A Mother and her Two Daughters

22 June 2010

Trying to Look Good & Feel Better

Several of my Cancer Sisters have urged me to attend a workshop sponsored by the American Cancer Society called “Look Good . . . Feel Better.”  This two-hour workshop is held in hospitals and health clinics all over the country with one goal in mind – to help women with cancer look good, improve their self-esteem and manage their treatment and recovery with greater confidence. 

After completing sixteen weeks of eight very tough chemotherapy treatments, the truth is I look more like a very sick rat than a woman.  No hair on my head, a few sparse eyebrows, and about five to ten eyelashes holding on for dear life!  When you look like that, it’s very easy to find little reason to put on makeup, pamper yourself with a mani/pedicure and wearing dangly earrings seem to be an exercise in futility.  And anybody who has read this blog knows that wearing a wig has been one of my greatest challenges – and certainly not one that I’ve mastered.  After many weeks of little pampering, I was told that this class was the magic bullet in terms of makeup, wigs, scarves and most anything else having to do with physical vanity.  Decision made – this sick looking rat needed a little pampering. 

So, I scheduled myself to attend this glamour class yesterday at a healthcare facility here in Little Rock. 

Thanks to my chemo-brain, the minute I walked into the facility lobby, my mind would not allow me to recall the name of the class.  Nothing.  Nada.  I had no clue.  The nice lady working at the lobby desk greets me:

“Good morning.  Can I help you,” she said in a very friendly manner.

“Yes, I’m looking for . . . . “  and I stopped there.  I could not recall, I had no idea what to ask for.

This is a HUGE hospital, certainly prepared to offer me about a thousand different services.  I could have been there for who knows what.  And I knew what I was there to do.  But for the life of me, I could not think of the name. 

As I stood there speechless, looking much like a moron, the nice lady says to me, “Honey, are you trying to find the Look Good/Feel Better class?” 

OH MY GOSH!  HOW COULD SHE TELL?  OBVIOUSLY SHE THINKS THAT I COULD STAND A BETTER LOOK THAN WHAT I HAVE RIGHT NOW!  No doubt, But why not offer me a heart test or some lab work, an examination of my varicose veins, or directions to the room of a sick friend?  But NO – here I stood totally exposed in front of everyone for what it was I was in need of – a lotta bit of glamour. 

Eager to exit this crowded lobby, I simply said, “Yes, that’s what I’m looking for.” In her very friendly way, she directed me down the hall to where the class members had begun to gather.  Never before have I been so eager to exit a hospital lobby as quickly as I did yesterday. 

As I entered the classroom, I joined about twenty beautiful and courageous women, all of them with their own cancer journey – breast cancer, colon and lung cancer, a brain tumor and a few with lymphoma and leukemia.  Most of us were hairless; but without saying a word, only an exchange of glances, we all knew we were safe and accepted inside these four walls. 

After some brief introductions and an informative video, each of us received a nice tote bag filled with high-end glamour products donated by the cosmetic and fragrance industries – Estee Lauder, CHANEL, L’Oreal, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, Bobbi Brown, Mary Kay, Avon and much more.  It was an unbelievable pile of glam-girl products – from foundation, concealer, powder, and blush, to eye shadows, eyebrow pencils, lip liners and lipsticks. 

The title of this program speaks for itself.  We spent the next two hours engaged in skin care, painting our faces and finding new ways to wear our different and temporary headdresses.  Twenty women, all strangers, who for two hours enjoyed spontaneous girl-fun.  And in the end, we definitely looked better, and we definitely felt better too.  Even my neighbor said to me yesterday afternoon, “I do believe you’re looking better and better every day.”  IT WORKED! 

What a wonderful service for women with cancer.  A longtime family friend (male) recently sent me a nice card.  Inside he simply signed, “Your hair will come back.  Mine never will.”  And that’s true.  Hopefully 100% of these chemotherapy effects are only temporary.  But to be a woman with no hair and no eyelashes is tough.  There is very little that feels pretty about having cancer. 

But with much thanks to the American Cancer Society, life is a bit better today.  In the event that you see a woman around town wearing a magic hat and looking rather glamorous . . . Well, it just might be me.  If you think about it, stop and say hello.  


  1. SICK RAT? Ha, you are so funny! But what a wonderful event, how loving and lovely, and important for women to know about.

  2. What a wonderful time for all women who must go through this not so glam time. The people in the lobby probably didn't reconize you or others as you left that day. How's the painting coming, ha, ha. Love you


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