“When I received a call only an hour after the CT scan, I was shocked, devastated, scared and above all, heartbroken. It was advanced ovarian cancer. My initial thoughts were of Kevin, my husband and my girls, Willow (2) and Lilith (4). I cried and cried thinking about what this diagnosis would mean for them. I felt so sad at the thought of missing out on seeing my gorgeous girls grow up.

Within two weeks of diagnosis I was starting weekly chemotherapy, which was harrowing. I had no time to digest the news prior to starting treatment. I left work on the day I found out and have not been back since. As an embryologist with a real passion for women’s health, I was at a critical time with my special projects. But I had to walk away from it. It was time to start looking after me.

I was just so used to being a busy 39-year-old; working four days a week, exercising, socializing and raising my girls. Suddenly, my world collapsed into a litany of hospital appointments, fatigue, pain, and bed rest. I had panic attacks and was feeling genuinely scared about leaving the house. I was very down and found it hard to be positive.

A friend mentioned the Look Good Feel Better workshop. What really appealed to me was meeting other women facing cancer, as I want to connect with that community and with people experiencing a similar journey.

I also want to feel empowered and confident in the face of the diagnosis. I had already cut my long blonde hair off, but I realized that I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was when I flirted with the idea of going bald. I thought that playing with makeup and wig/turban styles could make me feel in somewhat in control of the journey, and would instill some confidence in me.

Surely enough, at the Look Good Feel Better workshop, I learnt how to do fabulous make-up, and so many people have commented on my eye make-up since attending, which makes me look less tired and sick. When I see myself in the mirror with make-up on I feel less like a cancer patient and more like my old self! I am now wearing make-up every time I leave the house – I honestly had stopped bothering after the initial diagnosis. I learnt about wigs and how to tie scarves and wear flattering headgear.

The best thing about the workshop was seeing other women bravely take their headwear off, seeing their vulnerability in their baldness and then seeing them transformed and light up as they were draped in gorgeous headgear and wigs. The workshop was a reminder that I wasn’t alone on this frightfully awful journey.

I would absolutely recommend Look Good Feel Better to others going through treatment for cancer. It’s great as a support network, as a way to boost confidence and feel empowered while going through the anguish of cancer. The workshop helps you deal with cancer in a positive way, by looking at fun things, like fashion and make-up, not just chemo and drugs. It helps you feel pampered, special and in control.”

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