About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My eyebrow miniseries: Part 2

Teaser: some of the items to be discussed in my next post!

And so, welcome back to my continuing saga of the eyebrow, my "miniseries"!  

I happened to ask my immunologist the other day what exactly causes so many of us with CFIDS/ME to have so much hair loss, and he said that he thinks no one really knows, though stress seems to be the most popular theory. I happen to agree, but that alone can be an entire series, including the fact that it is not "psychological" stress, as too many in the "shrink" world would love to convince us, but the stress(es) of CFIDS/ME/fibro, the immunological and neurological ones, to be more precise.  But on to today's continued topic of eyebrows.  Ah yes, I can tell everyone is waiting with bated breath!

As to why some of us have sparse brows and some of us have full ones...well, that's always boggled my mind, thanks to my mom and my daughter.  My mom and daughter both have beautiful Brooke Shields brows (as well as hair and strong nails) that are often the envy of many and when it comes to cutting hair, they give their hair stylists a complete workout.  I've always looked at their hair and brows and marveled at how people with similar genes can have such different characteristics.  But the hair and brow sparsity I'm experiencing has now reached an entire new low because of CFIDS/ME and even the fibromyalgia.  So, I've given up on "hair envy" and just deal with what I've got, just happy for my mom and daughter.

Consequently, over the past ten years or so, I've been on almost desperate hunt for "help."  I have bought many kits, pencils and my favorite route: eye and brow shadows in colors and finishes/polishes that "help" somewhat. You name it and I've most likely tried it.

I think my desperation reaches its highest heights when I start to seriously think about and then finally talk about and consider the whole tattoo route.  Understand, I think tattoos are a horrid trend and despair that they've become so mainstream.  Hollywood has a LOT of answer for, especially since they started this craze and just as it caught on big time, so many of those in Hollywood began getting their tattoos taken off by means of extremely expensive and often painful laser treatments.  We are going to have an awful lot of ugly looking body parts once sagging strikes that young segment of our population that's been most influenced by this fad.  Shudder: think of the drooping Chinese bits of philosophy that are so precisely embedded into a body part that will soon look more like ragged and misshapen scrolls as opposed to the sweet little straight-lined rectangular paragraphs they start out to be.  No one should use tattoos as a means of decorating the body (sorry if my age is showing in this one aspect of life) but in my case, for all too many reasons, even I have seriously considered getting my eyebrows area tattooed, even seriously considered getting a fake eyeliner effect!  Of course, I would only go to a doctor or to a tattoo artist recommended by a physician and not simply a tattoo parlor on Main Street, USA.  Here are the sorts of things I ponder and which hold me back, or on the other hand, won't leave my mind as a possibility:

  • Do I really want to be stuck with the same kind of brows for the rest of my life?  Brows are like everything else: they change just as fashion changes.
  • Do I really want to mess up my face?  I'm not sure it will be done "right," aesthetically.
  • My hair color never stays the same.  I'm always adding more highlights and lowlights depending on my mood.  Tattooed eyebrows could limit my choices.
  • What ARE the possible health risks, even the ones not yet imagined?
  • I don't have enough problems with my vision?  I should go and risk things even more with tattoos in such a sensitive and crucial area?
I suppose the tattoo thing has really been on my mind because I've actually had a few discussions about this on plane rides, of all places, and I'm not one to do much talking with fellow passengers, knowing it's a pain to have a Chatty Cathy sitting next to you.  However, at least four or five women sitting next to me have filled in their brows or had their eyelids tattooed, or both (yes! what an incredible number, especially considering how rarely I fly!) and couldn't be happier.  What's more, they've all been older than me...close to my mom's age.  Now that is definitely mind-boggling and has given me pause as to why I've not gone this route.  I suspect I'm simply scared my luck wouldn't hold and, besides, I'm still trying to somehow manage to get to some really needed doctor's appointments, so I suppose the whole tattoo thing really is low on my list, even in the investigation category, as I seem to use my brain - when it's not fogged up - for more pressing issues.  But a girl can dream....

On the other hand finding Lan in Pittsburgh has done wonders.  As I've written about before (on March 27 and on April 9) Lan can get every single one of the very few brow hairs I DO have to accept color (for some reason, my brow hairs have a hard time absorbing color) and she has a very good and gentle hand with the hair removal so that I've not had the burns that can lead to the unfortunate double brow scenario described in Part 1 of this "miniseries."  After Lan does my brows I am in "face bliss" for about four weeks.  The brows aren't bad for six weeks, especially if I'm careful as to how much product is used to clean my face, not over-washing and over-scrubbing the brows.  However, I still do need to use pencil or brow shadow to help. The dyeing of brows and the removal of stray brow hairs is just good for a fuller look, a guide to see where to go and to make me feel more human when I don't use makeup, which is most days.  Finally, I might add that sparse brows, for anyone, age you: brows often do get more sparse as we age and this is one reason the eyebrow market has been so successful in recent years.  Unfortunately, the CFIDS/ME people have a lot more "filling in" to do.  

Lately, because of energy and health considerations, I can't run up to Lan often enough.  Since I'm happiest when those lashes are done I have put down finding someone a bit closer to home on my to-do list since getting out of the house (bed!) is getting to be harder and getting to Pittsburgh is almost a journey.  I do worry, however, about how safe anyone else would be.

And so, these are my desperate thoughts and slightly desperate measures for the approach to my almost "non-existent" brows problem.  My next post will deal with the less desperate measures.  That is, unless I remember some other aspects of this subject that needs discussing first...not a stretch considering how multi-faceted beauty is and how difficult it is to achieve, especially for those with chronic medical considerations.

Until next time!   And I hope everyone's feeling as well as can be!  


  1. Thank you very much for your series, Irene(Ura). It's always filled with the wisdom and patience of a saint. But, I'm sure that CFIDS, among other conditions, is "plucking" your last nerve. Love, Leo(Lyev)

    1. LOL, Leo! You always know how to add a chuckle to the day! xx

  2. Hi Irene,
    Have you tried a product called "Suqqu eyebrow liquid pen"? Make-up artist Lisa Eldridge swears by it.
    I've seen the picture of the good old Rijksmuseum:) in your facebook. It brought back some memories.
    Hope you're feeling not too bad and have a nice week-end.xx

    1. Hi Maria!

      I'm afraid I can't find it in the States though now that you mention it also, I'm going to give it more of a try to find. Thanks for the suggestion. I do enjoy following Lisa Eldridge - she has such great information and tips.

      I'm so glad you wrote in since I've been wondering how you were doing. I've just started reading a bit so of course you popped into my mind! xx