Loving the Skin You’re In

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So, if you know me or have been following my blog for awhile, then you know that last year I had cancer (I hate to keep saying that over and over but though there is currently no evidence of cancer, it and the treatment effects are still impacting my life. The gift that keeps on giving, ha ha, ugh). When my hair started coming out two weeks into chemo (i repeat, UGH) I decided to just get my head shaved cuz the clumping and constant hair loss was really a pain in the butt. So I went to a lovely salon called Posh in the town where I was about to move and had what remained of a lifetime of long hair buzzed off (read about that here). A group of girlfriends joined me for moral support, pictures and ice cream afterward.

ANYWHO, I was oblivious to what else was going on that day in the salon, and unbeknownst to me, there was an esthetician there that day who noticed the group of ladies at my side and the laughter and support they offered me.

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Skip ahead to just a couple months ago, I got a private message on Facebook from a woman named Afrodite (what a great name!) explaining who she was and what she’d seen that day, and offering me a complimentary facial because she was interested in oncology skincare therapy (read: specializing in skin care for cancer patients). Ooh! How lovely! I’d never had a facial so this certainly seemed intriguing, and several weeks later I found myself in her new soothing studio.

I asked Afrodite about oncology skin care (something I’d never even realized existed!) and she explained that the emphasis is on DETOX. Between surgery, medications and treatments, the last thing a cancer patient needs is more chemicals. She looks for holistic ways of treating skin issues that arise from cancer treatments. Those issues vary based on the specific chemo/radiation treatments used but it is usually extreme dryness and dehydration of the skin, acne and sometimes burns from radiation. I personally struggled with facial acne during the second half of my chemo, until only just recently. At a time when you’ve already lost your hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, to add a faceful of acne just added insult to injury!

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Afrodite became interested in this specialty while attending beauty school and accompanying a friend during chemotherapy treatments. The friend talked about the changes she was going through physically, and while losing her hair and experiencing skin changes were small sacrifices when fighting for her life, she felt like she really needed to feel and look good to feel “normal” at a time when so much of her life was not normal. She started getting facials monthly as a way of relaxing, which she felt was important in her recovery. After this experience, Afrodite found an online school in Atlanta, Georgia (The Skincare Therapy Institute, Corp) and earned a certificate in Oncology Skincare Therapy.

Afrodite plans to build her practice in this specialty of esthetics. She also does eyelash extensions for clients that lost theirs during treatment. She researched skin care lines made specifically for these special care clients and found a company called Hale & Hush, whose products she loves using.

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Fast forward to me lying under a sheet on a warming bed in her darkened studio, gentle yoga-ish music playing, soft scents filling the air…and rich lotions and potions being applied to my face with a feather touch. Products were brushed on, rubbed in and gently wiped off. Puffs of steam kept the air and my face hydrated. It all felt sort of mysterious as I mostly kept my eyes closed and never *really* knew what was going on, but it was extremely relaxing.

Afterwards, she sent me home with some Hale & Hush face wash to use on my newly hydrated skin. I’m not much of a “product” person, mostly I just wash my face in the shower with the same bar soap I use on my body, scrubbing hard with a Buf Puf to exfoliate, followed by Trader Joe’s antioxidant facial moisturizer. But I *am* using the face wash she gave me and it does feel nice.

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Afrodite said, “If I can make one woman feel better during this challenging time of her life than it was all worth it.” Well, she certainly made *me* feel better. I’ve had no acne breakouts since that day in her studio and the whole experience prompted me to make “pamper myself” my main resolution for 2018.

If you’re local and interested in a facial or eyelash extensions, or want to treat a loved one going through cancer treatments to a really special experience, reach out to Afrodite Boukas at (631) 645-0115 or by visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Lash-Goddess-by-Aphrodite-1872189119763998/

I’m so grateful to Afrodite for noticing me that day in Posh and for extending this generous invitation.

Thanks to my daughter for taking pictures that day.

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Top 5 Fashion Schlub Posts of 2017

Here we are at the end of the year that I thought would NEVER end…and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what the most popular posts were from this roller coaster year.

In the #5 spot was a Week in Review post just after I got out of the hospital in April. Boy, I hope to never spend that much time in a hospital again!

The 4th most popular post was a much happier occasion, which was moving into my new apartment back in August.  That really was a great change for me and my life and I’m still grateful every day for the opportunity.

