A cancer diagnosis is a tough call for anyone, but for most women the prospect of losing their hair, eyebrows and eyelashes through chemotherapy almost outweighs their fears about the outcome of the disease.
Now a brave Uckfield woman has faced those horrors full on and set up a blog to help other sufferers maintain their self-esteem and make the most of themselves while the treatment takes its course.
Last year Emily Parker, 21, a fine art student from Horney Common, Uckfield was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. While taking time out from her course at Aberystwyth University as she underwent months of chemo, she monitored how she looked and felt and used her skills to research ways women could continue to look good.
She bravely posted pictures of the way her own hair fell out and researched make up and body care tips from the Internet, making sure she tried out everything herself before posting it on-line.
The result is a beautiful blog, packed with useful information about shampoos, skin creams and lotions. Emily found out that some worked better than others and set herself up as a guinea pig, not content to take anybody else’s word for their effectiveness.
She said: “I found different brands worked better when going through chemo. Some shampoos and hair growth treatments worked much better than others. I also found there some very good moisturisers. When you undergo chemo your skin gets really dry and I found I was having to moisturise all the time.”
She also experimented with make-up techniques, working out how best to create a dramatic ‘smoky eye’ and found by emphasising some features she could still look her best. She said: “I was so tired that I just wanted to sleep most of the time. But when I felt a bit better, how I looked made a huge difference to how I felt. I could go out and face the world.”
Emily had just finished her second year at Aberystwyth in North Wales when she was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukaemia in June, 2013. She is now in remission and hopes to go back to university to take up the third year of her course. But the make-up research intrigued her so she took a make-up course in Brighton and might consider a full-time job in theatrical make-up.
Alongside wonderful illustrations of day-time and evening faces, Emily has also designed dramatic make-up treatments suitable for a carnival or fete. To see Emily’s amazing work and pick up some tips follow: www.emilyevaalice.blogspot.co.uk