I'm proud of my scars – and my cuddly toys
Fashion devotee Laura Cannon warmed the hearts of thousands of online readers as she blogged about her battle with cancer – but wrote about how to look glamorous through chemotherapy.
Laura, 23, of Salcombe, Devon, was diagnosed with breast cancer and endured months of toxic medication and a double mastectomy.
But she decided to add a touch of glamour to her ordeal and started an online guide on how to stay beautiful during the treatment – attracting more than 100,000 followers online.
In the second of a two-part feature, the Western Morning News today publishes more extracts from her blog in which she explains the different ways the disease and chemotherapy affected her looks – and her top beauty tips to help overcome them.
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In her blog – entitled 'Laura Louise and her Naught Disease' – she nicknamed her cancer Kenneth and recommended painting chemo- damaged nails with pretty colours because "a little bit of glam gives you something nice to look at".
Her quirky blog posts have been read all over the world and a host of celebs including Caroline Flack, Gary Barlow and Russell Brand have tweeted their support.
She also won the best newcomer award at the Cosmopolitan magazine blogging awards last month.
Here are some extracts from her blog http://www.laura louiseandhernaughtydisease. blogspot.co.uk/ which she started in January this year:
March 24, 2013
My nails are going black at the nail bed (attractive or what?) I had been warned about this side effect but rather naively thought it wouldn't happen to me because I try to take such great care of my nails. I use nail oil, hand cream, protective base coats etc. Nope, Kenneth has gone and got me again, but did I let him win? Don't be silly, I decided to disguise said ugliness with some coral and gold glittery loveliness instead. Ha, take that Kenneth! Now when I look at my hands I don't feel angry at Kenneth but proud of my mad nail painting skillzzz.
May 4, 2013
Coping with Chemotherapy. Advice from a hair obsessed chemotherapy graduate.
Water. Drink it. Lots of it. This is particularly important to do the day before, the day of and the day after each treatment. I tried to drink at least two litres, ideally two and a half. Believe me it makes a big difference to how you feel.
Keep your arm as warm as possible after chemo. I cut the end off of a fluffy sock and wore that on my arm.
Try to keep active. I know this is harder than it sounds, even just going for some gentle walks can really help.
Moisturise. I found that my skin got really dry during both treatments, particularly my hands and face, so invest in some good moisturiser and keep hydrated. You don't want wrinkles on top of everything else!
Hair loss. This is a biggie for most people. In my case, I knew it was inevitable, but some people on different chemotherapy drugs keep their hair. I waited until it became too distressing to watch it fall out any longer and took myself off to the hair dresser, choosing to have it shaved into various different hairstyles for a laugh before shaving the last bit off myself.
Taste change can be horrible. I often found cold foods tasted better and drinks worked best with a straw.
June 5, 2013
My hair is growing back nicely, I almost have a full covering of hair which is very exciting. However Summer is proving to be difficult for head accessorising. I find I often get too hot in my wig and beanies. What can I do? I have tried some Summery hats on but they all look weird as I seem to have a small head and the hats are just too big. When I have more hair I think I will be able to get away with them, but for now I just look like a mutant extra large baby in a sunhat. Especially when I put my factor 50 sun cream on too.
June 16, 2013
So how have I prepared for my big operation and hospital stay? I have been busy trying to pamper myself so I have had lots of long hot bubble baths, whacked on a couple of face masks and massaged my head in the hope of stimulating some hair growth.
Tomorrow evening I will arrive at the hospital armed with absolutely everything I can think of to make my stay there a bit more bearable. I am not afraid to add that that includes Hank the hippo my good luck charm from my sister, Duck (a now slightly greying cuddly toy) who I have had since I was a baby (yes that is right, aged 22 I am taking TWO cuddly toys into hospital with me, so what?) and my trusted pink beanie hat.
Wow reading that back I realise just how cool I must sound to all of you!
July 20, 2013
Operation kick Kenneth out! So here I am nearly 5 weeks post surgery writing to you all KENNETH FREE. I could pretend that everything has been sunshine and giggles for the past 5 weeks, but that would be all I was doing, pretending I mean. You see in truth moments of the past 5 weeks have probably been some of the hardest moments of my life and it would be wrong of me to pretend otherwise. Although I have remained fairly upbeat and positive throughout my treatment, there were some moments where I was overcome with grief.
A full recovery is going to take a long time, I am still very tired, covered in cuts and bruises and mentally exhausted but I have proven to myself how brave I really am. I have learned that sometimes it is OK to cry, in fact it's natural and part of the healing process. I've realised that sometimes I need to let people know how I'm really feeling because they can actually help. Most importantly I now firmly believe that having conquered the last eight months I really can do anything!
August 14, 2013
I saw my plastic surgeon on Monday. When he looked at his handiwork the words "DING DONG" actually came out of his mouth *cue blushes. I mean that has got to be good news right? I still need to have a couple of other operations to finish things off but I must say that I am also pretty happy with the result so far. Once I am all healed the only unusual thing about me will be my scars. Scars that I will learn to be proud of because they will remind me of my strength. They are my battle scars. A battle that I am planning on winning.
I have also been working on how to rock the whole very short hair look. It is pretty difficult to feel feminine with hair this short. I actually turned a little diva-ish the other day and rocked it out with some pretty mega accessories.
I have also been busy thanking the Universe muchly for Beyonce, Rhianna, Jessie J and their new short hair dos. Maybe people will now just think I'm bang on trend with my hairstyle and did it through choice. That's what I'm hoping anyway. For once in my life maybe I'll be one of the cool kids?! *cough cough.