My partner and I met in Australia and moved to London together four years ago when I was 23 years old. I am self-employed, providing consulting and training services in the data protection and IT governance environment for businesses. I set-up the business when I was living in the UK alongside co-founding a cybersecurity startup with exciting new opportunities.
Whilst living in the UK, I noticed a pea-sized lump in my neck. It was around for a few weeks and I didn’t think much of it. Then over two days, the lump grew from the size of a pea to the size of a golf ball and I knew I had to immediately get it checked.
I wasn’t actually worried about it at all at first; the three week process was that it was just a cist and we were testing to be sure, so I went to my hospital appointment for the results by myself. But the ultrasound and biopsy confirmed a cancer diagnosis – Hodgkins Lymphoma.
When I was first told, I didn’t really comprehend what it was. I immediately started asking questions about a solution. When the doctor mentioned that a few months of chemotherapy would be required, everything sank in and I was an emotional mess.
I spent the next 48 hours telling my family, calling all my clients and dropping out of work, and packing up our apartment to fly home to Australia immediately for treatment. The decision was made instantly as there wasn’t any way I’d be tackling this alone in the UK.
After receiving my diagnosis, everything stopped. The financial position my partner and I had forecasted we would be in by this time so we could start achieving our future plans was disrupted, and emotionally I felt like my life was ‘taken’ from me. However, you do gain a new appreciation for everything you ever had, realise you can earn it all back, and you start to move forward.
When I was offered the chance to attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop, I wasn’t reluctant to attend. I know someone who was reluctant because she didn’t want to feel like she had cancer, and such a workshop would confront that, but we actually ended up attending together and it felt like a great opportunity for friends to just hang out and get some make-up tips.
The workshop delivers exactly what it offers – it makes you look good and feel better. Not just because of the make-up or headwear, but also because you have a chance to spend time with other women who are dealing with the impact of their condition. The challenge of managing the physical side effects is one hundred times better when you’re not trying to figure it out on your own.
How to properly draw on eyebrows and put colour back in my cheeks was key for me, but being able to just let go of all the stresses that cancer causes due to physical changes and to be looked after for those two and a half hours is incredible. The whole workshop was stress-free and fun.
My partner Craig and I have been together for 8 years and I have two sons and two grandchildren. Craig and I migrated to Perth from the UK when my sons were 24 and 26, married and excelling in their respective careers. It was a very difficult decision to move to the other side of the world and leave behind my family, but we knew it was a fantastic opportunity and we were very lucky that our family supported our decision.
In November last year after a routine mammogram, I received a call to advise an area of calcium had been identified and a core biopsy was required. Two days later I had an appointment to discuss the results and Craig and I were told the devastating news that I had cancer in my left breast. We were shocked, speechless, and initially unable to ask any questions. I was holding back my tears, my mouth was dry, and I felt completely numb. I don’t actually remember leaving the hospital after receiving the diagnosis. The last thing I remember is sitting in the car and calling my sister, crying uncontrollably and unable to speak.
Reality kicked in quickly, as only three weeks after my diagnosis I was having surgery to remove a tumour from my left breast and three lymph nodes from under my left armpit. I then required a second surgery in January and another nine lymph nodes were removed. In total after the two surgeries, 6 out of the 12 removed nodes were cancerous. And it was an aggressive cancer – grade 3, stage 2.
A plan was put in place. I was to have a CT scan, bone scan, six sessions of chemotherapy every 21 days, and then finally six weeks of radiotherapy, 5 days a week. I knew my future was going to be a life-changing, challenging experience and certainly not one I had ever expected.
My medical team at Royal Perth Hospital recommended the Look Good Feel Better program to me and encouraged me to attend a workshop. I wasn’t initially keen to attend as I didn’t know anything about it or what to expect, other than it was highly recommended and it would be provided to me free-of-charge as a community service. I learnt that it’s the generosity of the community and corporate donors that ensures patients like me can benefit from the program.
On the day of my workshop, I had not yet started treatment and I felt apprehensive and nervous. I waited outside the workshop room with reality looking at me; the thought of losing my hair was very scary and most ladies waiting for the workshop to start had already lost theirs. I was not emotionally prepared for how I was feeling and wanted to leave. When I sat down in the room, tears started pouring down my cheeks.
Reflecting on the workshop, the whole experience was a big part of my journey and I am so very glad I attended. I left feeling as if it was all going to be ok, as I’d learned I wasn’t alone on this journey and realised how much help and support was available not only to me, but all women going through cancer treatment.
Although I had always worn make-up, I learned new techniques for its application and also learned how to care for my skin; both during treatment, and after I had finished. My friends and family have complemented me on how good my skin looks and how well my make-up has been applied.
