On Monday the girls and I attended a program sponsored by the American Cancer Society, "Feel Better, Look Good." For two hours, experts demonstrated how to wear scarves and hats, and how to apply make-up to make to enhance our features. The goal is to make you feel your best during chemotherapy.
I was clearly the youngest person by 15 years. I think the next youngest person must have been 65 years old. So technically, I was the youngest by 16 years, but who's counting? Every woman in there could have been the girls' grandmother.
The scarf tying demonstrations were the most helpful for me. We learned that a silk scarf doesn't stay in place on a slippery bald head - makes sense, but never thought about it. To keep silk scarves in place, you must first put on a cotton cap that is made specifically for chemotherapy patients, similar to the caps placed on newborn babies. The scarves will cling to the cotton. We also learned how to make a head-wrap from a t-shirt! First you cut off the upper part of the shirt, straight across from armpit to armpit. Then, you strategically place the remaining tube on your head and start wrapping and twisting. It really worked and was super easy. I volunteered to be a demonstrator - surprise, surprise. I haven't cut up any t-shirts yet, but I'm close.
There was a small discussion on wigs. The presenter warned about wearing wigs by the BBQ or cooking in the kitchen because they melt! Naturally I had to comment out loud, "Now there's a reason for not having to cook." Just call me "Ice Breaker."
I was the only woman with an exposed head, a freshly buzzed head. I wore a hat, but took it off during the class. One woman wore a scarf, and every other woman, about 20 of then, either wore a wig or had not lost their hair yet.
We were warned about problems with bacteria forming on the scalp. More grossness. We must keep scarves, hats, and headbands worn under hats clean.
The make-up portion was the most fun for the girls. I was given a large cache of free make-up & moisturiser by companies such as: Chanel, Clinique, Bobbie Brown, Mary Kay, Origins, Estee Lauder, Maybeline, Max Factor, Aveda, and NYC. Some of the other ladies had products by other companies that donate make-up to the American Cancer Society. The make-up artist gave us some great tricks of the trade, such as dabbing vs. rubbing on concealer. I learned how to draw on eyebrows if mine should happen to fall out. (So far, eyebrows and eyelashes are intact.) By the end of the session, all the women looked fabulous!
The organizer had to open an extra stash of make-up to fill in missing items for a few women. She ended up with some excess items, and kept feeding them to Riley and Molly. Riley was pleased to receive a $40 Chanel mascara, even though she doesn't wear mascara. It was the "Chanel" part that excited her. Molly was excited to receive her first "lipstick." She has owned lip gloss before, "but never lipstick!" The thrill of new make-up starts at an early age, and never gets old! (I rarely wear make-up, but without my hair to hide behind, I try to wear make-up every day. I don't know how you beautiful make-up wearers do it on a daily basis. However, I do feel good, and look better with it. )
With our freshly painted faces, the girls and I decided that lunch and shopping would round off the day. I wore my hat and pink ribbon earrings, but it was fairly obvious that I don't have any hair. Our local mall if just across the freeway from Mass General North, the location for the "Feel Better, Look Good" program. The Northshore Mall has kiosks located down the center, selling cell phones, lotions and potions, hair accessories, etc. Some of the sales people are as aggressive as carnies trying to get you go throw darts at neoprene balloons. These sharks usually approach with the line, "Can I ask you a question?" I always reply, "You just did," leaving then puzzled. However, on Monday, I got a hall-of-fame line thrust at me by a hair crimper and flat iron kiosk salesman: "Excuse me, can I talk to you about your hair." Without even slowing down, I replied with a chuckle, "I don't have any hair!"
Whacky thought for the day...
I was an independent sales rep for 23 years. For some reason, I thought that in sales, it was important to know your customer before you try to sell them something. Maybe I would have sold more if I tried the kiosk method.