Bald Eyes by Laura Bailey

A bald head is synonymous with cancer treatment. Losing your hair is most people’s worst nightmare. I thought it would be mine. My relationship with hair loss turned out to be far more complex than I ever imagined. I thought I would fall apart, that I would hate my reflection. Feel weak. But I didn’t. I actually felt empowered.

What I didn’t anticipate was the effect of losing every other hair on my body would have on me. I joked it was nice not having to shave but deep down it was eerie. My body hair meant far more then I knew. I had my eyebrows micro-bladed a week after my first chemo. So, I was saved the trauma of seeing myself without them but when my eyelashes started to fall out it hit me hard.

Falsies were not an option, I am allergic to the glue but also the anxiety of them coming off would have been too much. I had a few disastrous encounters with black eyeliner trying in vain to give my face some familiar definition. I devised a way using eye shadow to make me feel comfortable and confident with bald eyes.

I’m not a vain person I have always been comfortable without make up but my bald eyes caused me to feel ugly and beaten. I understand that is how some women feel when they lose the hair on their head. Like all aspects of cancer, it is totally bespoke. What effects one might not affect the other.

I kept all this to myself. I felt ridiculous and embarrassed that my eye lashes meant so much to me. I remember feeling so relieved and happy when they started growing back which made losing them again so much harder. I was diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer a few months later and the drugs I was put on made what I had fall out.

Thankfully 2 years on I have them back. I look after them with a special serum and have a sleep mask that protects them. I wish I opened up at the time more. I might have found someone who understood me. That could have stopped me feeling alone.

Hair grows back but that doesn’t erase the trauma we go through losing it in the first place. It is a big part of our identity which I feel is sadly played down. Yes, I am grateful for the treatments that keep me alive. but I am also allowed to feel sad about what I lost, even if it does grow back.



Laura can be found on Instagram: @thatmumwithcancer See her posts below:



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