It also helped me with my emotions surrounding hair loss and made me realise how many different options are available for head coverings. The demonstration of wigs and headwear was amazing; it gave me so many inspirational ideas whilst also being a lot of fun! I now have several wigs and options of head wear, having been given plenty of great advice from the Look Good Feel Better volunteers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I was able to gain strength and confidence and laugh. I would highly recommend that each and every person that is offered the chance to attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop take part. I’m so grateful it was part of my journey because the boost in my confidence, the emotional support and the kindness meant a lot to me and made a huge difference.
My little family immigrated to Australia five years ago from Johannesburg. My husband, two beautiful girls – aged 8 and 7 – and I love our life in Sydney and we spend our time exploring its beaches, restaurants, museums and cafes. We enjoy a healthy, outdoor lifestyle as much as possible.
When my doctor discovered a lump during a routine yearly check-up, it was the last thing I had expected. I had a good fitness regime, I was feeling really healthy and was getting stronger and fitter – I never got sick. An ultrasound led to a mammogram, which led to a biopsy, which came back as a cancer diagnosis. I was shocked and scared – how could I have breast cancer at 34 years of age? With no family history?
I had surgery and it was considered a success, but as my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, I needed to undergo a course of chemotherapy. This of course meant losing my hair. My nurse suggested I attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop to help me learn some useful ways to manage the changes I was experiencing to my appearance. While I was offered practical guidance about make-up and skin care, I was really interested in mastering head coverings and found the advice on scarves and scarf styling invaluable. Mostly though, it was really beautiful to connect with other women in a similar position and I felt so encouraged by the lovely volunteers.
I am very much a changed person. I went from being an extremely energised, fit and strong independent woman to a frail, sickly, fatigued person who needed help all the time. But I try to stay positive because life happens and you’ve got to adjust and work with the direction it’s sending you in. We all chant these mantras, that whatever life throws at you, you’ve got to make the most of it. And my experience has taught me that you have to still live. You have to still find the joy in every day.
“Around this time last year – not long before Christmas – I noticed a small lump above my right collar bone and after a visit to my GP, an ultrasound and a needle biopsy was arranged. Shortly after, I had surgery to remove swollen lymph glands, which confirmed a diagnosis of blood cancer – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My initial reaction was disbelief.
My father unfortunately passed away from Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2014 after a four-year battle. His passing seems like only yesterday.
I am 31 years old. I have a beautiful Mum, and three older siblings as well as six nieces and nephews. I work in architecture and interior design and I have built my own practice that has now been running for five years. Once treatment commenced I, of course, had concerns for my family and my business, my staff and my clients. But I had hoped that everything would be ok.
Half way through my treatment earlier this year, a friend I had made through a Lymphoma website who had also been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma suggested we attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop together. The workshop was our first chance to catch up.
Other than being shown how to draw on my eyebrows and learning that they are “sisters and not twins”, it was lovely to connect with other women going through cancer. The main thing I learned was that a simple activity – like a group of women getting together to learn how to put on make-up and tie headscarves – can bring people together. It was more about the conversations for me.
I was surprised to learn that Look Good Feel Better – a free national service for cancer patients – doesn’t receive any government funding. It’s the generosity of the community and people like you that ensures patients can continue to benefit from the program.
I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to others going through treatment for cancer, as it’s a great way to connect with people in a similar situation, in a safe environment. As a Christmas gift to those who need it most, I ask you to please consider making a donation to the program. Your gift will ensure Look Good Feel Better can continue to support patients like me across Australia in the coming year.
I finished treatment in April this year and still have the same job, the same house, a lot of the same friends, and of course my incredible family by my side; and I am so looking forward to celebrating with those who mean the most to me this festive season.
I hope you will consider making a donation to Look Good Feel Better before the year draws to a close. I was so happy to have the chance to attend the workshop and I hope that other cancer patients will be able to benefit from the service in the coming year. Please make a donation today”.
“After noticing a lump on my left leg, I took myself to the doctor. The lump was thought to be a fatty cyst and I was referred to a surgeon to have it removed. As a precautionary measure, the removed tissue was tested and I will never forget the look on the surgeon’s face when he sat me down with the results and said – “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have cancer”.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and from there began all the x-rays, MRI’s, heart scans and CT scans – I had no idea there were so many machines! And then the chemotherapy and sessions of radiotherapy commenced.
I am 59 years old and have been married to my husband, David, for 35 years. We have two beautiful daughters – Jessica and Alexandra – and four absolutely amazing grandchildren. Cancer wasn’t on my agenda, but unfortunately it doesn’t discriminate. And the irony of my diagnosis was that I had no symptoms and was feeling better than ever.
