37. Look good….feel better

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.

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My free stuff!

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.

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The model having her make up applied……

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……and the finished product.

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.

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The scarf with a built in fringe.

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The very odd, almost scary, round hair thing.

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Only marginally better with a hat over the top. What a sight it would be if my hat blew off!

And now the wigs. Firstly, the blonde range……..

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Long blonde wig No. 1.

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And No.2. Goldie Hawn? Just the wig I mean, not the complete look.

And then the medium length brunette range……

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No. 1.

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And No. 2.

And the long brunette range……

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Long brunette wig No. 1. Angelina Jolie?

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And No. 2. This one looks like a wig.

Then there was the Grandma range……

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Perhaps this is what I’ll look like if I live another 50 years…or if chemo makes my hair grow back grey!

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I don’t think I’ll go with this look as my hair grows back.

The ‘WTF? This reminds me of the wig library’ range……

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I have no words for this one.

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Or this one.

The token fun wig……..

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Ready for a fancy dress party.

And to finish off with, the old me…….

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I actually forgot what I used to look like with hair.

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.

9 thoughts on “37. Look good….feel better

  1. Wow Melissa, your so gorgeous, you look great with any style. Must be that beautiful infectious smile of yours. Hope it was a great day for you and Jen xxxxxx

  2. Oh, don’t kid yourself. I AM the fav sis and you know it! This was a fun day and I enjoyed being your photographer. But what I enjoyed more was watching you make the most of a shit situation with your funny, level headed and at times evil sense of humour. And yes I was pretty happy with my freebies too! We’ve met some beautiful people along the way but I will never forget Karine & Katie.

    P S. I really like the last wig. X

    • Hey Melissa and favourite sis. Jen
      I’ve so many times wanted to call and
      After reading this I wish I had x
      I lov reading ur blog
      And always put u in my prayers
      I’ve had shit time and am fighting hard
      I’m up to chemo round 6 have been hospitalised 4 times after chemo
      I hate it and with a year of chemo to go
      And 25 radiation rounds start first week
      In feb , somedays I really feel like giving
      Up have a sook then pick myself
      Back up to fight this cancer bitch
      I would lov to catch up with you again
      And thankyou for ur kind words
      Say hi to Jen for me and I’m sending you
      Big hug lots healing and hope to see you
      Soon
      U got the good cancer and I only got a little bit of cancer lol take care xx
      Katie xx

  3. I too liked the last one and also the Goldie one. But the shaved head is not too bad. Don’t like the bits of hair attached to scarf.
    Not surprised at Jenni getting freebies.
    God love her. Maybe Jo is waiting for her moment.

  4. Everyone loves free stuff and I’m sure jenni is your fav sister !!!! Love your blogs Melissa and a few of those wigs were smokin xxxx keep smiling xx

  5. I was the model for the day also, but unfortunately I didn’t take any photos. You look great… though some of the wigs do look better than others. The fringe things are just down right bad!
    The only time I wished I had a wig was when Stuart did his Debutant. Made do with a longer scarf. I agree with getting one for the grow back stage…growing hair back can have some bad hair months!

  6. OMG – thats so freaky! Went from photo to photo and you would swear that some of them were either Pam or Joanne!! You look like a totally different person – still spunky tho! Love the long brunette no 1!

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