Life without Lashes


I started wearing glasses when I was 9. I wore contacts for a couple of years in high school and then went back to glasses when hard lenses got to be too much. At the tail end of my senior year, I got soft lenses and have happily been a contact lens wearer since.

I can’t begin to describe how much it hurts to get a piece of dust or an eyelash in your eye when you wear contact lenses. It’s kind of weird how our eyes adjust to wearing contacts when just a piece of dust or hair will drive you crazy.

Apparently, all the hair on your body has its own relatively unique way of growing. The hair on your head grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch per month. The hair on your arms and legs grows only so much and then stop growing. Eyebrows grow in about 60 days, and eyelashes generally replenish themselves in about 6 months.

Chemotherapy is a gift that just keeps giving. Or taking, depending on how you want to look at it. Chemo attacks fast growing cells. Both types of chemo that I’m getting cause hair loss, which includes eyebrows and eyelashes. The hair on your head is fast growing. The hair elsewhere is a little slower. So… it makes some sense that chemo leaves us cancer patients pretty bald after 3 or so treatments.

I wasn’t exactly prepared to lose my eyebrows and eyelashes while the hair on my head, arms and legs is trying to grow back. For the most part, the hair on my head is staying about 3/4 inch long. My head gets cold more easily now, even sitting at home, because I can feel the breeze on the back of my head with the peach fuzz growing back there.

I have a couple of rows of hair that are pretending to be eyebrows. When I go out, I usually put some Gimme Brow volumizing gel on to cover the few grey ones in there and make them look fuller. Now that I’m down to just a couple of rows of brow hair, it’s harder to put the gel on because it’s got nothing to stick to anymore.

I’ve never had ultra long or ultra thick lashes. As long as I’ve worn contacts, I’ve stayed away from wearing false lashes. I figured getting the glue in my eyes or painting it directly onto my contacts would be a bad thing, so I never bothered. That and I have sensitive enough skin that I’m probably allergic to the glue, or I’d pull part of my eyelid or a bunch of my natural lashes off every time I wore them. Thanks, but no.

Lashes function to keep dust and hair and the like out of your eyes, and in my case, off my contact lenses. So along with carrying face masks, a tube of lidocaine, hand lotion, Kleenex, and hand sanitizer bottles, my purse portable pharmacy now also contains a bottle of saline. I remember when I used to just carry a wallet, some change and a couple of pens. Ah, those were the days! Despite all the good things lashes do, it’s not worth the effort or expense to put false lashes on every day. For anyone who wants to tell me that I need to look pretty for me, I think I look just fine the way I am. Even if I do look like Wooly Willy.

About Pink Ribbon Road

This blog is about receiving and living with a breast cancer diagnosis.
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2 Responses to Life without Lashes

  1. Renee Gjerde says:

    Have you thought about ditching your contacts while your eyelashes are gone? Do wearing contacts give you a much better vision than glasses? Can you wear wool stocking caps to keep your head warmer or do they just slide off? It must be strange to have all your body hair gone, though I wouldn’t mind giving up shaving for a while. What a relief that would be. TMI? hahaha! I can relate about the purse/pharmacy. I have so much I have to carry that I use my backpack instead because my shoulder and back would be killing me otherwise. If I could just throw it in the car to have it handy that would be great, but no car here, just public transportation. You get used to it, so when you can jettison all the extras, you will feel light as a butterfly. Look forward to that day and get a bigger purse for now or one of those nice packpack purses that I see so many Norwegian women using. Love, Mary


    • The contacts vs glasses depends on what I’m doing. If I’m out driving or in the car, I need my contacts. I don’t like to drive in my glasses because I don’t have much for peripheral vision while I’m wearing them. At home, I tend to wear glasses mostly. My left lens doesn’t match my prescription so I am having trouble with both distance and reading with the glasses. Kind of a catch 22.

      I am not completely hairless. I had a lot less arm/leg hair on the AC chemo than I do now. What is coming back is really soft and fuzzy. I’m contemplating not shaving ever again. I go back and forth between a purse and a backpack now. While I was traveling, I was actually using a travel shave kit as a purse for my wallet and such. Now it’s just so much other crap and I don’t need the backpack unless I’m going to chemo, generally. I’m not working at the office.


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