Chantelle had just settled into her new hometown of Melbourne from Perth having accepted a rewarding role in Corporate Affairs for a multi-national company. The 29-year-old took the plunge, knowing nothing was unattainable having lived and travelled extensively in her twenties. But a shock cancer diagnosis changed all that…

“I had gone in for my regular two-year pap smear and unfortunately it was all downhill from there. I was initially in a lot of shock when I was told it was cancer. I remember thinking, ‘no, this can’t be right, people my age just don’t get cancer!’

Then the terror of the unknown set in and before I knew it I was catapulted into treatment, cycles of sickness, hospitals and everything else that comes along with the rollercoaster of the big C.

While going through chemo I lost all my hair and became quite ill and naturally my self-esteem plummeted. I couldn’t go out or see my friends and became very reliant on my parents and partner. That in itself was hard to come to terms with as I had been fiercely independent my whole life.

But along with the bad came the good. I developed some wonderful relationships with people I wouldn’t have ever imagined talking to at work. I look at life differently; I don’t judge people the way I used to as I have learnt all too well that everyone is fighting their own battle even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside.

A colleague who went through breast cancer two years ago, reached out to me as soon as I was diagnosed. She had attended a Look Good Feel Better workshop while she was going through treatment and recommended it to me. To be honest I probably wouldn’t have gone if she hadn’t mentioned how much it helped her.

Although I already wear make-up every day, it was great to learn a few tricks during the workshop, especially how to pencil in my eyebrows properly given I had lost them! I also learnt about wigs, which was very handy.

The absolute best thing about the workshop were the volunteers and the other participants. It was really great to spend time with people who were going through the same thing. The volunteers were so understanding and gentle and provided such a lovely and welcoming environment.

After the workshop I had a real sense of comfort knowing I wasn’t alone. There were lots of women feeling the same way that I did. To know you are not alone and to have that support during the Look Good Feel Better workshop is so powerful. I would recommend it to anyone going through cancer treatment, even if you think you don’t need it!”

Share this story
Donate to help us
support more Australians