Look Good Feel Better Reflections: Darla’s Story

I first learned about the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program while I was about a third of the way through my six-month chemotherapy treatment for Stage 2 breast cancer.  A very dear friend of mine who’s mother had been through cancer a year before me recommended this wonderful program..  It came at an opportune time for me because I had just lost all my eyebrows and eyelashes.  I was not feeling very good about my appearance and was very insecure to be seen in public.

I was a little apprehensive at first to go to this LGFB workshop because I was uncomfortable going out in public because of my appearance.  My bald head and missing  eyelashes and eyebrows announced to everyone that I was a cancer patient.  So I gathered my courage, grabbed my sister to come along with me for emotional support, and arrived at the workshop to join 10 other patients.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I immediately saw that the others looked very similar in appearance to me.

The quiet room was uncomfortable at first, and some of the patients were very down and angered by their present situation.  However, it was like Christmas as we opened up our individual makeup bags and unwrapped the donated products to begin the workshop. There were compliments flying around, and giggling and before we knew it, a comradely had developed amongst everyone in the room.  After spending a couple of hours with other cancer patients who understood exactly what I was going through, everything changed.  We could relate to each other and I felt that for the first time, I had understanding companionship on my cancer journey..  It was so much fun seeing the beautiful transformation of everyone.  I loved how the spirit of the session changed over the two hour period – it went from quiet and somewhat gloomy to uplifting, encouraging and joyful. 

The volunteers who directed the session were very caring and knowledgeable.  They truly cared about us. They made us laugh.  They made us feel beautiful by teaching us how to use make up to help us deal with our appearance related issues. The greatest issue I had to deal with was the loss of my eyebrows and eyelashes.  When I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself.  It was really scary and made me feel very insecure.  The beauty professionals showed us how to use eyeliner so it looked as if we had eyelashes.  What a lifesaver this illusion was for me!   It made me look  more like myself again.  I learned how to draw on eyebrows so that when someone looked at me, they could actually focus on my eyes and not look right past me. 

I also enjoyed learning how to tie head scarves and I loved the T-shirt wrap.  What a comfortable, inexpensive way to make a head covering.  We also tried on beautiful wigs and that lifted our spirits.  I learned that when I looked beautiful on the outside I felt beautiful on the inside. 

 My little sister was such a support to me.  She was full of compliments and helped me feel better about myself through the whole session.   The ironic thing about this is that two years later the roles were reversed for us.  I became the support and caretaker for this same little sister as she attended a Look Good Feel Better session when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.