Our 2nd Annual "Forget for a Moment" Makeover event will take place on Monday, March 27th. We are honoured to welcome 15 breast cancer champions to an evening of well-deserved pampering.
Why do we host this free event?
I remember when I finished my treatments back in 2011. It had been a hard year of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. But what caught me by surprise was how difficult it was after all my treatments were done...
I guess I thought I would be back to normal. That I would be well again. I would go back to work, and life would carry on. And everyone else thought so too. But here's the thing...you are not suddenly well again. You have all these lingering physical side effects because they don't just disappear overnight, or ever. And then there are the emotional side effects. I think when you are going through treatment, you just put your head down and get through it. But when it's all said and done, your body and mind kind of collapse from all the trauma. Fatigue sets in. Everything needs to heal and that takes time. You're happy and relieved to be done, but you're also weak and feeling lost. To me, it felt like "What now?" I had grown used to being under the care of the doctors and nurses on a weekly and even daily basis. I had a support system in place. And suddenly my oncologist was saying, "I'll see you in 3 months". You feel all alone and down, even depressed, which makes no sense because "hey, you just beat cancer". You should be jumping for joy.
And everyone else thinks you are all better too. And you do look better. You're not pasty white anymore, your hair is growing back, you have eyebrows and eyelashes again. You don't look sick anymore. But don't judge a book by its cover. There are underlying things that could be going on like neuropathy, lymphedema, brain fog, to name just a few. I couldn't focus on anything. I remember thinking, What is going on? Is this normal? I would start doing something at home, and then something else would catch my attention and I would be off doing that so nothing seemed to be getting done. I couldn't remember things. I would lose things. Once I lost my daughter's eyeglasses. I had them in my hand at bedtime and then in the morning, they were no where to be found. We searched the house high and low. Finally, she had to go to school without them. My husband eventually found them in the laundry basket amongst the freshly laundered clothes. At least it wasn't the dirty laundry!
And I couldn't spell anymore. I would be typing an email and not be able to recall how to spell the simpliest of words. I would ask my husband, how do you spell "know" and he would look at me funny and say "Really?" Honestly, I thought I was losing my mind until I attended a workshop on Brain Fog and discovered it is a common side effect of going through cancer treatment. What a relief! But how could I possibly go back to work. The best advice I got was from a fellow breast cancer champion who was about a year ahead of me. She advised, "Don't go back to work too soon. Take the time you need to heal and make sure you are truly ready".
So this is why we do the makeover, why we call it "Forget for a Moment". We want to bring together women who are going through a similar struggle. To share in an evening of being pampered, of being looked after in a more soothing, relaxing, and rejuvenating atmosphere, in a different way than they are taken care of during treatment. To share in companionship, laughter and tears. To share stories, tidbits of information and advice. And maybe just maybe...forget for a moment...what they are going through. To feel normal again, or at least, a new normal.
All of the women who responded to the call for participants expressed how this is coming at just the right time, how they are feeling so down, and how they are looking forward to being pampered and sharing in the experience with others who are walking the same path.
Participants from last year had this to say:
"Forget for a moment changed my life. I loved being pampered and feeling good about myself, something I had not felt since being diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an event you do not want to miss. Meeting so many incredible women was an inspiration." ~ Patti Duncan
"The 2016 1st "forget for a moment" makeover was a heartwarming event that brought together women to share joy and laughter beyond the cancer. Cancer does not define us; it is just part of us. Sometimes looking good on the outside can do wonders for the soul. I saw myself in a whole new light! Thanks Colleen for the lovely top. It is my survivor garb and I wear it often with wonderful thoughts confirming warrior strength." ~ Fiona Grant
The volunteers on the giving end of the evening said this, “I learned a lot tonight”. This is the "why" of our event. Women living with cancer sharing their stories and experiences so they can heal and learn from one another. And not only those with cancer but those without, or those who have loved ones with cancer…so they too can learn and see first hand what it’s all about…ordinary people living under extraordinary circumstances and taking it one step at a time.
Colleen Kanna is a breast cancer champion and creator of coKANna designs, a line of bamboo knit, Canadian-made adaptive clothing for women touched by breast cancer.