“It was a nice boost to my spirits at the right time.” – Stephanie Stetefeld
In August of 2016, Stephanie Stetefeld's life took a dramatic turn.
"Being diagnosed with cancer changes your mind and your thinking," recalls the 49-year-old mother of four. "It's a real wake up call."
Stephanie was invited to attend the Look Good Feel Better® workshop that takes place in the Buhler Cancer Centre Solarium at the Victoria Hospital.
"When you are first diagnosed there are information sessions and it was recommended that I consider taking part in the Look Good Feel Better® program, so I signed up," says Stephanie. "It happened to be right after my first chemo treatment, just when my hair started to fall out. It was a nice boost to my spirits at the right time."
Providing hands-on learning regarding make-up and skin care, the Look Good Feel Better® workshop empowers patients to tackle appearance related challenges that occur as a result of cancer treatment.
"The program was run by such lovely ladies," says Stephanie. "There were lots of volunteers and everyone was so helpful. Even though I'm 49, it was great to learn how to do my mascara. It helps to know how to do your eyes, because you may lose your eyebrows in treatment."
The workshop also provides patients an opportunity to experiment with head coverings, scarves and wigs.
"It definitely helped me because when you don't have your hair, and you are wearing a wig or a scarf, you don't feel like going out, but sometimes you need to," recalls Stephanie. "It helped me to get out of my house. It boosts your self-esteem because when people see you they know something is different, even if you haven't told them. The workshop helped me feel prepared to face people."
Located in a quiet corner of Victoria Hospital, complete with large windows overlooking lush gardens, the Solarium is the perfect space for patients like Stephanie to focus on rejuvenation and healing.
"The Solarium is amazing because it's so big and spacious," says Stephanie. "Often when you go for treatments you sit in this tiny dark room. At the Solarium there's so much light it really makes a difference. To have a nice atmosphere shows that you are worthy of a comfortable space. It makes you feel better."
With donor support the Solarium can continue to provide healing programs in a warm and inviting environment."You come in to this beautiful room and you feel really pampered which is wonderful," says Stephanie. "I hope even more programs can take place in the Solarium because it is such a warm, relaxing space. It was very empowering."