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In the #3 position was a post about gratitude for all the people who’d been so great during my time in the hospital.

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The 2nd most popular post was me getting cranky about starting to lose my hair due to chemo. That was a tough time. I feel like I’d been pretty stoic about all the cancer-related events leading up to this, but…losing my hair? Nope. I was gonna moan and complain about that.

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And the Top Post of 2017 was when I had my head shaved during chemo. Yeah, that was an interesting time…and I’m still living with the effects of it.

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Wow, what am I going to blog about in 2018 if I don’t get sick or move again? Haha (funny not funny)??

I am so thankful for all of you that have been reading my posts and commenting and sharing – it means so much to me and it’s been nice knowing I have friends along on my journey. I hope to have more fun adventures in 2018, so let’s look forward to that as we close out 2017.

I’m going to take the rest of this week off from posting…but I’ll see y’all next year!

 

The Perks of Being Bald

Believe it or not, I have actually enjoyed some benefits of baldness the past few months since going through chemo (read about that here).

  • Cost-saving: no salon cuts or colors or expensive products
  • No. Bad. Hair. Days. EVER.
  • No cursing the humidity, rain, wind, fog (see above)
  • No hat or bed head
  • Showers are *super* fast
  • No time spent styling
  • When it’s really hot, the car ac hits your SCALP and cools you like INSTANTLY
  • You don’t have to shave your legs. Ever. (cuz the chemo makes you bald *everywhere*)
  • No chin hairs!
  • You can drive with the windows down and not worry about messing up or tangling your hair

So many perks to baldness. And yet….

Way back in the beginning of September, about a month after getting my head shaved, I was getting weary of the head scarves I was wearing every day and I knew they were not going to cut it once the cold weather came. So my daughter and I checked out a local wig shop.

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There were a GAZILLION options. And people had been saying things to me like “ooh, you can really have fun with a wig – go crazy!” But…I didn’t want to be “crazy.” I just wanted to feel like ME again.

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I finally narrowed the options down to one…although I couldn’t try it in the color I wanted, so I had to order it just based on the style and HOPE the color that I selected from a teeny tiny little sample was going to be right. Plus, the name of the wig was Hunter, which is one of my wonderful past dogs.

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Then I waited. First the wig shop made a mistake on the insurance form and the claim was denied. I spoke to the insurance company who said well THAT’S a mistake, of COURSE you’re covered…have the wig shop people send a corrected form and we’ll expedite the process. Then I waited again. Eventually the insurance responded to the claim…denied again! WTH??? Now my work’s HR person got on their case…I mean, REALLY got on their case…and FINALLY, just last week, after two months of nonsense..I finally got my wig!!!

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It’s taking a little getting used to…it’s certainly not like having your own hair, and I won’t even wear it every day…but at least I can when I want to! And I finally feel like ME again, and that’s what I wanted.

PS: this was the surprise I mentioned in Sunday’s Week in Review post!

The Future of Fashion Schlub

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When I started The Schlub in February 2016, I was SO excited and had so many ideas. What I didn’t realize was how much support I would need from other people (GIANT THANKS TO ALL MY FRIENDS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND NON-PHOTOGRAPHERS ALIKE!!!) to get good blog photos and how much time it really took to create quality content. But I still managed to meet all my goals in Year One – number of followers, regularity of posting, that sort of thing. And in the beginning of 2017 I created new goals…and then dum dum dum DUMMMM….stupid cancer, and the accompanying surgery and treatments and feeling crappy and exhausted all the time…and this year really just became about keeping my head above water. A lot of people would say “don’t worry about the blog, just take of yourself!” But I really needed something else to focus on so I didn’t just lay around feeling lousy and sorry for myself. So I tried my best to keep the blog going. I definitely had some slow spots but I feel I’m back now, at least where I was before. And now I’m feeling ready to grow again.

And I’m asking for *your* help. Yes, Fashion Schlub was started to follow my journey, but I would like it to be *your* journey, too. So if there are things you would like to see or learn about, please let me know. If there are things other bloggers do that you think are fun/interesting/etc, and you’d like to see me do it, too, share that with me.

That’s it. I just wanted to say I know Fashion Schlub was not all that exciting this year, and that going forward I plan to make it better. And thank you to all of you who continue to read and post comments, I appreciate every one of you and the fact that you’re still here!