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Positive Reflections

Celilo is helping women better about their self-image so they can feel better during their treatment.
Published on 11/15/2011
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Celilo is helping women better about their self-image so they can feel better during their treatment.

Many women in ongoing treatment for cancer often feel guilty devoting time to their appearance instead of focusing their complete attention on their disease.

At Celilo Cancer Center, the Reflection’s body image program is helping female patients feel better about feeling better about themselves.

“While cancer treatment works on the inside of a woman’s body, Reflections is designed to promote healing on the outside,” says Celilo’s Michelle Lauterbach.  “Studies have shown that if a cancer patient feels good about how she looks it can have a positive effect on their treatment outcome. 

Lauterbach came up with the idea for the Reflections program, which is funded by a grant from The John Wayne Foundation through the Kiteboarding for Cancer event in Hood River.

“I thought we needed something to offer ladies to help them feel like women again,” she says.  “They are so focused on getting rid of their cancer, and their body image gets pushed under the rug.  Reflections gives them a couple hours where they can turn their focus in a different direction.

The core component of Reflections is a complimentary, two-hour “Pamper Me” session, during which cancer patients are treated to a foot bath, a one hour facial, hairstyling, and makeup application, using La Bella Donna products.

Local esthetician Annette Scott delivers the pampering. “It is an honor to be able to work with these patients,” she says.  “I am amazed at how much love and camaraderie cancer patients share when they come together.  They come in feeling their worst, and we provide some skin care and some education the benefits of it, and they are all so grateful.  I get as much out of it as they do.”

Mary Martinez, who received her second cancer diagnosis last October, says Reflections made a world of difference in her self-image as she went through treatment at Celilo Cancer Center.

“When you first get diagnosed, you are so shocked and so afraid, and then you start taking medicine that’s really rough,” she says. “Then your hair starts to fall out, and you have no eyebrows and your nails aren’t healthy.  You look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself.

“But in Reflections, you are devoting time just to yourself.  They are not only pampering you, but also telling you how to do skin care, and you are also making connections with other people. “

The program, Lauterbach says, “speaks to who we are as women.”  And in the middle of cancer treatment, Reflections sends a welcome message.


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