It’s the start of February in Michigan which means endless days of cloudy gray skies, brisk biting winds and a case of the winter blahs. For me it’s all that and more as I enter into the second phase of my breast cancer treatment, radiation.
Grateful to be done with the chemo, I am left tired, pale and hairless in the dead of winter. “From here on out, it’s growing season!” I tell myself even though looking my best and feeling better about myself is a daily challenge. From deciding what to wear on my head (for warmth and comfort rather than sex appeal), to avoiding clown makeup, getting ready to go out for the day has been less than inspiring for my social confidence and kicking cancer’s butt!
So it was indeed a godsend when I discovered a brochure for the Look Good Feel Better program at the Resource Library in Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion. Thanks to the Personal Care Products Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Professional Beauty Association, I, or anyone with cancer, could attend a FREE two-hour makeover workshop to guide me in dealing with appearance changes during my cancer treatment. Wow! And when I signed up and was told I would also be getting a FREE makeup kit filled with quality products to take home – it was like a little ray of sunshine broke through my gloom to give me hope! Ahhh!
Cosmetology professional, Ronna Kilts has been driving from Newaygo every week for over a year to volunteer her time and talents to helping women like me feel empowered and beautiful in the face of cancer treatment. Kilts says her inspiration to do this came from her aunt, also a cancer survivor, who went through the program herself.
“The day I graduated from cosmetology school I signed up to do this,” Kilts says. “It was something I knew I had to be involved in. It’s a great program, it’s fun and it’s super rewarding!”
The Look Good Feel Better program is a step by step guide to teach women about makeup, skin, nail care, wigs and other head coverings used during cancer treatment. It is a free, non-medical workshop and does not promote any one brand. Products in the kits have been generously donated for the cause and come in light, medium, dark, and extra dark to match your skin tone.
We started our session with brief introductions before turning our attention to the contents of the Look Good Feel Better makeup kits. You’d think it was Christmas morning for the three of us who participated as we examined each item individually, impressed by the brand names at our disposal. Although no two kits are alike, they all contain the essentials such as concealer, foundation, powder, blush, etc. With ooohs and aaahs and giggles of delight, (because we were all anxious to look good and feel better!) we were eager to get underway. Kilts took us step by step through the how-to booklet provided to graciously and patiently transform our appearance and our spirits.
“It’s amazing how a few subtle make-up tips can work miracles!” one women remarked, adding, “I wish I did this at the start of my chemo. I would have saved myself a lot of frustration!”
And that’s the whole initiative behind the Look Good Feel Better program – to give women, and men too, the opportunity to look in the mirror and see themselves again! Since 1989 the program has helped well over a million patients worldwide. To find a session near you go to http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/ and search your zip code. While you’re there, spend some time browsing their helpful website. It’s bound to inspire, inform and lift spirits during the cancer journey. It certainly did mine!
For more in-depth information about cancer programs, resources and questions go to cancer.org or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. Representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions, provide information, or offer referrals to programs.