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Published: Tuesday, 6/3/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

Feeling good in cancer fight

Workshop offers patients tips on quality of life issues

BY MAYA AVERBUCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Volunteer cosmetologist Brenda Holsey, left, helps Liza Lacy of Toledo with her new makeup during a ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ event at Mercy St. Anne Hospital on Monday. Volunteer cosmetologist Brenda Holsey, left, helps Liza Lacy of Toledo with her new makeup during a ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ event at Mercy St. Anne Hospital on Monday.
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Brenda Holsey, a volunteer cosmetologist, offered advice for a group of women at Mercy St. Anne Hospital on Monday.

“If you lose your eyebrows, there are certain points on the face that you identify and mark that will give you the perfect eyebrow shape,” she said.

The five cancer patients at the free “Look Good, Feel Better” workshop pulled out donated brand-name makeup from small pink pouches. They leaned over small table-top mirrors, carefully applying eyeliner, mascara, and lip liner as the two instructors offered advice on everything from wig cleaning to skin care.

“Look Good, Feel Better” is celebrating its 25th national anniversary this year. But there’s more than just makeup available to cancer patients in Toledo.

The workshop is just one of many events hosted by organizations working to improve the quality of life of those who have undergone surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment.

The Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, The Victory Center, and Cherished Friends of Ahava each offer support, such as massages and yoga classes or discussion groups and counseling.

Paula Domitio, who attended Monday’s session, said that after her surgery on Friday, “I wanted something fun to get back to normal life again.” She was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in May.

With funding from the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, and the Professional Beauty Association, the “Look Good, Feel Better” workshops are available at numerous Mercy, ProMedica, and University of Toledo hospitals.

Geri Siefke also attended the event after her sister told her, “You look so peaked all the time.” She started a rigorous five-week round of treatment in March.

“It helps to know other people are going through a life-changing event,” said Mrs. Siefke, who goes to The Victory Center.

The Victory Center offers free facials, reflexology, aroma therapy, and nutrition classes, among other services, to approximately 500 cancer patients every year. Open for 18 years, it works with local hospitals and hosts a monthly cancer collaborative with nurses, administrators, and therapists.

Eleanor Barnes, left, of Grand Rapids, Ohio, and Diana Osterman of Ottawa Lake, Mich., joke around during Monday’s free workshop. Just for women with cancer, the event educated them on how to understand and care for changes in their skin and hair that may occur during their treatments. Eleanor Barnes, left, of Grand Rapids, Ohio, and Diana Osterman of Ottawa Lake, Mich., joke around during Monday’s free workshop. Just for women with cancer, the event educated them on how to understand and care for changes in their skin and hair that may occur during their treatments.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

“The Toledo area has great medical treatment for cancer, but there are very few places where cancer patients can go where the whole mind-body-spirit connection is looked at,” said Dianne Cherry, the center’s executive director.

Ms. Cherry refers patients to partner groups, such as the Ahava Spa, which provides free services for a day to anyone with cancer.

At the Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, staff work one-on-one with patients to combat some of the common symptoms of their diseases and side effects of treatment, including nausea, fatigue, and joint pain. They also wait with clients in the hospitals or visit them at home, if necessary.

“Their days and weeks are spent with one treatment after another,” said Jean Schoen, the group’s founder. With free therapy, “Their bodies are relaxed, which speeds up the healing process.”

Contact Maya Averbuch at: maverbuch@theblade.com or 419-724-6522.



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