Emotional healing - 'feeling better' is as important as cancer treatments

Shona wasn’t sure she should attend a Look Good Feel Better class. She had undergone gruelling cancer treatment but to the outside world looked well. So it was with trepidation that she went.

“Physically I was starting to feel a lot better but emotionally I would say that I was at my lowest point. So the class for me was not necessarily to make me look better. For me it was more about feeling better,” the 36 year old says.

It will be two years ago in July that Shona was diagnosed with stage 2b cervical cancer. She endured five rounds of chemotherapy, 25 fractions of external radiation and then internal radiation.  

“I was lucky enough to not lose my hair or my eyebrows and, so in some ways I wondered if I should actually go to the class. It wasn’t until I turned up and I met all the other cancer patients that I felt like I was actually entitled to be there. I felt I was with like-minded people. It was a really nice, kind, caring, comfortable environment. It was just time out that you don’t always give yourself. 

“it was a couple of hours where it was all about me and someone was pampering me and it was a really beautiful lovely kind of feeling. it wasn’t the only thing that helped me to feel better but I think it was a step in the process for me.  

“A lot of my disease felt really invisible. It’s all inside, you can’t see any of that. The majority of what you go through is hospital based. You, at times, can feel like a bit of a number, not a person. Going to that class made me feel less invisible. And that was a huge thing for me because you become more real again and you feel really cared for.  

“It was a real positive day – you’re surrounded by so much love and care and support. I am very glad I did it. It helped the emotional healing.” 

Dry July NZ Trust