SLAYING the effects of chemotherapy on the body
 For anyone who IMG_3531thinks having cancer is just about losing your hair, IT’S NOT! It’s an entire change of your entire life and it just totally sucks. However, when I was diagnosed, I made a personal vow to myself that I would try my damnedest to continue to SLAY as much I possibly can. I know all of this may sound shallow to some but keeping my appearance and stylish demeanor is important for me and is also good for my morale. It is easy to dwell on how horrible you may feel or look when you lose your hair, feel nauseous, or when you don’t have the energy to hang out with your friends like you used to before being diagnosed. One can easily feel unsexy. Or uncool. So trying to look “Normal” and even having fun with your new look really helps. Cancer may not be a choice, but having a sense of style and feeling good about yourself is!


Here’s a list of a few challenges that I have come up against so far and some tips I’ve compiled to help breast cancer patients adjust to their “new normal”.


1)The most noticeable challenge: LOST or THINNING HAIR:
NO HAIR DON’T CARE—-> Before my diagnosis, I had shoulder length locs but I would consistently use head scarfs and wraps on ‘lazy days’ or when I simply wanted to add prints and colors to my outfit. My wrap obsession has obviously increased now. I have a wardrobe styling background so I kinda just let my hands go where they may and my creations end up coming out not half bad. There are however many headscarf companies that offer pre-tied options with full head coverage that are super simple to use. Another popular option is sporting a wig. I took a quick trip to my around the way beauty supply store and copped a curly piece (Read my blog post “Deniece meet Anais for deets on my wig adventure). I definitely plan on getting a few more falsies too! Synthetic wigs look great because they are straightened or curled perfectly and are reasonably priced. One can use this time to have fun with different styles. LAST but certainly not least is the option of rocking your baldie!! I consistently stalk, I mean admire, the @thebaldiemovement page on IG. I can humbly admit that I am not yet 100% comfy rocking my baldie as yet! It will take some time but I know I will soon embrace my beautiful bald bad self!!!!


FullSizeRenderEyebrows on fleek or nah?!? ——> Swiftly after realizing I would lose ALL My hair, I realized I would lose my lashes and eyebrows too!. Thankfully *insert sarcasm* I have witty friends who reminded me ” De, you didnt have much eyebrows pre-cancer and have been drawing those suckas in!!” (shouts to my Mango Room crew lol).
So basically, nothing has changed on the eyebrow front. Makeup techniques can hide the loss of eyebrows and can give the appearance of eyelashes. On the bright side, I am finally able to shape my brows in a shape I’ve always wanted because I simply dont have ANY!! (hahaha) I draw them on with a pencil, fill in with a powder and stiff angle brush, then fix them with clear mascara. As for my lashes, Im still using my regular ole mascara for the regular day.
I use a gel or powder eyeliner close to my bare lash line…When stepping out, I throw on quick lash strip for a bolder and brighter look!!
**INSERT SHAMELESS PLUG :Stay tuned for a YouTube tutorial from celebrity make up artist Natasha Denis ( @tashnd ) where she focuses on makeup application geared specifically for breast cancer patients with yours truly as her humble model**


Keep calm and paint your nails  —–> I had absolutely no idea that finger and toe nails would be an issue while undergoing chemotherapy. Mine have become somewhat black and extremely fragile. I’ve been sporting dark polish to protect my nails from photosensitive reactions to chemo. The skin around my nails have become extremely sensitive so cuticles can be pushed back but can not be cut! Also, no more gel polish for me since those materials can trap bacteria that may cause infection.*le sigh* And the way my immune system is set up, I have to stay far away from nail techs that are not sensitve to my current nail issues. ANY risk of an infection is a complete NO NO for BC patients! I also make sure to use natural nail oils to prevent chipping, ridged and split nails. To prevent nails from drying out, I only utilize non-acetone-based nail polish remover.


Coconut Oil Can Save A Life ——>Many BC patients do not anticipate that their treatments will have an impact on their skin. I certainly did not! Chemotherapy treatments can be extremely harsh on the skin. In general, skin can become compromised which means dryness, thinness and/or discoloration. Many cancer patients seek products with exclusively organic and plant based ingredients. We all know Coconut Oil is the answer for all things and I know this for sure NOW more than EVER! Its very very verrrrry important to keep one’s skin moistured while going thru chemotherapy. Keeping skin as moist as possible during treatment is important to keep it looking young and healthy.  It is also equally important to avoid exposure to chemicals.


No more Duck Lips?!?——->  I recommend using a richly hydrating lip balm because chemo causes dry and chapped lips. Avoid the seductive “healing lip balm” ingredients that often get you addicted to lip balm; these ingredients can actually chap your lips, leaving your running for more lip balm. Use lip balms made from only the active moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, petrolatum, and/or glycerin. AFTER applying my lip balm, I slap on my fav lip colors for pop!! Aowwww!!!


Regardless of my current circumstance, physical state or lifestyle change, I’ve discovered how to project self assurance and courage through the way I dress and how I take care or my skin. I figure this is one of the best ways to maintain my dignity while living with this disease. During the past 3 months since being diagnosed, I have constantly been hit with different forms of “You dont look sick Deniece!” from family, friends and even strangers. It hasnt been easy and I’m sure other women with breast cancer know that getting dressed and looking stylish can be a daunting challenge.I’ve come to the realization that SLAYING is a significant part of who I am and I would be cheating myself (and others) by submerging into my illness.


I’m on a mission to:
I am