Pinky Pie

‘Cause making up is hard to do

Posted on: September 14, 2009

We entered the room in various states of, well, hair. Mine was shorter, grayish white – my natural color at long last – but still there. Not for long, mind you, but still there.

Other women had already lost their hair, covering their baldheads with a wig, a baseball cap, a straw hat or a turban. Still another woman noted her daughter had added pink to her hair for last weekend’s Steppin’ Out in Pink, a community-wide event to raise money for breast cancer research.

We were also all there for Look Good; Feel Better. This wonderful American Cancer Society program has a volunteer cosmetologist who demonstrates to women with cancer how to use a ton of very high quality makeup donated by a variety of companies. The idea is that if we look better we’ll feel better about ourselves during chemotherapy and/or radiation.

If we lose eyebrows, we can use this eyebrow pencil to draw them back in – or at least give some color to the area that once was eyebrowland. We were taught to put dots at strategic locations and then connect those dots.

A lip liner before lipstick will help us keep that bit of color all day. Then there was cleanser, eye shadow, eye liner, and much more.

I’ve never been a big makeup person, perhaps because of my lack of fine motor skills. With all apologies to Neil Sedaka, in my case, it’s making up that’s hard to do, not breaking up. My eyebrow dots were excessive to say the least and my lipstick ended up on my teeth. Not good signs.

We all worked very hard at it, trying the donated makeup. For one woman, it was especially difficult. This was her fourth round of breast cancer, but her first time at Look Good; Feel Better.

All of a sudden she had tears in her eyes. The donated makeup was not for her complexion, she said. She felt she couldn’t use any of it.

And, I knew she was not crying about the makeup; the makeup was just the final straw – the catalyst for releasing the pain she was feeling.

And not a one of us knew how to help her.

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4 Responses to "‘Cause making up is hard to do"

This posting is, as Maggie says, very powerful!

I wasn’t there an haven’t been there either, it is so difficult to know how one would feel in that situation …but you know, Sue, I am a big believer in hugs. Now hugs may not cure anything nor are they always easy to recieve, but on some level we were all hugged as infants and it is one of the first forms of comfort we we recieved.

I think they are so important today in our world that is too often cerebral and impersonal…especially when we are struggling with our own pain and feel so helpless and maybe hopeless. So I would suggest…HUGS!

Jill, absolutely true. We were across the table from each other and certainly I should have gotten up.

Sue, love your site!! I had bilateral mastectomy in ’02 and realize how life changing cancer can be.

FYI: My daughter, Trish bought me a “Hooters” tee-shirt which you can borrow and wear when you’re out for a stroll. Let me know!

Susan,
Your posts are so touching; I’m constantly reaching for the kleenex. And your friend, Jill, is right on. Hugs work when nothing else does. And they are much easier to deal with than make-up.

I wish my friend I recently lost had been able to read some of your pieces. She would have thoroughly enjoyed them and, better yet, completely understood all that you talk about.

Keep writing.
Elise

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