Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy. They are powerful weapons in
the fight against cancer, but the side effects can be physically taxing
and emotionally draining. Not only can treatment make people feel sick,
it takes a toll on their outward appearance.
That’s why Iredell Memorial Hospital is hosting two Look Good Feel
Better workshops this fall. The free American Cancer Society program includes
makeup help and specialized beauty tips for people with cancer. The workshop
is designed to help patients feel good about their appearance. That boost
can help them to cope with their diagnosis and possibly improve their
response to the treatment.
Debra Hottenrott is coordinating the classes on September 19 and November
25. As the oncology patient navigator at Iredell Memorial Hospital, Hottenrott
is an advocate for cancer patients, connecting them to resources like
transportation, support groups and financial aid.
She also sees first-hand the effects of cancer therapy on patients’
appearance and on their morale. “When they start treatment, the
radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause dry skin. It messes with
their complexion,” Hottenrott said. “Their physical appearance
is something they are not happy with. They don’t want to go out.
They miss their hair.”
Hottenrott said helping a patient feel good when they look in the mirror
can have instant results.
“It’s amazing. When they get a wig, they just light up,”
Hottenrott said. “A lot of people think ‘Oh, that’s
just vanity. You’re just being vain.’ It’s really not,
it’s a proven fact – when you feel good about the way you
look, you can feel better. That directly impacts how you respond to treatment
and how well you’re healing.”
Look Good Feel Better is more than just a makeover. Patients will learn
specific techniques to help make the most of their appearance while undergoing
treatment. A cosmetologist specially trained by the American Cancer Society
will offer advice on coping with skin changes. Participants who are concerned
about hair loss can get tips on how to wear wigs.
Anyone who participates will take home a free beauty bag valued at $200,
filled with makeup, toiletries and other supplies.
Two Look Good Feel Better Sessions are scheduled for September 19 and November
21 at the Outpatient Services Building at Iredell Memorial Hospital. Each
session begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Again, the program is completely
free, but you must register in order to attend. For more information or
to reserve your spot, call Debra Hottenrott at 704-878-7799.