We all know that the American Cancer Society supports research, but it also runs programs to help patients manage the effects of their treatments on a very personal level.
Joanne McNeese was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the beginning of June.
"I had two sessions of chemo [chemotherapy]--of course all my hair fell out," says McNeese. "There are no choices. You have to deal with it. If your eyelashes are going to fall out, I'd like to know how to put false eyelashes on. I don't want to look like a glamour queen, but I'd like to look like me."
McNeese is undergoing chemotherapy, but today she's experiencing a different kind of therapy--one she enjoys. She's learning how to use makeup techniques to tone down the visible effects of her treatment.
This workshop, held at Long Island Jewish Hospital, is called, "Look good, feel good." Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the class provides beauty tips to women being treated for cancer.
Hair stylist and makeup artist Mario Rella says, "We teach them how to do certain things when they lose their hair . . . And it teaches them if they should lose an eyebrow how to put an eyebrow back on the face--where to apply it, how to apply it."
Rella volunteers his time to teach the workshop.
"Sometimes with chemotherapy you may get dark circles under the eye and everything, so you teach them how to camouflage it," says Rella. "Your body is very sensitive to bacteria, so we want to keep everything clean."
"We have a wig bank with brand new wigs and they get a free wig when they come to the classroom," says Rella. "We teach them what kind of wig to buy, what are the easiest ones to take care of, what color is good, what style. Basically, I usually tell them to go with the style that they are used to, and the color they are used to for their first one."
Though the results may be only cosmetic, these women say that anything that helps them feel better about themselves is good medicine.
Patient Maureen Molinair says, "I saw this as just a great thing, something that would make me feel better about myself. You're so depleted that any opportunity to wake up in the morning and know that there are little things that you can do to make yourself feel better for just today--that's what's so important."
The "Look good, feel good" programs are nationwide, and to find one near you, all you need to do is call the American Cancer Society.
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