Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What does a cancer patient look like?

I know I have been the absolute worst blogger ever.  I apologize.  Today, though, I have something to say.  A friend of mine, who I met through work, has Follicular Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  She has recently been called a liar about the fact that she has cancer and actually took the person who called her a liar to her doctor's appointment to prove that she was telling the truth.

That's nonsense.

Why does this topic irritate me so much?  Because I was also called a liar.  So many times.  Not by anyone I ever met in person but by people who could hide behind their computers and call me names.  Because of this infamous picture (well, it feels infamous to me because it just pops up again and again haha).

So, in case you don't already know my story, I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 26.  No family history, no lynch syndrome, no real reason that I can figure out that I could have colon cancer.  Stage IV.  I googled survival rates and do you know what they told me?  That, statistically, I had a 6% chance of being alive in 5 years.  I'm sure if you heard that news you can imagine how that would make someone feel.  

So what did I have to do treatment-wise?  I had a left hemicolectomy where they removed the tumor from my colon, along with a foot of my colon, and the about 17 lymph nodes, 11 of which came back as cancerous.

I also started an intense chemotherapy regimen of 12 rounds of Oxaliplatin, leucovorin, 5FU, and Avastin.  I went every other week for my infusions and had to wear a pump home (which stayed attached to my port) to infuse one of the medicines into my body over 46 hours.  Here's a picture of me attached to my pump (they had given me a fanny pack to wear it in but that wasn't happening, I bought this bag from Target and it fit the pump in it perfectly). 

I also had a liver resection, which included removing 60% of my liver.

I thought I was done with chemo when I took the infamous picture.  My oncologist changed his mind and decided to then have me to 11 rounds of Xeloda (the chemo pill) and Avastin (which I had to have infused through my port).

I had a few hiccups and hospitalizations (and an emergency surgery) along the way but this is the shortened version of my story, which took place over about 17 months.

I went through what felt like a lot.  My body's internal strength was tested to the extreme.  But what did I look like when I was going through this?  Allow me to show you.  These are all pictures taken while I was on my intense chemo regimen.

I look like a normal girl, right?  I am normal girl.  I just happen to have had cancer.  Do I look like what you picture when you imagine someone with stage IV cancer going through active treatment?  Probably not.

Guess what?  Cancer doesn't always look the same.  

You do not always lose your hair.  Let me repeat, you do not always lose your hair.  Yes it happens a lot, but not all of the time!  My hair thinned out but I did not lose it all.  

You do not always get emaciated.  Again, yes, this does happen, but not always.  In fact, a lot of people actually gain weight on chemo because of the steroids they give you.

There is no rule that says you cannot wear makeup or jewelry.  A huge reason people decided I was not telling the truth is because I wore makeup and jewelry to chemo.  My oncologist never told me that was against the rules and I have yet to see a study how makeup and jewelry can interfere with how well chemo works.

You can wear your own clothes to chemo if you go to an outpatient cancer center like I did.  I was not admitted to a hospital to have my chemo given to me.  I'd show up, they'd do my infusion, I'd leave that same day and come back a couple days later to have my pump unhooked.  

You can still try to live your life normally.  Cancer can be very overwhelming and can easily consume your life.  If you try to keep things normal and do things you would do even if you didn't have cancer, it makes you feel more normal, despite everything else going on.  There are definitely days when you don't feel well but trying to live like a normal person makes things a little better.

So why do I feel the need to write this all out?  Because it drives me mad that people, who have no idea what it's like to have cancer, feel like they can call people, who are fighting for their lives, liars because we don't look "sick enough."  Why do I have to look "sick" for you to believe me?  First, what does sick look like?  And why is it that me looking sick would make you feel more comfortable?  Does it make you uncomfortable because if a normal looking girl can get cancer, that means that you could too?  You could.  Anyone can get cancer.  It does not care how old, young, strong, healthy, you are.  You could be a vegan marathon runner and somehow still end up with cancer.  Anyone could have or get cancer.  

And before you go calling people liars, how about you educate yourself and find out the truth.  Put yourself in our shoes.  We have fought, with everything our bodies have, to live and you're looking at us saying, "no you didn't."  Based on what?  The fact I still have hair?

I am currently cancer-free, by the way.  This is me holding my latest scan results (wearing my awesome shirt from Stupid Cancer)!! 
I am appreciative that God gave me this challenge in my life because it has made me so aware of how misinformed people are about cancer and cancer patients.  I'm doing what I can to change that.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Urban Decay Naked 3 Review

I purchased the Urban Decay Naked 3 the day after it released at my Sephora.  So I've owned it for about a month now.  So this is a tried and true review.  I've given it a chance, I've used it a lot, I've seen what the colors can or can not do.  And I'm sure you're sick to death of Naked 3 reviews but I figured I should write this.

