I have found that definite milestones along the cancer journey turn your attention to the "collateral damage" left in its wake. My hair had already begun to thin. I had cut it twice, each time hoping to create some volume of some sort. Then one day I noticed my eyebrows started to thin and fall out, along with my eyelashes. Add in the accompanying black circles, and sunken skin below my eyes and it was a harsh reality to look sometimes, as unwell as I felt.
I had chemo the day before. But when I asked about the "Look Good Feel Better," program, they told me the once a month session was the next day. I'd been putting it off, but I could no longer deny I could use some help.
I couldn't have known I'd be the only one in class! Plus, the woman who helped me purchase my wig is the cosmetologist, Vi, who teaches the make-up application for the class, on your left in the photo. I was so surprised to walk in and see her there. Vi is a breast cancer survivor herself and is the perfect person to teach from a place of understanding what it is like.
And the woman to your right is Sandy. Sandy is a volunteer with a perpetual smile on her face. She brings the warm blankets, the snacks, the concern and compassion for what you might be feeling during infusion. On one day when I was struggling to fight off the nausea while still needing something in my stomach, she offered to make toast. To this day I don't know if it was the toast that tasted so good, or if it was all the love it was made with that really agreed with me. But Sandy finds a way to serve all of us, and minister to us and always says her goodbyes in the form of a blessing. The one time my chemo got bumped to a Thursday, I made them go through a lot of extra steps so that I could go back to my regular Tuesdays.
The other incentive for attending the class is in that little red bag above. It contains make up samples from some very well known companies. There is Clinque, Estee Lauder, Mac, Nars, Merle Norman, Lancome, etc. There is everything from cleanser to foundation to eyebrow pencils. Its several hundred dollars worth of make-up to help us look good, and feel better. The program is absolutely free, and sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Every community should have a Look Good Feel Better program and its definitely worth attending it!
Speaking of "looking good," I had to laugh at Nolan. To me this is quintessential "boy" reasoning. When school is in session he is so good about getting up and showering. But he was a little frustrated that mom still insisted on a shower in the morning when it was summer vacation. The past few days, while I've seen Nolan get in the shower and come back out with clean shorts and t-shirt on, his hair doesn't have that squeaky clean appearance to it. Assuming he might be ready for a new shampoo that could clean his hair better I asked him about it. Completely exasperated with me he said, "Oh mom, you said I needed to get in the shower everyday, you did NOT say I had to wash my hair or use soap every day!"
Ha! Will I ever learn?