Hi, I’m Jessica, an architect from Cardiff. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma on 26th February, just before the world went into lockdown as a result of Covid19. This was six months after my wonderful wedding in Italy to my husband Adam. Our lovely daughter Angelica is nearly two and is a lively and happy girl, who brightens every day and means the world to me and Adam. She is the main reason why I force myself to get out of bed each day, even though I’m often feeling awful.
When I was initially told I had Hodgkin Lymphoma, my immediate thought was would my treatment be delayed because of risk of Covid19, but due to the seriousness of my diagnosis, being Stage 3, and being a blood cancer, it was more of a threat not to start treatment straight away than to run the risk of contracting Covid19. I started chemotherapy one week before we went into lockdown, following painful condensed fertility treatment undertaken over 10 days, which thankfully was a success.
All my life I had been “Jessica, with the big ginger hair” and always received complements on the length and colour of my hair. So one of the worst things for me was being told by my Oncologist that I would definitely lose my hair as a result of the chemotherapy. I did not want my hair it to go to waste, especially if it could help another patient, so I had it cut off before my treatment began and donated it to a cancer hair charity.
Due to the impact of Covid19, I was unable to go to any support sessions and felt very alone, overwhelmed, and isolated. It was a family friend, who had previously taken part in one of the face to face Look Good Feel Better workshops, who recommended I look them up. I visited the website and saw they are now running their services online and immediately signed up for a virtual workshop.
I was initially very tentative, but when I joined the virtual workshop, I was massively relieved as I had so many things in common with the other ladies on the call. One lady was recently married and another lady had a young daughter just like me. Right from the start there was so much we could all relate to which put us at ease really quickly. The beauty expert host explained the format of the two hour session and from that moment onwards we all copied what she was doing and had fun along the way.I have never really been too keen on make-up so I found the advice very helpful and I picked up a lot of tips, especially how to deal with the loss of my eyebrows. During my treatment my only venture to the ‘outdoors’ was when I went to hospital, accompanied by my lovely mother, for my weekly appointments. I made sure I had my make-up on, it just helps me feel more in control of me and in turn I feel more empowered and determined.
Attending the workshop really was a key moment for me as I had lost my identity. As a young woman I can honestly say Look Good Feel Better has helped build my confidence over recent months and what this has meant to me during such a difficult time is incredible. During these times we need as much of a boost as we can get.
I would definitely do it all over again as it was such an uplifting experience and we all left the session with happy, relaxed smiles on our faces.
I am still undergoing treatment and can’t wait for the day when it’s all finished. I have everything crossed that my scan results will bring me and my family some good news.
If you’re going through treatment yourself or know of anyone else who is, please tell them about Look Good Feel Better. I know the charity is really struggling financially through this crisis but they are expanding their online sessions to include ones on hair/wig advice/head coverings; nailcare and hopefully body image/styling in the coming months. Look Good Feel Better really does what its name says it will – it made a huge difference to me.
Be the first to know about new services and upcoming events by joining our mailing list.