..The Intuitive Times


Look Good, Feel Better Program

by Lise Lamothe

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It was after her breast cancer surgery in April, 1998, that Marlene Bryenton was contacted by a "Reach to Recovery" volunteer who told her about the "Look Good, Feel Better Program" at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. Marlene learned that through this program she could attend a seminar with other women who also had to face a cancer diagnosis and who were undergoing cancer treatments such as chemo-theraphy and radiation. The "Look Good, Feel Better Program" provides free workshops to help woman learn, or in some cases relearn, how to care for their skin, apply make-up, select and wear a wig as well as explore other alternatives they may have.

Marlene said, "I was looking forward to going but that particular day I was not feeling very good, and was apprehensive of how sick the other women would be who were dealing with cancer. I did go and as I was sitting there, I thought how special these volunteers were. I was very glad I went. I was having fun while experimenting with the various products. I was surprised that all the information I was getting was so user-friendly. That day, even though I did not feel good, I felt better because of the experience and because I looked better."

Marlene's story is not uncommon. As a volunteer on the "Look Good, Feel Better Team," I have found it a very enjoyable and rewarding to work in the program.

As a hair specialist, I often get the feeling that my good advise and tips are a bit late by the time woman come to the program. Most people know that hair loss is typically the most common, temporary change experienced by those having cancer treatments. Because of this, some woman will run to the store, try a number of wigs, get discouraged but come home with a wig in a bag and no desire to wear it. As a hair specialist, I have some "Good News," you can avoid this situation by going to a wig specialist. Here are a few other tips:

1) Bring a friend or a relative you can trust with you.

2) If you want to keep the same look, the best time to shop for a wig is before treatments begin. It is easier to match the colour and style. Otherwise, bring a picture with you.

3) If you are a bit more adventurous, approach the situation with a spirit of fun, as a chance to experiment with a new hair style and color.

4) Make sure that the wig specialist explains to you how to maintain the wig properly and provides a refitting service if you need it.

5) There are different types of wigs. Synthetic wigs come pre-styled. They are light and easy to care for. A good quality synthetic wig looks very natural and is worth the few extra dollars it cost. Human hair blend wigs are half human hair and half synthetic and hold the style better than human hair wigs. Human hair wigs are light and comfortable. They act like human hair and need to be styled by the wig specialist. Human hair wigs are the most expensive and tend to require the most day to day care.

At a time when it is very difficult to feel good, this program helps woman regain some power in a situation which can easily take over their lives or where they can feel quite helpless.

If you are a qualified cosmetic, esthetics or wig specialist and would like to be a volunteer you can contact the provincial team leader, Cynthia at 1-800-361-1964. If you have any questions about the program call 1-800-914-4665.

Lise Lamothe is a "Look Good, Feel Better" volunteer and operates Ocean Beauty Concepts in Charlottetown.



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