30 December 2010

A Different Kind of Inspiration

I'll be honest with you.

When I first decided that I wanted to start a blog, I wanted it to be all about the pretty things in life: my fashion sense, trend spotting, makeup tips, how my friends and I glam up for parties and the clubbing scene - normal things that any carefree young woman in her early twenties would want to share. I never thought I'd ever have to deal with something as ugly as cancer...at least not during what I considered the prime of my life.

This was my thought process when I had that first appointment with my oncologist, back in mid-November:
Dr. Aziz: "Based on all these test results...Stage 2...very treatable form of cancer...After six to eight rounds of chemotherapy...back to normal..."
Me: (thinking) "What the f*ck?! I'm 21 years old! The worst thing I should be getting sick with is the flu or something! Why me?!" 
(speaking) "...Oh...okay..."
Don't get me wrong. I don't think I'm vain or shallow at all, but I will admit that the very first thing I thought of (that is, as soon as my doctor assured me that I wasn't dying) was how chemotherapy would affect my appearance. I haven't even started my second cycle yet, but my face is already swollen from fluid retention, my skin has already taken on a grayish tone, the base of my nails are starting to turn blue, and not to mention that my PICC line ruins just about every cute outfit I wear. But those weren't even the worst.

My hair started falling out on Christmas Eve. "Great," I thought.  "Merry Christmas to me." Again, I fear that I'm sounding more and more vain and shallow as I write this, but I always thought my hair was one of my best physical features. I had long, beautiful black hair all throughout high school and my first two years of college. During summer 2009, I took the plunge and chopped most of it off - into the most amazing pixie cut ever, à la Alice Cullen. That is the hairstyle I've had ever since. These days, I still have a lot of hair, but it's so thin and weak that I can barely comb it without having clumps fall out. So flat ironing it in the adorable pixie style is pretty much out of the question. So what will I do once I lose so much hair that I have to shave it all off? Wear a wig? A beanie? A turban? A scarf? I haven't decided yet.

As women, I know we're all pretty attached to our hair. We spend hours in front of the mirror, obsessing over every strand that's out of place, arranging and rearranging until everything looks perfect. Who knows? Maybe once I shave my head, I'll feel liberated from not having to worry about all that anymore.

But regardless of how much I complain about how drastically cancer is changing my appearance, I know that real beauty is not something that can be achieved with hair and makeup alone. I was inspired by Bekah of true beauty, never hurries, a wonderful blog that chronicles the ups and downs of living with Hodgkins Lymphoma. The title of her blog really says it all: the true beauty of an individual - both inside and out - takes time to shine. So that is what I'm going to do. I'm going to wait to get better, wait for my face and hair to get back to normal, and still enjoy every day. Despite being sick, this STILL is the prime of my life. And I think I'm still beautiful. There. I said it. And it feels amazing.

So...is it possible to maintain a fashion and beauty blog while fighting cancer?

Why the heck not?


  1. Hi Gayle! Thanks so much for your comment. I'm very sorry that you are having to go through this. I know too many young people with cancer. I think you have a good attitude and let this blog be your outlet. Have a happy new year :)
    Love&Lace blog

  2. Thank you, Stephanie! I hope you have a happy new year too! :)

  3. Hi Gayle I would say you are such a strong and a wonderful attitude towards lymhoma and I know, smart and confident docs and nurses can give u a lot of good reassurance but theres always that fear and doubt hah.I've seen and take care of C patients has lymphoma and Dr. A is right very good prognosis its just hard to deal w/ the side effects of chemo both physical and emotional but it will get better and better. Keep your positive drive always and Happy New year to you and your family. God Bless

  4. Hello Gayle this is your Uncle Anjo "Yuki Asakura" in your facebook account.

    I'm sad to know that you have this illness and I'm shocked when Mom told me about this. We have different challenges in life. As we encounter these obstacles we will be able to learn, endure and see life in different perspective. Always have faith in God and never loose hope. The family will always be with you and pray for you even we are far away from you. Stay strong Gayle and stay positive.

  5. Gayle I had no idea! Wow you are sucha strong person to have a positive attitude about this! A lot of people would give up but I know you better than that :) I am always here for you even if I'm miles away! I love ya and I know things will get better!

  6. Hello Gayle! You are amazing! You are beautiful in and out. After all these side effects wear out you'll be even more lovely.We love you and will continue to pray for you.


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