I was quite nervous when I attended my Look Good Feel Better workshop. I had lost all my hair and my eyebrows, and was thinking I was the only person that looked like this. On arrival at the workshop I was met by a lovely volunteer who directed me to my seat in a room filled with women who were younger and older, and clearly at different stages of their treatment. My nerves soon faded because everyone was so welcoming, and by the time the workshop finished I felt a little more attractive and worthwhile, and we all left with a smile. The cosmetic gifts we received were also wonderful.
I have been cancer free for one year now and there are so many things that I still have to do! I have to have fun, go on holidays, love and cuddle my grandchildren, and share stories with them.
Cancer changes lives, people and families and it has taught me that life is so precious and it can change in a second. I don’t let little things eat away at me anymore and I don’t stress over silly things. I am not so judgemental, as I understand that everyone is fighting their own battles.
I would recommend Look Good Feel Better to all women going through treatment. It is an activity that actually makes you feel better about yourself and it’s also comforting to know that there are others out there feeling just the same as you.”
“After a month of various tests, one appointment with my specialist changed everything. He sat me down and told me that I had cancer. It was a stage 3/4 diagnosis and I replied to him with a giggle that I don’t do things in half measures. I don’t think he knew what to do with my humour – I was a little shocked but what was I to do? It was what it was.
I am a strong and independent 36-year-old woman who loves life, loves being creative, loves people and loves the challenge of a project as well as my bulldog, vintage clothing and white top stitching on anything! I have been married to my best friend for 16 years and am the mother of three beautiful children aged 9, 6 and 2. My family are my sanctuary and so very important to me. I live in South West WA on the beautiful coast in Bunbury. I enjoy everything about living in a regional city. Beach walks, beautiful food and the best coffee are all on my doorstep as well as the emphasis on family life. It’s a treat raising my kids here.
It was curiosity that took me to the Look Good Feel Better workshop as I wanted to see what I could do to help my appearance through this chapter in my life. It was one thing having cancer, but I didn’t want to always look like I had cancer.
I was blown away by the extensive knowledge and expertise of the Look Good Feel Better volunteers who were also very supportive. I learnt a few different things from the workshop, especially around the importance of sunscreen on my face and my poor bald head. But for me, it was being in a room with other ladies who were in the same boat as me, having a laugh and encouraging each other through what is a life changing experience. The Confidence Kit I received took me by surprise. It was so generous and to know this was all donated was truly inspiring.
I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to other women going through treatment for cancer. The tips you receive to help yourself not look like a cancer patient are assuring and helpful. Being in a room of women in the same position as you is also comforting and you walk away empowered to still embrace your femininity, even though some of it has been taken away.
Since my diagnosis, I have had to slow down and rely on other people more than I ever have before. Colours seem more vivid and the kids’ giggles are treasured a lot more. I don’t sweat the small stuff. It has given me a new perspective on the fact that we never know what a person is going through so we need to treat everyone with care and kindness. Life is short and people are important. We should treat them and ourselves accordingly”.
“Before my diagnosis, work was becoming more demanding and I was under a lot of stress just keeping up and balancing home and work life. The diagnosis came as a break. I stopped everything to focus on myself; to think, to be calm, to relax and to get ready for the treatment that was to come.
My cancer was self-examined. I had two lumps in my breast, one of which was near my upper ribs. It was initially thought to be nothing – perhaps a swelling of the cartilage to my ribs – and the x-ray that was ordered to examine the bone showed all was normal. But I knew that something was not quite right, so got a second opinion from another doctor. From there, all was set in motion with a quick succession of examination, biopsy, and diagnosis.
The waiting period before the news was emotional. It is not something you think would happen to you if you’ve done all the right things to keep healthy. I am in my late 40’s and have been active and healthy my whole life; traveling, working and raising a family.
I have a husband, two children in their early teens, and elderly parents whose care I share with my five brothers and sisters. The fear I had for my family and myself was overwhelming. My mind was preoccupied with many questions and doubts, and thinking of worst-case scenarios. It did take a long time before I could see the bright side of recovery. The fear put me into a frenzy but it is something I got over when I had a plan; over time, I accepted that I just had to get through each phase.
Though well meaning, I wanted to get away from the talk of treatment with family and friends, which is why I booked into a Look Good Feel Better workshop. I wanted to do something that didn’t have a focus on medicine and appointments. Meeting women similar to myself – not ‘patients’ – made it feel good.
