Lise: Finding the Colour Again

Finding the Colour Again, Watercolour by Lise McDermid

Finding the Colour Again, Watercolour by Lise McDermid.
Inspired by the Marina McDonald photo “Take What you Want and Pay for it.”


The painting details my receding hairline, the ghastly thin hair, my lack of eyebrows and eyelashes, the impact of the permanent disfigurement of losing my thick, long blond hair from FEC D (FEC T).  The cruel irony of being alive but having to live with such a horrifying disfigurement, the desperation I feel when I look at myself closely in a mirror. The colour and vibrance in my life has washed away.

Coming to terms with the long-term loss of my hair has been a very slow process.
It has been much harder to cope psychologically than with the cancer itself, my double mastectomy and radiation, the loss of my fertility from premature menopause, the continued side effects from anti-cancer drugs and the long wait for reconstruction to be completed.

The cow is a reminder of the constant online support I’ve had from other breast cancer survivors.

by Lise (Australia)

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4 thoughts on “Lise: Finding the Colour Again

  1. My heart breaks every time I read one of these hair stories. I am so sorry you have been disfigured in this way. The portrait clearly illustrates the desperation and the pain. It truly shows the reality of the situation. Very touching. Thank you for sharing it with us. I wish you peace and lightness as you struggle to find a way forward from all of this.

  2. Lise, your impressionistic “selfie” brings to mind the sad self-portraits of Frida Kahlo. Now almost five years after treatment, I agree with you that this loss is still the hardest thing to cope with of all cancer’s ordeals and effects. I still don’t love mirrors! But the color HAS come back to my life. I believe it will for you, too.

  3. Lise, this is amazing! You are extremely talented. Your drawing is so inspiring and I applaud your courage. Beautiful!!

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