I was contacted by a representative for Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and asked if I would be willing to do a guest post on how women are affected by the effects of cancer, as well as other illnesses, and how keeping up a normal makeup routine can make you feel better about yourself and give you a more positive outlook on your diagnosis.
I decided to add a manicure to my post in honor of all the cancer patients, survivors and victims out there. Mesothelioma, to the best of my knowledge, does not have a dedicated "month" or "ribbon" as many types of other illnesses do so I decided to add a manicure in honor of a couple of different types of cancer. If you haven't heard about the "Go Gray in May" awareness it is to raise awareness for brain cancer (although some sources site it as awareness for strokes, which is also very important.) I then added a pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness.
The following is the guest post from The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance:
Beyond the Diagnosis: Finding Identity Again Through Beauty and Fashion
Illnesses that change a person's appearance can have a demoralizing impact on self-image and self-esteem, according to a report on the Radcliff Publishing website. It does this by making the person in question feel as if she is losing the person she used to be. Women who are facing mesothelioma or other types of cancers, the loss of self often starts with the loss of hair. These same women find that they are stigmatized in ways that people who have more “hidden” illnesses like heart trouble don't face. In these cases, a woman can regain her self-confidence and self-esteem by doing something fairly routine to most women...by adhering to a makeup and fashion routine that reminds her of who she is at heart and helps to look and feel more like herself.
People Become Their Diagnosis
People like labels. She's funny. She's smart. She's good at math. She's a cancer patient. The thing about the diagnosis is that people start to get treated as one and the same. According to AcuMedicine.com, a diagnosis is a fiction, meaning that it's only part of who is a person is. It is not something that a person should take to heart, much less become with her whole being. But this often proves difficult when other people around her remind her that she sick. They can see it. Her appearance betrays her. But it doesn't have to.
Finding Strength Through Beauty and Fashion
Nowadays, there are plenty of resources out there that will help a woman dealing with a serious medical challenge. There are even makeup classes that teach a woman how to hide some of the effects of an illness. But even more importantly, these tools remind a woman of the snazzier part of herself. For a while she may forget that she's the gal who can't wait to wear her favorite pair of shiny red sandals to the summer barbeque or that she has really beautiful eyes—made all the more so when she adds a bit of eye shadow and some liquid eyeliner. These physical elements give her some of her sass back and help improve her mood and outlook on life. And according to Live Strong, how positive a person is about their prognosis directly contributes to a person's ability to recover from an illness, whether it’s a prognosis of mesothelioma or moving away from a bout of winter depression.
The Ritual of Makeup and Clothes
Many things go berserk when a person is facing an illness and life becomes a series of unpredictable events at times. Having something to do that a person can look forward to and that makes her feel good can give her back an element of control. The University of Chicago reports that women who faced a cancer diagnosis often got a new lease on life when they allowed themselves to pick up their eyeliner pencils again. While some of this has to do with looking more like their normal selves, it also has to do with the ritual of putting on pretty makeup and choosing nice clothes to wear. Rituals help give people a part of their identity—something very important to someone who feels as if she's lost it for some reason.
While makeup and clothing aren't a cure for sickness per se, they do play a vital role in the way a person recovers from the challenges she's facing. Maybe more importantly, she not only gets her sense of identity back, but she remembers what it's like to have fun and to put on her dancing shoes. All of these things offer some welcome relief to someone who might begin to feel like she is the illness she has rather than being a person—a whole person—who happens to be living with an illness.