Discovering my 'new normal' after breast cancer diagnosis at 34.

01 May 2011

Resources: Look Good ... Feel Better

"Look Good...Feel Better is a free community service program dedicated to helping Australians cope with chemotherapy side effects, such as hair loss and changes to the skin. Cancer treatment and the ensuing appearance changes can be a very difficult for many of the thousands diagnosed with cancer each year in this country. The purpose of the program is to help them manage these side effects, with the use of skin care, make-up, hats, turbans and wigs, thereby helping to restore their appearance and self image."

My experience with "Look Good...Feel Better" wasn't quite what I had expected... but I don't really know what I expected.

It was the first time I had:

  • been in public with my cancer but not talked about it
  • revealed my bald head outside of my home
  • realised that cancer as a young adult was really different to that as a child or post-50
I felt really out of place with the older women around me. I felt strange to be in a room full of women who seemed to have forced joviality. I felt weird to be surrounded by cancer but not talk about it.

In retrospect, it was fabulous. It allowed me to think about having cancer, to acknowledge it, to consider some of the practical aspects, and to have some kind of fun - albeit forced fun - fun nevertheless. You know when you start to laugh, even though something isn't that funny, but if you keep laughing you soon forget what was(n't) funny but you just laugh for the sake of it. Well, the fun we had at LG...FB was a little bit like that.

It was wonderful to be able to be out and doing something other than going to the hospital for medical appointments, and although cancer was the reason why we were in that room together, it wasn't the focus. Cancer was the means; enjoying ourselves with some free beauty products was the ends. (I would NOT say they were justified.)

Now I am volunteer with Look Good ... Feel Better, every fourth Wednesday at the RBWH. I really enjoy spending time with the ladies and demonstrating how to draw on eyebrows and put on make-up to best enhance what we have!

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