Look good, feel better

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 28, 2002

Features Editor

Attitude is half the battle and, when the enemy is cancer, winning half the battle is essential to winning the war.

Sometimes, having a positive attitude is the most difficult challenge facing a cancer patient. Doctors can provide treatment, but attitude depends completely on the patient.

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Saturday was the best day that Margaret Tillery has had since she was diagnosed with breast cancer Dec. 3, 2001. And, Frances Revell was having a good day, but Saturday was a good day made better.

The ladies were among seven cancer patients who attended the Look Good … Feel Better workshop held at the Pike County Extension office.

All seven left the workshop looking radiant, happy and had smiles on their faces, said Dena Barnes, county extension agent.

"The way you look and feel helps greatly in the treatment of cancer," Barnes said. "The purpose of the Look Good … Feel Better workshop is to teach women to take care of their skin during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. They also learn to deal, beautifully, with the loss of hair by the effective use of wigs, turbans and scarves."

Barnes said the Look Good … Feel Better workshop is usually offered in larger cities, but it was so beneficial to the participants Saturday that she hopes to offer the program several times a year.

"We couldn’t have had a more fun or livelier group," she said. "They talked and laughed the entire two hours. They learned ways to make themselves look good and, therefore, feel better while going through cancer treatment. They also benefited from the fellowship. Look Good … Feel Better is an outstanding program and we appreciate Brianna Lester and Sherley Ellis of Signature Designs for volunteering to be a part of this program that will be so beneficial to so many."

On Saturday, the benefits of the program were immediate.

The ladies all left looking good and in very good spirits.

"That workshop made my day," said Mrs. Tillery. "I laughed all the way through. It did me the world of good. I came away feeling better about what’s ahead of me. Right now, I’m in treatment and my hair is getting thinner and thinner. I’m hot natured and a wig’s not right for me. But, they showed me how to fix scarves and I’m alright with that … now."

Frances Revell knows all too well what’s ahead for female cancer patients.

"I’m bald headed right now," she said. "When the doctor told me that I would lose my hair while I was going through chemo, I told him that I wasn’t trying out for a beauty contest. I just wanted those cancer cells gone from my body."

But, Mrs. Revell didn’t realize that the chemotherapy would do more than cause her to lose her hair; it would also bring on a state of depression."

"You get an ‘I don’t care attitude," she said. "Some days you don’t care how you look, but then you realize that if you can get up and make yourself look better you will feel better. That’s what you have to do."

The Look Good … Feel Better workshop is sponsored by the American Cancer Society in partnership with the National Cosmetology Association and

the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association. The Pike County Extension Office is the local liaison for the program.