Two months ago I was invited by my oncology nurse to attend a workshop for cancer patients called “Look Good…Feel Better“. I was a bit unsure about attending at first and then she explained that it was a 2 1/2 hour workshop where there would be some pampering, some morning tea and support offered all in the hopes of making you feel better.
I was easily convinced to attend and so I filled in a form with some minor details about myself, including what I was being treated for. Some of you already know I am being treated for melanoma and no matter what cancer one is being treated for it can be very stressful, draining and effect your every day life. My oncology nurse could see that I would benefit from attending this work shop.
Today was the day of the workshop and I have to say I was quite excited about it, not knowing what was going to happen when I entered the doors. Ok, so I went to the wrong doors first but doesn’t everybody do that, or is it just me? I had to ask someone for directions and thankfully it was just next door. When I found the correct door I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were there. I even said to the lady at the door “Wow!” I wasn’t expecting so many people”. Her response was “neither were we!” with a big smile on her face, they were so happy to see so many attending.
There was about 26 of us seated around a large table and in front of each of us was a place mat laid out with some skin care and make up goodies. This looks good already! This was the first workshop done in this area, at this hospital, so it was a bit of a milestone. They started the morning off with introductions by the volunteers who were all cosmetic or beauty professionals. We then watched a short DVD with a quick explanation of what the workshop was all about.
Everybody is different and everyone’s body reacts differently to the cancer treatment they are receiving including the skin & hair. Some changes can be significantly noticeable while others may not. Look Good…Feel Better was initiated by the Australian Cosmetic and Fragrance industry, helping those who are undergoing cancer treatment to look good and feel better during this time.
Looking around the room there was such a big age range and I am sure I was not the youngest there. All were at different stages of treatment, some who were completely bald, others who’s hair was thinning and those who still had their own hair – or was that a wig. Those wigs are so real it is hard to tell the difference. No matter what these were all beautiful women travelling a common path.
We got straight into it, learning lots of tips and tricks about applying skin care and make-up. With a willing volunteer not too far away, more than eager to help anyone who needed some extra attention. It was not long and everyone in the room was looking stunning and gradually you could see the smiles growing on each one of their faces. When we were finished applying the make-up we were then surprised with being told we would be taking home all the skin care and make-up in front of us, as they had been specifically picked for us using the information we had given them when applying for the workshop. What a lovely gift! All this make-up was donated by different beauty companies of Australasia.
We had a short break with morning tea which was some cooked finger food and sandwiches with tea, coffee or juice. it was so much more than I would have expected and very delicious too. After the break we were then given a demonstration about head wear. We were shown so many ways to spruce up a cap or hat, how to give a scarf on a bald head more height and that there is more than one way to tie a scarf. I didn’t even know there were hats out there specifically designed with an extra flap inside that can be pulled down at the back to hide the fact that one is missing hair underneath.
I found a video on YouTube which shows a few different ways to dress your head up, similar to some we were shown at the workshop.
I learnt about different types of hair wigs and how to take care of them, I never knew there was so much to know about taking care of a wig. Styling, washing, drying, we were even shown how to wear a part wig that looks like a friar tuck hairstyle until you dressed it up with a lovely hat or turban. Giving everyone the idea that you had a full head of hair underneath. It really was an eye opener.
I am very lucky with my treatment that I should not go bald but I have lost a lot of hair. So much so that my once thick head of hair now is half the thickness and more of my scalp is visible. Combing it over with the part slightly to one side is one way of hiding it a little. I thought I lost a lot of hair with a thyroid problem but this is far greater.
The day was very enjoyable and definitely a learning experience. Leaving there with my face all done up with make-up did make me feel better about myself. The slogan “Look Good…Feel Better” is perfect for what these lovely people do and how you feel after attending this workshop. So if you are a cancer patient or about to start treatment and you are offered to attend this workshop I highly recommend it! You will meet some lovely people who are only too happy to help you feel good about yourself.