I picked up some makeup tips and realised that not having eyebrows is not the end of the world! I got useful advice on headwear and skin care as well. But what I appreciated the most was the feeling of genuine care from the volunteers for the wellbeing of participants. You can tell they love doing the workshops.
My experience after the workshop was just as wonderful, as I could talk to my children and my husband about something other than treatment! It was a happy and fun experience and sharing that with them made us all feel really good. It was a more than welcome distraction.
I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to others going through treatment. It is something nice and unexpected that helps lift your mood. It gave me a change of pace that I really needed in the middle of some very unpleasant times.
These days, on my weekends I spend time with my parents to just “be” and make up for time missed whilst overseas. I have developed an interest in photography through documenting my growing children and I enjoy taking photos of their sports as a way to participate in the sport with them. I think my life is more multi-dimensional now than it has ever been. I’m a parent, a child, a carer and happy doing as much as I can – including taking on a new puppy who is currently 12 weeks old!”
“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!”
“While undergoing my annual pap smear, I called my doctor’s attention to a small lump on my thigh, which I thought was a cyst. She didn’t muck around, and within four days, I had received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, just a week before my 59th birthday.
Career-wise I had been planning a big year; I had developed and produced online courses for dyslexic children and adults in Australia and had just finalized the itinerary and payment for a seminar tour of New Zealand. Instead, I had to postpone the trip to start treatment three weeks after my diagnosis.
My treatment involved six cycles of a fortnightly chemo regime followed by two cycles of fortnightly tablets, just to clear up any stray cancer cells. The chemo started to take its toll after the second cycle where I lost my hair. But the fourth and following cycles were the toughest, especially the immense fatigue where it was difficult to walk far without experiencing serious breathlessness.
I believed that learning about lymphoma and the proposed treatment regime, as well as maintaining a positive, optimistic mindset and outlook, would give my medical treatment the best opportunity to work.
While waiting in the oncology reception, I saw a poster for Look Good Feel Better, so I decided to look into it online. I booked into a session after my first chemo cycle, which was a good thing as I still had my hair and confidence.
I think had I waited until I ‘needed’ to go, I would have not felt as strong when I started losing my hair. I felt that taking a proactive approach would help me get all the information I needed to take control over my own appearance. It was the only thing I could control during my diagnosis.
The most important thing about the workshop for me, was the information about headwear and wigs. I was not aware that you could buy hats that cover the whole head, and by layering the scarves and turbans you can create an individual look that is stylish and doesn’t scream ‘chemo’!
I wear skincare and make-up daily so felt comfortable with my routine and application. What amazed me was how many women don’t wear makeup usually and how patient and supportive the volunteers were, showing compassion while helping and guiding the women to apply the beauty products.
Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence, it’s just a speed hump in the journey of life. Seeing other women of all ages living with cancer and managing their diagnosis with the support of one another and the support from the Look Good Feel Better volunteers made me feel like I was not alone.
After the Look Good Feel Better workshop, I booked in to see a wig consultant to get the ball rolling. Friends had suggested I might not lose my hair and perhaps I shouldn’t jump the gun on purchasing a wig, but I wasn’t going to wait to find out – staying strong means taking control of what you can and trying to keep things normal – so I purchased two!
Always being someone who likes to be informed, no one was surprised that I had booked myself into the workshop, in fact they would have been surprised if I hadn’t! I guess my family and friends noticed how positive I was about the physical changes that were taking place. For example, when my hair started to fall out, I decided to shave it down to a number two and went straight to wearing headwear – very stylishly – even around the house! I was putting effort in because I wanted to stay positive for me and my family, and thankfully I knew how to do it fashionably thanks to the tips I picked up at the workshop!
Since my diagnosis, two of my friends have also been diagnosed and I have recommended that they attend a workshop too.
These days, I am prioritizing time for myself, and exploring my creative side. I have taken up water colour painting and love it! And I have finally had time to explore what was on my to-do list for when I retired (yeah, right!) I had always enjoyed knitting and colouring-in but when my son suggested I try painting, I thought, why not?
Being a self-employed woman who uses public seminars to promote my products and services, I have given myself time off through the cycles. Once treatment has been completed, I will again hit the stage and I’m sure no-one will be any the wiser with the new-look me!”
“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.”
“I was lucky enough that my GP felt a small change in my breast that I had not noticed. As a qualified sonographer, as soon as I saw the ultrasound image I knew the lump was malignant.
I was obviously shocked, I never thought it would be me. I have been involved in healthcare and medical imaging for over 25 years and have even diagnosed many cancers during my career. It was a real eye-opener suddenly being on the other side.