Let's start off by saying I was sooo excited for this palette.  I looked at swatches and reviews from the people who get sent palettes to try and review before they're for sale.  I saw it and immediately thought what an awesome bridal palette this would be.  And it is.

This palette retails for $52.  $52 sounds like a lot but when you think about the fact that you're getting 12 full-sized Urban Decay shadows, which retail for $18/apiece, you're actually saving $164 by buying them in a palette.

The colors:

What Urban Decay (I'm going to call them UD) says: "pale neutral-pink matte satin"
What I think:  their description is pretty good, but there's just the slightest hint of pink in there, it's really a good neutral color.

What UD says: "pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter"
What I think:  This shadow is no bueno.  The color itself is really pretty.  However, it's kinda chalky and you really don't get any kind of color payoff from it.  It really is like pink fairy dust, as you're left with a light pink glitter.

What UD says: "light pinky-peach satin"
What I think:  I'd call it more of a shimmer, but it's pretty.

What UD says: "light dusty rose matte"
What I think:  Gorgeous color.  I love this one.  It's a purple-based pink matte shadow.  It's beautiful.

What UD says: "metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter"
What I think:  This is not a glitter like their other glitters.  You can barely see it.  So it's more just a shimmery shadow.  I love the color.

What UD says: "light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-glitter"
What I think:  It's a coppery-rose gold with glitter.  Not my favorite color in the bunch but I'm also not huge on golds.  I don't love UD's Half Baked shadow either, which is in both of the other Naked palettes.

What UD says: "medium pinky-brown matte:
What I think:  This color is probably my favorite color in the palette.  This and "Limit" are.  These mattes are really smooth and blend really, really well.  This one is great for adding depth to the crease.

What UD says: "medium metallic mauve shimmer"
What I think:  It's a pretty shimmery color for a smokey eye.

What UD says:  "pinky-brown satin"
What I think:  I love that this isn't super shimmery, just slightly.  Another great color for a smokey eye.

What UD says: "metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift"
What I think:  I guess if you look really hard, you can see the pink in there but it's basically a taupe color.  Quite shimmery.

What UD says: "deep taupe-mauve satin"
What I think:  It's a shimmery dark grey purpley pink color haha.  Does that make sense?  This photographed less purple than it looks in person.

What UD says:  "smokey black matte with rosy red microsparkle"
What I think:  To me, it doesn't look black.  It looks like a deep, deep reddish brown with rose sparkles.  This color is WAY more pigmented than I had expected.  LOVE this color!  This color looks more black in the picture than it does in person.

Swatches of the colors over the sample of their original Primer Potion:

I own all three Naked palettes.  I was really excited about this one because it was different from the others, it was more specific.  I do like it.  I think the colors are all pretty and nicely pigmented (with the exception of "Dust").  However, here's my problem:  I have used this palette many, many times and I have used different colors in different places, over different bases and I've really mixed up where and how I use the colors... all of the looks I have done look the same.  I don't know how that's possible or why that is but it's true.  No matter what I do, everything looks the same.  I also wish there was a shimmery highlight color because "Dust" just doesn't work.

I still think this palette is an AMAZING bridal palette!!  It looks great on everyone I've seen it on, from dark skin to light skin, blue eyes to brown eyes, especially green eyes.  So it really is beautiful and neutral.  Just don't expect to get a huge range of looks from this palette because I've tried and it hasn't happened haha.  

So here's a bridal look I did when I got the palette:

And the color placement:

Did you get a Naked 3 yet?  What do you think?  If not, do you plan to get one?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Smokey eye how-to (with pictures)!

I've been asked what process I use to achieve a smokey eye so I decided it'd be easiest to show you.  So I did a picture tutorial.  Here's the look we're going to achieve today:

Now, how to do it:

1. Prime eyelid, I used Too Faced Shadow Insurance.  I have also already chosen to line the inner rims of my eyes, both top and bottom, with a black gel liner, I used "Immortal" from Makeup Geek.

2. For good smokey eyes, you'll want to use a base of some sort to add some extra depth to your shadow, I usually use NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Black Bean".  Since I'm doing a blue look, I used a blue gel liner, "Electric" from Makeup Geek.  I took this under my eye as well.

3. Top base with your darkest color.  I used MAC's "Sea & Sky" mineralized eyeshadow duo, the darker color of the two.  I made sure that I took this color high enough that you could still just barely see it when I opened my eyes (I have hooded eyelids).

4. Take a mid-toned blending color and place along the edge of your dark color.  I used "Purely Naked" from Makeup Geek.

5.  Blend the colors together, trying to create an almost seamless fade from one color to the other.  You will probably have to go back and add more blue, then more tan, then more blue, and so forth to get the blending right.

