Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hair Follicles and Eye Lashes

"Do you feel like watching a tear jerker?" I asked my mother. She had dodged the patches of ice and crossed the driveway from her apartment over the garage and sat in our living room.

"Sure. I guess so," she said.

I pointed the remote at the TV and selected My Sister's Keeper on the On-Demand menu. "I've heard it's a really sad movie. You sure you're up for it?" She reassured me she'd be fine. I put a box of Kleenex in the middle of the coffee table.

Friends told me to avoid the movie; they thought it would be hard for me to watch. It really wasn't. Yes, I got teary-eyed and even wanted to sob out loud at one point, but managed to keep it together in front of my husband and mother. The story line about Anna's refusal to donate a kidney, one more medical procedure among many for which she had been genetically engineered from birth as a donor for her sister, Kate, fighting leukemia, seemed a little far fetched and I figured out the twist early on. However, the depiction of leukemia rang authentic given my experience walking alongside my niece fighting leukemia.

It is always interesting to see how Hollywood handles the hair loss of chemotherapy. They always look like shaved heads, not shiny bald from hair follicles dying. And one thing that can never be accurately depicted is the loss of eyelashes. Both Kate and her love interest, who also had leukemia, had lovely, dark eye lashes. My eyelash-free eyelids make my eyes look small and encased in bare flesh. I haven't figured out a way to make them up short of using fake eyelashes. I could have bought some at the wig shop and told the nice sales lady that maybe I'd be back after I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes. I haven't gone back. I've gotten used to the plain-Jane look. A little blush and I'm good to go!

Hollywood has its limits and I guess only those of us who've had the real experiences will pick up on them. Mom mentioned mid way through the movie that it sure was a tear jerker, but I was the only one blowing my nose and dabbing my naked eyes!


  1. I'm a complete mess when I watch those types of movies. Can't hold back the tears.

  2. Here's my story of no eyelashes: I was going to my 20th high school reunion a month after finishing chemo...I was wearing a wig (and in the humidity, no one could understand how I got my hair so straight after years of being so curly...) but I was SO self-conscious of not having eyelashes (and was uncertain I could glue on fake ones) that I had some temporary ones put on from my manicure salon. Okay, I had about SEVEN lashes on each eye and it looked horrible, but that's how worried I was about not having any.

    In any event, the woman who put on the fake lashes told me to be careful rubbing my eyes because the lashes might fall out...well, I must not have washed my eyes over the reunion weekend because I came home with PINK EYE!!! And I know it was because of those stupid lashes and my paranoia of losing the few I had put on...oh well! They have grown back now (only a few months later) and I am so glad for that!

    Happy New Year and I hope you are feeling well post-surgery!

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