I called my husband, Ramsey as soon as the mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy was done to let him know. As it was just a week before Christmas, while I was reassured that the prognosis was good, we decided not to tell family and friends until we knew the next steps.
A few more tests were required to check the actual make-up of the cancer and therefore what the course of treatment would entail. I was upset when I knew I would be having chemotherapy as this was quite unknown to me. However, I received the best of care and felt grateful for such an amazing healthcare system to diagnose the lesion so early and quickly and allow me to get on with treating it.
Since diagnosis, my husband and I have put a few things on hold – from overseas travel to simple dinner’s out. Since treatment has started I am wanting to ensure I stay well and healthy, and I look at how life can fit in with treatment. Now that I am understanding the cycle of my treatment better, I hope it becomes easier to add social aspects back into our routine, for both me and Ramsey.
I wanted to attend the Look Good Feel Better workshop for many reasons. I had heard about this charity some time ago but never had the need for it. It seemed like such a simple but wonderful offering. I was hoping to meet with others going through the same process without having to explain what was going on – almost like a ‘normal’ moment as opposed to reassuring everyone I was OK.
I really wanted to attend as I had no idea what to do with my appearance, especially in my role as a CEO! Up until the age of 47, I have never had to wear a hat or wig, and didn’t really know anything about how to tie a scarf or accessorize. Having always had curly red hair I really didn’t know where to start.
The skincare and make-up component of the workshop was great fun and I learnt a few new tips which have since come in handy, particularly for the appearance of eyebrows. We had a few laughs along the way as we all started to enjoy this rather than worry about how we look. The camaraderie was great and supportive.
The main learning for me was how to choose and style headwear. I never knew there were so many choices, giving the illusion of having hair and volume. Some great tricks were shared, as well as plenty of samples of various hats and wigs for us to try and create new looks with.
The best thing about the workshop was twofold; the camaraderie was great fun amongst those that attended, and the endless support, advice and smiles from the volunteers. This goes a long way in reminding you that you are not alone during this challenge and you are surrounded by a group of amazing people. I regularly catch up with two ladies I met during this workshop as we continue to positively support each other. I was able to leave the workshop with a positive plan as to how I would present myself. This was really important both personally and professionally.
Since attending the workshop, my family and friends have certainly noticed a change in me. I have had comments that I look well and happier – it’s amazing what a little colour can do! These positive comments go a long way to making you feel better, no matter what else you may be going through.
I would certainly recommend the workshop to anyone going through cancer treatment. It is amazing to be in a room of people that understand, even if we are all on a different path. It offers you the chance to ‘let your hair down’, without feeling self-conscious or too vulnerable. The learnings you take home, even if you already know how to do make-up or wear headwear is invaluable, reminding yourself that you are supported, and that you can look and feel good!”
“I had some family history of cancer and an Aunt who had recently passed away as a result, so when my GP diagnosed me with breast cancer I wasn’t in complete shock. Even though I thought the chances of it happening to me were low, I figured that since I was diagnosed, I would do what was necessary to get treatment.
Since diagnosis, from a personal perspective, I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends and family who have rallied around me, both in person and online. My partner and children who are aged 11 and 8 have been a great source of love and hope. From a career point of view, although I have limited the hours I work in the retail industry, it has been a healthy source of sanity for me to socialize with others.
Most days I dress in vintage clothing from the 1940s/50s and I go by the pinup name Miss Jade Serpentine. I am keeping a positive attitude since my diagnosis and having been sharing my progress through my pinup persona. My view is that, if I can be open and share what I am going through, that I could potentially help someone out there who is experiencing similar things to me.
Each cycle of chemo knocks me out in some way or another but I have a fighting spirit and I know that it is just temporary. I am hopeful that the cancer is getting smaller every day and I am getting stronger every day as a result.
I had heard about the Look Good Feel Better workshop many years ago through media and then I saw a brochure in the hospital waiting room. Even though I was maintaining my pinup look, I thought by going to the workshop I would meet locals going through cancer treatment. I was also interested in learning the best way to look after myself in the coming months.
I learned about the various skincare products and techniques better suited for skin during chemotherapy. I also realized that feeling good on the inside would automatically be reflected on the outside. I was given the opportunity to share my experience and expertise with the other participants and volunteers by demonstrating how I tie up my turbans and some of my make-up techniques.
The volunteers who run the workshops were just fantastic, they were all happy to talk to the group, encouraged us and gave us help where needed. I had a support person with me on the day and the volunteers were happy to chat with her and include her in the workshop experience too.
The workshop reinforced that having a confident attitude and appearance is one of the most positive things that I could do to get better. I would definitely recommend and strongly encourage anyone in my position to register for the workshop – sooner rather than later!”