6. To make my highlight color stand out more and clean up the line of my brow, I add NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Milk" (which I have melted into a little pot and apply with a concealer brush) under my brow.

7. Add highlight color on top of the white base.  I chose "Bling" from Makeup Geek.

8. Go back with the tan color and blend that up into your highlight color, again trying to crease a seamless fade.

9. With my eye shape, I need a bit of depth in the outer v area so I added some black ("Corrupt" from Makeup Geek).

10. Blend that well and add some liner.  I chose Motives Luxe Precision Eye line in "Jet Black."

11. Add mascara.  I used Benefit "They're Real" mascara.  This would be way better if I had felt like going the extra mile and adding false lashes!!

12.  Now it's time to clean up around your eye.  Brush off and fallout and clean up under your eyes.  On top of brows use a slightly too-light concealer to help highlight the area.

13. Blend that out and set with a translucent powder.

Add simple face makeup and a nude lip and you're good to go!

Face makeup:
Revlon Colorstay for oily/combo skin "Sand Beige"
Maybelline Fit Me concealer
Maybelline Dark Circle Eraser "Fair"
Ben Nye Translucent Fair setting powder
Benefit "Coralista" blush

Rimmel brow pencil
Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder duo "Taupe"
ELF Studio cream liner "Coffee"

NYX "Natural" lipliner
NYX "Harmonica" lipstick (this color is seriously horrible unless you use a liner and top it with a gloss!!)
Buxom lipgloss "Debbie"

And then I put together this little picture tutorial with the highlights if you want to see it all together!

I hope this was at least kind of helpful!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

September Cancer Awareness!

Ok, so I had this brilliant idea to try to, each month, raise awareness for the cancers whose awareness month it is by doing makeup inspired by their ribbon colors.  I picked a difficult month to start this idea haha.  September has eight cancers whose awareness month it is.  That's crazy.  So I decided to do this on my blog facebook page (click here to check it out!) and ask you guys to also contribute.  I mean, I can't spread awareness all alone!!

So September is ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, gynecological cancer, and childhood cancer awareness month.  So here are the looks:

Childhood cancer (gold):  This is so important to me because I wouldn't wish cancer on my worst enemy, let alone and innocent child.  If anyone in this world deserves cancer the least, it is a child.  We lose so many children each year to this horrible, horrible disease.  

Multiple Myeloma (burgundy): This cancer is important to me because it's what my grandmother died from.  It's a crazy cancer that attacks the plasma cells of blood and shows itself in really weird ways.  It affects kidneys and bones and other ways I'll never understand.

Leukemia (orange):  Leukemia is a cancer of the blood.  I have known quite a few people who have had leukemia.  This affects people of all ages.  My Uncle Brian had leukemia, he got an infection from having his immune system so suppressed from chemotherapy and that took his life.

Lymphoma (lime):  Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the cells of your immune system, called lymphocytes.  My husband's coworker had a swollen lymphnode on his neck.  After some convincing, he went to the doctor about it, the doctor said it was an infection and gave him an antibiotic.  When the lump hadn't gone away, my husband convinced him he needed to get it looked at again (this was shortly after I was diagnosed).  So he did.  It was Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Luckily it was caught early and he's ok after chemotherapy and radiation.

Prostate Cancer (light blue):  Researching a little bit, I found out that prostate cancer is diagnosed in 80% of men who reach age 80.  That's insane!  It is the second leading cancer-related death in men in the United States.

Ovarian Cancer (teal):  There is no good screening for ovarian cancer, no preventative screening.  Women need to pay attention to their bodies and listen to any symptoms they may be showing.  Some possible symptoms include pelvic discomfort or pain, loss of appetite or feeling full quickly, changes in bowel or bladder habits, low back pain, etc.

Gynecological Cancer (peach):  This includes ovarian, uterine, cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.  Women really need to be as proactive in screening for these as they are in screening for breast cancer.  These cancers are serious and they affect so many women each year!  Go for your pap-smear (I know, they suck!) every year because you owe it to yourself to make sure everything is good!

Thyroid cancer (teal, blue, and pink):  I have read that thyroid cancer doesn't always have symptoms so it can be really hard to find and diagnose.  Thyroid cancer starts with a thyroid nodule, most aren't cancerous, but they could be.  If you feel a lump in your neck, a swollen lymphnode, if you have a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing or breathing, you should get it checked out.  There's no need to play around with something like that!

There is a lot of information out there about all of these cancers.  I have said it about a million times, but I will say it again.  If something is wrong in your body and you know it, go get it checked out.  Too often we put things off because "it'll get better" (I'm completely guilty of this).  Your life isn't worth risking!!

I did these looks to celebrate everyone who has been touched by any of these diseases and their loved ones.  I think all cancers are important and people need to learn about them!