“Initially, I thought I had appendicitis. After a week of putting off scans and blood tests, it was a trip to emergency with the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. A tumour on the outside of one of my ovaries caused it to twist and become necrotic. It was removed and tested. It was difficult for the pathologists to be conclusive and as a precaution, I had a hysterectomy two months later.

This year has been eventful to say the least. I turned 50 and celebrated 20 years of marriage to the man I met in kindergarten! My eldest daughter started year 11 and my youngest started high school. Luckily, they have managed to cope with my cancer diagnosis very well.

Honestly, the bigger trauma for me, my husband and my two girls was me having to go through the grueling process of chemotherapy and as a result, losing my hair. Going bald was my 50th birthday present! For a short time, there was even a competition between me and our Labrador Retriever, Charlie, to see who could leave the most amount of hair on the floor!

It was one of the lovely nurses at the chemo intro session that told me to consider the Look Good Feel Better workshop. She spoke highly of how beneficial others had found the workshop. But what really sealed the deal was hearing from a friend (who I knew didn’t really spend much time or effort when it came to make-up) how much she gained from attending.

I went along and sure enough I had a great time. I learned things from how to use eyeliner to cover up the fact that you have no eyelashes, to the proper way to apply blush!

I loved the headwear demonstration, especially trying on different wigs, colours and styles. Being brunette, I’ve always wanted to know what I would look like being blonde without the chemicals! I think I could pull off the blonde do.

On a serious note, the best thing about the workshop was being in a room with a group of lovely women, all going through trauma, but all laughing at themselves trying on different hairstyles and scarves, and experimenting with different make-up application.

After attending the workshop, my daughters were particularly impressed that I could draw on eyebrows that looked better than my real ones!

I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to women of all ages who are going through cancer treatment. If for no other reason than to be able to spend some fun time with others in a similar situation where they will find more empathy than sympathy.

This last six months has been the longest time I have been off work since maternity leave 12 years ago. In between chemo, I have been able to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time. I could pick my girls up from school, and go to all the daytime school events that I normally would have missed out on. I have become a little less tolerant of the small things that stress a lot of people. There are so many more important things in life like your family and friends. What doesn’t get done today, can always be done tomorrow!”

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