I have just spent a wonderful morning speaking with some members of the media about the 20-year anniversary of the Look Good Feel Better program. As women, we all love to read our fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, and since Look Good Feel Better began in 1992, our media partners have played a crucial role in helping to spread the word about our free programs to Canadian women. As I looked around the table this morning at the magazine writers and editors who joined us, I saw some faces who have been with us since the program’s beginning, as well as some new faces. In both instances, it’s a sincere pleasure to let people know about the benefits of our Look Good Feel Better program and our facingcancer.ca community.
We were especially thrilled to welcome our blogger friend, Katie Evans (The Bald & the Beautiful) who shared how the support she found at both the Look Good Feel Better workshop and here, at facingcancer.ca have coloured her cancer experience. One of the things that resonated with me about what Katie said was that now that she’s out of treatment and back to work, people around her consider cancer to be “over” or “behind her”. However, for those of us who have been diagnosed, we know that the period after treatment can be just the beginning of the cancer journey, as we adapt to our “new normal”.
As we look back over the past 20 years of Look Good Feel Better, we also look forward, as we work to find ways to help women face the persistent challenges that follow us long after the diagnosis is given or the tumours have been removed from our bodies. For me, those challenges include wearing leg braces and using a cane to help me walk as a result of the intense treatments I received, as well as the fear of recurrence (that we all know so well) and grieving the life that might have been had cancer not robbed me of so many choices and chances. That’s not to say there’s not a wonderful existence after cancer, it may just be that “after cancer” doesn’t exist. Rather, once we hear that diagnosis, our reality is altered and we are forced to move forward on a different path that is inextricably shaped by cancer. The important thing is, to keep moving forward with courage, hope and optimism.