This year felt like I couldn’t escape cancer. When lockdown measures were lifted during the summer, you could go out and sit on a patio with a glass of wine with your friends. Others got that small sense of normalcy back in their life. But with cancer, you don’t get any of that. I got to be ‘cancer person’.
I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer after a routine mammogram just as everything was beginning to shut down in February of 2020. When you are diagnosed with cancer, the support offered by others becomes a source of strength. And when it happens during a global pandemic, you really learn the value of having a community of supporters cheering you on. Between waiting for appointments and wondering about the future, I had lost ten pounds and found it emotionally very hard.
My husband created a mailing list called ‘Team Liz’, which he would regularly send out to keep friends and family updated on my progress. The result was a flood of encouraging messages from people as far away as Missouri and Mexico, and I’d often go back and read them to lift my spirits. Many kindnesses came my way from all sorts of people in my life, and knowing they were all rooting for me helped immensely. I was especially buoyed by the support I got from folks who had gone through what I was going through. For example, a family member’s friend who lives in California – a young woman in her 30s who was a breast cancer survivor and a stranger to me – became a great source of comfort. She would give me tips, check in on me, and supported me throughout my treatment. It made me realize that I wasn’t ‘alone’.
Before COVID, someone like me would attend a group meeting at the hospital, in a large room with a health care professional explaining some of the changes that will occur as you undergo treatment. But with all the constraints due to COVID, my wonderful oncology team, who took great care of me throughout, was not able to dedicate time to go in-depth about what was to change for me physically.
It was at this time that I started hearing about Look Good Feel Better’s online programs. I had heard about the workshops over the course of 30 years, from magazines and TV appearances to family members who had attended the in-person workshops in the past. It was a relief to know the workshops were being offered online. The first one I signed up for was the skincare workshop because I knew I needed more information. But attending the workshop on my own time allowed me to fully grasp everything I needed to know. I felt relieved to learn how to take care of my skin while on chemo and how to draw on eyebrows when I lost my hair.
Later I was able to attend the breast care workshop and learn what questions to ask, the differences in prostheses, and what I would need after my double mastectomy. The workshops really resonated with me and gave me the confidence I needed when I went in for a fitting.
Now that I am finished my treatment, I see the workshops in a new light. LGFB was more than just a program that told me what I needed to know; it was a vehicle for support to tackle something like cancer. Much like my new friend from California and the countless others on Team Liz, the workshop volunteers and other participants helped me feel cared for and supported in what I was going through.
One gift, double the impact. From today until April 30th, you have the special opportunity to support women facing cancer, like Louise. Our friends at Cosmetics Alliance Canada. will match your gift, meaning it will go twice as far. *
*Until April 3oth, Cosmetics Alliance Canada will match individual donations, up to $25,000.