9:12am. April 16th 2014. Writing in bed and about to make some carrot, celery, kale, ginger, orange juice.
How I’m feeling: Good. I’m excited for my day. It’s going to be another busy cancer errand filled-one and there will be tonnes to take in but I’m feeling good about this one.
I wanted to share an experience that really impacted me. I’m still getting tingles just thinking about it. Last week, on April 9th, I participated in my first cancer care support program. I first learned about the Look Good Feel Better workshop a couple of weeks earlier from the staff at the Look Good, Feel Better store at Princess Margaret Hospital. Once I signed up for a workshop participant spot, I immediately felt a little nervous. While I had been part of charitable programs (as a volunteer), I had never been on the receiving end. I didn’t really know what to expect but I decided to “just go with it” (which seems to be the name of the game these days) I knew that it would be my first time talking openly with a group about some of the many that come with chemo and also meeting other cancer warriors.
I walked in to the workshop room on April 9th, and was surprised to see how many other participants there were. There must have been 8 other women. I noticed that there were some with hair and some without. While at the time, I still had most of my hair – I decided to wear my wig (more on the wig later) for practice! I was by far, the youngest participant in the room. I also felt like I stood out because I love wearing bright and bold colours in the spring and summertime. And it was a warm-ish day – so, I was celebrating 🙂
Everyone was playing around with products at the table and I was asked to take a seat. Once the workshop began, the host asked the gentleman who runs the the Look Good, Feel Better store to help with getting me my kit. I could tell the workshop was understaffed (later, the host said that they typically have workshop helpers) but they got it together like pros.
The kit was huge and stacked to the top with full sized products. I noticed all of the brands: Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Cover Girl, Clinique, M.A.C., Neutrogena – so many. And of course my marketing hat was on. I thought “Man, what a great effort from these companies – to donate and to have such great brand affiliation” I was so blown away and impressed that these companies donated these heaploads of products to us and to this cross Canada program. Not much of an investment from them, but a world of a difference to us participants. The workshop hadn’t even started and I was already feeling really great. I thought to myself “Awh…this is going to be fun. Let’s do this”
The host/instructor walked us through some of the changes that may be happening with our body and facial skin and demonstrated using the products how to work with them while still feeling great and staying safe. We moved on to makeup and learned how to enhance our features after losing the facial hair that helps structure our face (eyebrows and eyelashes) and dealing with under eye bags or sunken in eyes. Lastly, we had a section on hair: how to put on a wig, the differences between synthetic and all-human-hair wigs and how to play with headscarves.
Overall, it was a really great experience. I walked away with a sweet goodie box, had some questions I had about hair and skin answered and shared some physiological, health and beauty tips on dealing with treatment side effects with other cancer warriors. Of course by the end of the workshop , I had befriended a few of the participants. Looking back, I should have exchanged contact information with them. I’ve got to start creating my own Cancer Warrior posse!
If you know any ladies whom have been diagnosed with cancer, do them a favor and share this post with them and suggest to them that they ask their treatment hospital if they offer this workshop! It’s incredible and will help them work through some of the most difficult side effects that come with chemotherapy.
Huge hugs to the crew and volunteers from the Look Good Feel Better and to the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry an Fragrance Association Foundation. Your support really does mean a lot to me.