I would have told you you were crazy. But I guess the hair loss made me a bit more confident, in some strange way.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I missed out a bit on the whole wig part of chemo. Because being bald is fine, but sometimes it’s nice to pretend, just for a little bit. To feel and look like someone who isn’t sick. The more that my appearance has deteriorated with the cumulative effects of chemo, the more I understand that. And the more I miss having hair.

And so, I ordered a wig. Now that I am done with chemo. Which is a bit backwards, but I like to do things my own way. I also broke another rule by ordering it on the internet from some random wig site. This is something “wig experts” at the fancy boutiques will say not to do, because you can’t really tell how it will fit your head, or match your face. However, I am pretty good at figuring stuff out and doing research. So I read through some reviews and looked at some photos and finally settled on a style and colour that I thought might work. It was a good price for the quality, and most will be reimbursed via insurance, so I decided if I don’t like it or wear it only once, it doesn’t really matter. It gave me something to do, and something to be excited about, and possibly something to make me feel a tiny bit better during a low point in my cancer adventure. So that was enough for me.

Yesterday, my wig arrived. The wig’s name is “Brandi” and she is pretty sassy. When I put it on, it reminded me of my old hair. I started brushing it and it has been so long since I have brushed my hair, that I nearly cried. But I was having too much fun playing with Brandi to cry. Too much fun looking in the mirror and remembering what I used to look like. What life used to look like. And what it could look like again.

Ladies and gents: introducing, Brandi.

I am wearing sunglasses to protect my eyes. Or maybe my alter-ego Brandi is just so wild that she wears her sunglasses at night.



30 thoughts on “Brandi

  1. Welcome to Brandi! You are making her look amazing and all movie stars wear their sunglasses at night….very fashion forward 🙂 Enjoy your new look!!!

  2. Very glamorous! definitely Brandi must have big sunglasses to go with the look! Playing dress up can never be underestimated. XXOO

  3. Steph, You are Unbelievable! You look AMAZING! Have fun playing around with Brandi! Think of all the possibilities …..ponytail, bun, headband, accessories…oh,..and the glasses are absolutely glamorous! I’m praying about your eyes! Love you, Helene

  4. I have a good friend (Tema Stein) who has a osteopath clinic and may be able to help you with your watery eyes. Many of the clinic’s patients have this problem and have been told that there is nothing that can be done. The therapist that she recommended in this clinic is Jason Locan. He is an osteopath and naturopath and she told me he is superb. Tema only treats babies. The name is the clinic is Footprints Therapy—- 245 Fairview Mall Drive, North York and the phone number is 416 444 2125. It is worth a try. I really think he can help!!!!!
    You look beautiful!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Terri! I’m seeing my family doc and oncologist this week so I’ll see if they have anymore suggestions. But if it persists, I will definitely be seeking out other alternatives, so thanks for passing on the contact… I will look into it!

      1. On a similar note, i wanted to mention that dry eyes are also a pretty common side effect of laser eye surgery, so when you’re a-googlin, it may be worth while investigating communities around that too. (I had very dry eyes for about five or six months after my eye surgery, and i remember thinking that if it lasted forever – and at the time it felt like it might – that i might have a breakdown. My eyelid would be completely stuck to my eyeball when i woke up in the morning, and it hurt so much to disengage it. So I hope your eyes improve or you find a solution to manage it better!! I naively/optimistically believe that there has to be some way to manage such a common problem! Man oh man!)

      2. Yep, that’s how my eyes are when I wake up, I am usually blind… gross. I’m using all sorts of stuff now, so hopefully I’ll get it under control and my oncologist is more optimistic that the dryness part should subside, so here’s hoping!

    1. Vogue wigs was the site. It’s pretty comfortable, I think about as much as it could be. Although I haven’t worn it out yet or for more than a few minutes, so we’ll see!

  5. I must say, your eyes may feel horrible but your complexion is radiant! You have a beautiful glow and looking darn sassy with Brandi
    Happy she gave you a little skip in your step.
    Thinking positive thoughts for you,
    Stephanie in LA

  6. I have white hair and just this week got called “Dear” in the grocery store…maybe I need a wig just like yours! I love it….you look marrrvelous! Oh yeah, I’m only 58!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s