Tuesday 24th September, 2013
The day after my 5th hit of chemo, I attended a ‘Look good…feel better’ workshop. Jenni (fav sis) came along as my support person and professional photographer. Apparently a few people have asked Jenni if my other sister, Joanne (the one who hasn’t commented yet) would be upset by my constant references to Jenni as the fav sis. I will just clarify that I don’t have a fav sis…….yet. I’m referring to Jenni as fav sis as that’s what she calls herself. If Joanne doesn’t comment soon however, I will be forced to declare Jenni the favourite. There I go, digressing again. Oh, did you know I have a brother too?
The ‘Look good…..feel better’ program is a free national program especially for people undergoing cancer treatment and aims to help them manage the chemotherapy induced appearance-related side-effects. It was initiated by the Australian Cosmetic and Fragrance Industry in 1990. The program is run by volunteers and includes instructions, tips, suggestions and advice on dealing ith hair loss, skin and complexion changes and demonstrations on makeup application and the use of wigs, hats, turbans and scarves. And, it includes lots of free cosmetic products which are donated by cosmetic and beauty labels such as Revlon. These free products, are of course, for the people with cancer who are attending the workshop, but those of you who know Jenni will not be surprised to hear she got some freebies as well.
When Jenni and I arrived, the scene was a little chaotic. Unfortunately for the volunteers who had given up their time to help that day, they had no idea who was going to turn up and who wasn’t as apparently a couple of volunteers high up in the organisation had recently quit. Make-shift name tags were made, we were all asked if we were ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ in terms of make-up colours, our freebies were laid out and we were ready to start.
I was chosen as the model for the day, clearly because I am drop dead gorgeous. No, I’m pretty sure it was because I was the youngest there. I mentioned in an earlier post how you start feeling old as you approach 40 but getting cancer in your thirties all of a sudden makes you young again (although you don’t necessarily feel young, you just constantly get told you are young).
There were probably about 10 other participants there and I quickly noticed I was the only one wearing a scarf. I thought all these other people may not have started chemotherapy yet (but I noticed a few PICC lines too) or they had good cancers with good chemo that didn’t make their hair fall out. When we started with the cleansing, toning and moisturising, a few wigs were ripped off. I had thought all wigs looked like wigs unless they were human hair wigs, but I thought all these ladies had their own hair, so that was promising.
So, I was seated at the head of the table with a lady using my face to demonstrate how to cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply make-up. When it came to drawing on eyebrows, a new model was needed, as fortunately I still had mine.
After the make up session there was a quick break for lunch and then we tried on scarves, hats and wigs. There were even scarves with little fringes attached to the front and this very strange looking ring of hair that you wear underneath a hat. This ‘Look good……feel better’ workshop was held within the same building complex as the wig library which I have written about here. I was really hoping the wigs we would be trying on were not from the wig library and much to my delight they were not. I had a lot of fun trying on all the wigs that were there, while Jenni was busy snapping away. I experimented with being blonde again, as well as having very long hair and a couple of grandma do’s.
And now the wigs. Firstly, the blonde range……..
And then the medium length brunette range……
And the long brunette range……
Then there was the Grandma range……
The ‘WTF? This reminds me of the wig library’ range……
The token fun wig……..
And to finish off with, the old me…….
I had decided I wasn’t going to bother with a wig during my cancer adventure and I am yet to regret that decision. I am beginning to think however, that a wig might be good when the treatment part of this adventure is over and I’m back at work and have had enough of looking like a cancer patient. I’ll just keep a scarf handy for when I need to use that cancer card. I think a wig will be good when my hair is growing back and is a bit of a mess, and maybe even for days when I just can’t be bothered with it.
The highlight of the ‘Look good….feel better’ workshop was meeting a fellow participant, Katie. She had a great attitude and we had a laugh but unfortunately we only got chatting at the end of the day. So, Katie, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re still going well and kicking cancer’s arse.