On April 27th, the Cancer Care Center hosted our quarterly “Look Good, Feel Better” event for ladies undergoing cancer treatment. This quarter we had 8 ladies in attendance, including two caregivers who came along for the fun. This event is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the purpose of the program is to improve the self-image and quality of life of those ladies undergoing cancer treatment. The program is open to all women who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation or other forms of treatment, whether they are receiving treatment at our hospital or another facility. Each participant receives a cosmetic bag filled with full size cosmetic products, which include facial cleansers, foundation, powder, eyeshadow, brow pencils, mascara, etc. The products are provided through the generous donations of major brand cosmetics companies. Although each participant receives the same type of items, the brands may vary. The make-up kits come in light, medium, dark and very dark to meet the needs of all ladies who might participate. Although a patient may only receive on kit, they are welcome to return with their kit to another Look Good, Feel Better event if they would like.
As you can see by the pictures, these ladies had a very good time Thursday, the 27th. We began the event by enjoying snacks of fresh fruit, cookies, cheese and crackers supplied by the Marshall Medical Center South cafeteria. The first order of business (after eating, of course!) was for the ladies to introduce themselves and share whatever they would like concerning their particular journey to this place. This can be a very emotional time as the ladies begin to open up to each other and share their fears, their challenges and their victories. It can also be a very uplifting time, as they begin to see that they are not alone on this journey and they begin to offer encouragement and support to one another. This is always our favorite part of the event, because everyone’s story is different and we love that they are willing to open up and share.
Once the introductions were complete, Stacey Hyde, the Cancer Care Center’s Registered Dietician briefly shared information concerning diet and the need for proper nutrition in order to promote healing. Stacey is available to meet with any of our Cancer Care patients on Thursdays at the Cancer Center. She may be seen by physician referral or by patient request. Special arrangements may be made if the patient is unable to come in on a Thursday. Nutrition is very important to cancer patients, as well as exercise, to build strength and stamina. Along with our nutrition counseling, the Cancer Care Center also offers our patients free access to Therapy Plus (either location) while they are in treatment and for up to six months after completing treatment in an effort to encourage them in building up their strength through proper exercise. Fitness trainers are available by appointment to meet with the patients and assist with determining the proper exercise for their particular cancer and stage of treatment.
After learning how to properly nourish our bodies, the real fun began as Beth Rosson and Christa Maddox, cosmetologists from the local Merle Norman store began to teach the ladies proper skin care and makeup techniques. Cancer patients often face special challenges as their skin texture may change or they may lose fingernails, toenails, skin from their palms and soles of their feet as well as the loss of hair during treatment. This loss of hair can also mean losing eyebrows and eyelashes, so Beth and Krista demonstrate the proper technique in drawing on eyebrows with a brow pencil during the program. The final portion of the afternoon was spent trying on wigs and hats that have been donated for our cancer patients. This is always lots of fun and Thursday was no exception. When a woman looks in the mirror and no longer sees the face and hair she had come to recognize as her own each day due to the effects of chemo and/ or radiation, it is a great time to try out a new look. The ladies enjoyed trying on new hairstyles and new hair colors! This was a time of laughter and fun as the ladies saw what it would be like to be a redhead, a brunette or a blonde or even what they would look like if they chose not to cover up those gray hairs any more and went au natural with gray hair! There is never a dull moment when we get to the wig table!
This was a beautiful group of ladies when they arrived and they just kept getting better looking as the afternoon progressed! Kay Osborn, Clinical Manager, Candy Hatfield, Nurse Navigator, and Cindy Sparkman, Director of the Cancer Center, enjoyed assisting the ladies with the wigs and hats, as well as with the makeup. Stacey Hyde also remained throughout the afternoon to talk with the ladies and offer support and assistance. As the afternoon progressed, we were joined by Alison Shirley of the American Cancer Society, who tries to be available for each Look Good, Feel Better event.
Our appreciation goes out to Beth, Krista and Stacey for their help in making this a special day for these ladies. As the name implies…. this program not only makes the ladies look good, but through the sharing and support of one another, they also leave feeling better! If you or someone you know is going through cancer treatment and have not participated in one of these events, please call to reserve a spot in our next program scheduled for July 18th. We also offer patient support group meetings for patients currently undergoing treatment each Wednesday at 10 AM and Caregiver support group meetings each Tuesday at 10 AM in the Cancer Center. You may call 256-840-3688 to register or you can sign up in the Cancer Care Center.