wide-eyed at 4am

Who’s Looking Good?

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I finally got to a Look Good Feel Better class at LCI. Last week, I had to cancel my original class date because I was just not feeling well after my 2nd chemo treatment.

This week, as I drove up to LCI Morehead, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had heard good things, but I had also heard good things about the Navigator program. (My navigator experience.)

The room was set up with long tables formed into and “u” with places “set” for each of us attending the class. There were individual mirrors, supplies (like make-up sponges, wipes, q-tips and make-up applicators, a small bag of popcorn to snack on, a cup of ice water(more about this later), a TLC catalog of turbans, scarves, wigs, and accessories for those dealing with hair loss, some paperwork and a Feel Good Look Better resource book.

We were greeted and given name tags and our individually packed make-up bags.

After choosing seats, we waited to begin.

Funny – I had ridden up on the elevator with 2 of the people in or associated with the class. Each had made comments about my hat, and the way that I looked. Upon entering the actual classroom, I learned that one of the folks on the elevator was the facilitator and 2 others were attendees. The facilitator also commented that she had never seen such clear, healthy-looking and pretty skin. And commented that I could probably teach this class.

That was the first alert.

I began looking through my make-up bag and thought that some of the colors weren’t quite what I would choose but it’s free and they only knew a couple of facts about my skin tones so what the heck.

We had a facilitator (licensed cosmetologist) and a speaker or assistant (professional make-up artist). Several other folks from LCI were also there to help with supplies and the 2 videos that we watched.

The class began with a video on the program and how the make-up was donated.

Then the action began.

We all cleansed our faces to begin the make-up segment of the class.

A “model” was chosen for the make-up artist to demonstrate what the facilitator was saying. This was very helpful to get technique for applying different products (even though all of the bags were unique – containing different brands of each items that may be applied in different ways).

We stepped through each make-up product from moisturizer, concealer, foundation and powder, eye brows, eye shadow and liner, mascara and lip liner and color.

The most informational part for me wasn’t in how to style my make-up. There is plenty online about how to style for particular eye shapes and colors, and I’ve had many make-overs at cosmetic counters. But critical to me were the tips for keeping your make-up sanitary. Using and then discarding throw away items like q-tips and cotton balls for everything (regardless of how the applicators worked) and handling the make-up items with contaminating them. This is critical during chemo when blood counts can fall and immune systems just can’t protect you from bacteria and germs.

I gleaned some techniques I’d not seen and learned that it is NOT recommended that we wear false eye lashes if we experience eye lash loss. The glue around the eyes is the problem. I managed to get my make-up on and not looking too bad. We went over some techniques for highlighting the eyes and face shape – distracting from the bald head, but not too much. We also discussed using blusher to conceal change in face shape from either weight loss or gain during treatment.

After make-up, we talked about wigs. This one surprised me. The facilitator noted that she had owned a wig shop in Charlotte, but she just had a mess of wigs stuffed into a duffle bag. They came out looking like a dog had dragged them across the floor. She had a few styles but talked about some differences in the way wigs are made but didn’t have examples of what she was talking about. I think several there who had not yet purchased wigs would have benefitted from seeing different types.

Luckily, I had the Ginny’s Wigs experience earlier in my process so I just sort of watched as the ratty looking wigs were placed on the model. There were some interesting products that just stuck out from under hats in different styles. But nothing that I would consider actually spending money on. Turbans were discussed and modeled, as well, but these are also sort of a put-off for me.

Next was the scarf tying portion of the program. I was interested in this because I just couldn’t figure out a way to tie a scarf on my head that looked appealing to me. I still don’t. This isn’t something that I think I will be doing either…..unless it’s tying one to wear under a hat.

We finished up with a video by Stacy London on different body shapes and how to dress to accommodate weight loss or gain or concealing the lop-sidedness evident after a mastectomy – which I most certainly have for now – as well as ports and drains.

This was pretty much common sense.

So I came away feeling like I had gotten a couple of tidbits of information about keeping my make-up clean, and reinforced my dislike for turbans and scarves.

The main thing about the class was this. The program is to guide those who are struggling with their loss and changes during treatment. Half of the 6 ladies in my group still had hair. 2 hadn’t even started treatment. These people couldn’t even really relate to some of the information and didn’t have a good understanding of what some of the details even meant to them. Attendees should be at the hair loss stage……

I think I also was in sort of an odd group. I had pretty much nothing in common with anyone in the group. Two ladies never wore make-up and had no idea what some of the products even were. Luckily one of them was the model so the make-up artist did everything for her. We had several ethnicities represented in our group – which was another challenge. I couldn’t tell that the make-up was geared in that way but maybe I’m wrong because they ended up looking OK at the end. The one person left – that I could have possibly had something in common with seemed to be clueless about everything that was going on. She hadn’t had any treatment and I’m not sure how long she had even had her diagnosis but maybe she was just suffering from a little deer-in-the-headlights syndrome from that phase of the journey. (another reason – at that early stage – they don’t need to be in this class)

So I was pretty underwhelmed on the way home and didn’t feel uplifted at all – well except that apparently I was far enough ahead of everyone that I could have “taught the class”. I feel like I totally missed part of the point of the program.

The reference to the cup of ice water earlier…

Much of this class focuses on keeping things sanitary and the importance of being aware and in control of bacteria you could come in contact with. So what about the cups of water? This is an example of how I’ve had to start thinking when I’m out and ingesting anything. Who prepared the cups? Did they war gloves or put ice in the cups with their bare, unwashed hands? Was the water sitting in uncovered pitchers (Like the ones on the counter at the side of the room? How long had these items been in this room and how many people have come through coughing and sneezing around the open items we were to drink from.

You got it! I didn’t touch my glass but pulled out my ever-present bottled water and drank it. Not sure if the organizers ever got the point. I think the only person who drank from the cup was the clueless person that I mentioned as being in the deer-in-the-headlights state.

I think this was a pretty big oversight for a program built around the whole sanitary theme.


Author: jillpurdy

A few months ago I wasn't but now I'm a statistic. That doesn't define me. I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife, a step mom, a grandmother, a friend and a Christian. I will continue to love exercise, music, cooking and food, and my family and friends. I'm stubborn, energetic, giving and too OCD for my own good sometimes. And I'm going to stay this way - despite cancer and the treatments that it takes to give it the royal beatdown.

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