Look Good, Feel Better – A bedtime story

Once upon a time – not that long ago – doctors treated out-patients for illnesses, and when that failed patients went to hospital to be treated by more doctors and nurses.

Once upon a time – back in the old olden days – physicians treated illness with medicines and when ‘he’ failed (they were all ‘he’s’ back then, the family stood vigil and waited.

Even longer ago, village healers (men and women) treated illness with yes, medicines, but also herbs, chants, charms and beads, prayer, song, and all manner of unusual methods classically labelled mumbo jumbo.

Today, well where are we?  Healers come in all places and professions. We still treat illness with medicines and other mumbo jumbo…..  highly effective mumbo jumbo.  We treat the body for depression and mental illness.  And we treat the mind for physically illness.  What am I rambling on about?

Oh yes, I was about to tell you about  how I recently partook in some new age, non medical, mumbo-jumbo to improve my well-being.   Did it involve eating raw snails for 48 hours, sleeping with my left elbow pointed due north, or anything with just two simple payments or just a tiny $99.99?  No, my newest treatment super successful craze is a brand new just-for-me make-up kit!

When you are diagnosed with cancer (and especially if it’s the ‘get your affairs in order’ type), strange things can happen to people around us.  Of course most of our family, friends and acquaintances are fine – look out for us and carry on with life as usual.  But some people have a harder time.  Employers might see you more of a liability than an asset.  Friends and family can ignore you completely because they don’t know how to talk to you.  Casual acquaintances write you off from the get go… because, well why bother or  I just don’t know what to say.  Even Doctors, trained professionals in the business, can disengage and stop trying quite so hard.

So it’s a real  pleasure to have someone (all volunteers and sponsors) invest skills, product and attention into you to acknowledge that your are still worthwhile.  There comes a point where medicines stop working and surgery is no longer an option.  But even when the traditional medicines stop, there are other things that can be done.  The Look Good, Feel Better workshops are testament to that.   Patients in all stages of cancer can come to this workshop and receive information, be taught skills and given lots of products to make themselves look good and feel better.  And it works.   It is so wonderful, that big cosmetic companies and the lovely volunteers are willing to invest in me and thousands of other patients (cosmetics and skin care product donations  amount to $30 million annually.

By the end of the workshop, I felt like a princess – not just like I was prettier – but somehow my confidence increased. I looked around the table at 10 other smiling faces and realised magic had been woven.  New friendships had begun and lots of great, make-up, fashion and hair tips shared.   And so the story  draws to a close and all that’s left for me to do is introduce the main players in this Look Good, Feel Better fairytale. Somewhere on this Yorke Peninsula, there is a bunch of fairy godmothers making knitted hats for recipients they will never see.  Somewhere in the vast Australian corporate land there are hero’s signing off on products to be donated.  In a humble castle in Sydney magicians weave their magic compiling special show-bags to help the sick people of the kingdom smile again.  In Minlaton there is florist hiding smiles inside flowers and sending them where they are needed most.   Several brave South Australian lady knights volunteered (some with make-up brush in hand) to rescue me and all the other princesses, and in the end… through kindness, information and donations of time and product, all of these heros help others live a little bit more happily ever after.

Wow it’s Christmas in ummmm errr August 🙂

Look Good…Feel Better is a free community service program dedicated to helping Australians cope with the appearance related side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy such as hair loss and changes to the skin.

Cancer treatment, and the ensuing appearance changes, can be a very difficult period of time for many of the thousands diagnosed with cancer each year in Australia. More info http://lgfb.org.au 

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2 thoughts on “Look Good, Feel Better – A bedtime story

  1. Fabulous. I so identify with this – my mum was given this wig when her cancer treatment left her with no hair – a wig she hated!! We begged and pleaded and eventually I was allowed to take her out of the hospital to the wig hairdressers where she elected for a short red brown bob. With it on she looked more like my sister than my mum, certainly my very poorly terminally ill mum. What a boost it gave us both :))
    Keep up the good fight, Rebs – we’re all here cheering 🙂

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