Look Good, Feel Better

The washing machine is murmuring nicely in the background as I sit here and think about what to write. It makes me feel so very domesticated to get ‘houseworky’ things done in a timely manner, because being domesticated isn’t my strong suit. I don’t ever let my washing pile up to be honest, because mess bothers me. I love the clean house feel, I just don’t enjoy the work that it takes to get there. But doing washing is so easy for us in the Western world. Stick clothes into the machine, press a few buttons and shazam! Clean clothes. I do miss hanging my clothes out on the washing line like I can back home in Melbourne. Here in Ottawa there are not enough days of the year to warrant trying to have a washing line installed here even if the landlord allowed it. So after the washing machine the hardest thing I have to do is stuff the wet clothes into the drier and twirl a knob and press a button. Then I simply fold the clothes and let my daughter Bronwen drop them onto her bedroom floor as a mark of respect for all the hard work I’ve put into giving her clean stuff to dirty up again.

If I look to my right I have my bedside rubbish bin and inside are not one, but two wrappers from my favourite choccie bars from Australia. I’ve had a Cherry Ripe and a Peppermint Crisp this week – yum yum. If I close my eyes just so and look when I’m sufficiently tired I can fool my brain for a millisecond that I’m back home where eating a Cherry Ripe isn’t such a big deal. There isn’t a chocolate bar from here that I would miss so very much, everything they have is what we have back home; Mars Bar, Bounty, …. Oh my list of favourite chocolate bars here is pretty limited. Hmmm. I’m so lucky to have friends and family who send me Care Packages from back home on a fairly regular basis; otherwise I’m sure the snack foods from back home would take on mythical proportions.

Bronwen has decided to come and visit me in the bedroom and get the dogs all riled up. There are play growls and yippy barks and yells from the child and the quiet Zen like zone I had been getting into has all but disappeared. *sigh* Now the child is asking me if I’m hungry, because she is. What does she think I’m going to do….feed her? I’m only her mother, not the chef of the house. *sigh* Damn, I was really getting into a writing happy place.

Something I noticed this morning as I was doing my skin care routine was that my eyebrows are really starting to thicken up. I’m so excited. My need to draw them on is lessening every day but today I thought to myself that I could probably go out in public without ‘doing my eyebrows’ and no one would notice any difference. That’s an exciting turn of events. And it only took three and a half months since the last chemotherapy round. I’m so happy. I think I can say with a level of certainty that I have eyebrows again. I also wore mascara for the first time this last week – talk about a heavenly angels singing the hallelujah chorus moment! You know I haven’t been able to wear mascara since December last year when all my eyelashes fell out? I think though in the ensuing time that my mascara has gone all gluggy so it’s time for me to go and buy myself a new one to celebrate having lashes (short and stumpy as they may be) to use the wand on.

It’s the little things that cancer steals from you. But it’s like a long drawn out Christmas morning to get everything back again, little by little. I’m so glad that I did the Look Good, Feel Better program at the Ottawa Cancer Centre. http://lgfb.ca/en/   It made such a difference to my outlook in the really dark days of my chemotherapy and it’s a charity that I would whole heartedly support now. Before the “C” word was spoken in my life, I would have underestimated the importance of such a group and what they did. “In the big scheme of things when your battling cancer, is having your makeup done right with the right kinds of colours really that important?” I would have thought. Boy was I wrong. Having my face look normal when I had lost everything was vital to me feeling human. When your eyebrows, eyelashes and hair fall out its devastating. It’s like suddenly your very private information is being shouted from the rooftops. HEY EVERYONE! I HAVE CANCER! A wig can cover the bald head, but when the eyebrows and eyelashes go then there is nothing to hide the fact you are sick; very sick indeed. Look Good Feel Better made me feel normal again. I am beyond grateful for the encouragement, knowledge and the incredible generosity of the gift of makeup they gave me. Yes, I can safely say if you want to make a difference to teenagers all the way to older women’s lives right where you are, if you are a charity begins at home kind of thinker, then think about the Look Good Feel Better charity, which is the only worldwide group dealing with this stuff.

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