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Looking good is an important step towards feeling better

In the fifth part of FOX 5’s series, ‘Cancer: Fight over Fear’, Ayesha Khan steps into Eivind’s salon and gets a demonstration of how beauty can be restored.

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Look Good Feel Better… A Program of Confidence

We continue our three-part blog series in honor of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month with part two of Karen’s story. To read her first post, click here.

By Karen from Washington, DC

Everyone needs to start somewhere in the search for “normalcy” as a cancer survivor. At this point, I am bald. I have just purchased a wig and I am waffling between “it is obvious I have cancer and I am wearing a wig” and “I look okay.” I go back to the hospital for a workshop entitled “Look Good Feel Better” and know it has to do with makeup, but I am unsure what I may get out of it. I go seeking reassurance, camaraderie and a place to test my wig among people who don’t know me.

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Look Good Feel Better volunteer Hans demonstrating how to tie a scarf during a workshop.

Hans, a volunteer instructor, opens the seminar with the day’s agenda. At his right is a pretty woman who nods in agreement, as he tee’s up the subjects he intends to cover. The first topic – wigs! He turns to a woman in the workshop and asks her to remove her wig.

I am totally surprised she is wearing a wig! She looked beautiful and when she takes off her wig and shows her fuzzy head, they have my full attention. Here was a person who looked terrific and her wig was a non-issue for anyone who saw her. Exhale! It was possible that my wig would be one tool to reclaim my life.

Hans then had her put her wig back on and showed us she could style it – with a headband, barrette or ribbon. His point, not lost on me, it looked natural.

He then showed us scarf tricks, hats and ball caps with hair. As a group we chatted about the possibilities, the positive vibes filed the room. He planted the seed – all of us – had the potential to meet the public with our heads up and no one would be the wiser.

We received a kit of skincare and cosmetic products, and spent time talking about makeup, changes to our skin and skin tone. He noted that many of us would lose all of our hair, including eye lashes and brows. At that point, I was listening but not internalizing the possibility of no brows and lashes, in addition to no hair…

Flash forward a couple months later, and I resumed going to work. This included attending Board meetings and conferences. I even had to be on stage as a presenter. The seed that Hans planted during my Look Good Feel Better class came to fruition. I was able to function with confidence, not giving a thought to my baldness or my wig. My picture appeared in trade journals and one never would have guessed my status as a cancer patient, or as someone who was wearing a wig.

Look good, feel better – indeed- the workshop gave me the gift to present myself as myself. My epiphany that morning was that I had the tools to pick up where I left off pre-chemo. Attending the Look Good Feel Better workshop gave me a confidence boost, just when I needed it.

Stay tuned for the final part of our three-part blog series…

 

Reposted from Look Good Feel Better

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Eivind Bjerke Honored as DC Cosmetologist of the Year

Photo: Eivinde Bjerke with Award

On June 15, 2015 the District of Columbia Board of Barber and Cosmetology honored Eivind at the 9th Annual Practicioners Forum.  The following is an excerpt from the program of the event.

We are proud to honor Mr. Eivind Bjerke as our 2015 Practitioner Forum, COSMETOLOGY Honoree. Eivind, originally from Grue i Solør, Norway, is one in a family of twelve children. He later moved to Oslo to become an apprentice and study cosmetology. Eivind fondly recalls the story told by one of his cosmetology teachers – “that his hands were too big, and that he would never become a good hairdresser.” Clearly he proved them wrong! He was quite popular among Oslo society, and the future Queen of Norway sought out his talent and services.

When Eivind arrived in the United States, he worked at Per of Georgetown, and quickly adjusted to his new lifestyle. His clientele rapidly grew, and soon President Johnson’s daughters appreciated his talent, skills and cutting style. Eivind also worked with President Carter’s Administration and became the official White House cosmetologist. Later, Saks Fifth Avenue, located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, appointed him to the prestigious position of Head Stylist. Thereafter, he became a partner with Lucien Sriqui, and started their business by opening, Lucien et Eivind Coiffure on WIsconsin Avenue. Eivind was also President of The Washington DC Hairdressers Association.

In 1988, Eivind teamed up with leaders in the cosmetics industry to collaborate on a visionary program, focusing on cancer patients; the project was called “Look Good Feel Better.” He is a spokesperson for the organization, and continues to be an active member by providing training for hairstylists, who also aspire to join the Look Good program.

In May of 2012, Eivind opened Eivind and Hans of Georgetown, Inc. At the shop’s opening, he and his partners held a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital, and raised $48,000, to donate to children living with cancer. He also collaborated with other charitable organizations and associations, and currently sits on the Board of EBeauty, providing cancer patients with hair and wig accessories. The American Cancer Society has honored him for his support and efforts, and he has received numerous local and national honors for his work with cancer patients.

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Taking on Cancer, Heads Held High

“People come to me and say, ‘Why would you as a hairdresser want I to work with cancer patients every day; it must make you sad and depressed?’ I just tell them that I get the opportunity to help them deal with the situation and help give them the confidence that they can beat it,” says Eivind Bjerke.

Norwegians Bjerke and Hans Kalset, owners of the Eivind and Hans of Georgetown Salon and Spa in Washington, D.C. help women deal with cancer in their own way.
By offering makeovers and hair replacement, they give women dealing with cancer the spirit and help they need to keep fighting the disease.

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“Coping with Hair Loss”

This article by breastcancer.org gives some very practical insight about how women can cope with hair loss personally as well as coping when children and a partner are involved.  The impact of hair loss or baldness on our children is discussed in thoughtful ways with examples and ideas for coping together. Additionally, our relationship with a partner and how we should come to terms with changes in our bodies together is also an important part of this piece.

http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/hair_skin_nails/coping

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Modern wigs and hair pieces do more than you think

“Researchers say that more than half of all men will go bald by the age of 50”

Whether that is true or not, many men do.  However one doesn’t need to fret. There are solutions to keeping your youthful and energetic looks.  In this piece from CBS This Morning, reporters look into the world of modern wigs and hair pieces.  Many celebrities are using hair replacement technology to supplement what they have or to replace what they don’t.  Many of these stars you know about, some maybe not.

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“Why and How Hair Loss Happens”

This informative article by breastcancer.org describes the reasons for hair loss resulting from specific cancer treatments.  It describes what you can expect from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapy.  The article also includes a list of chemotherapy drugs and their hair loss effects.

Notable quote:

There are studies that show that for many women, losing their hair is worse than losing a breast. That’s because you can conceal the loss of a breast, but hair loss is so obvious and apparent.     — Kutluk Oktay, M.D.

http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/hair_skin_nails/hair_loss

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“Hair loss, hair thinning and cancer drugs”

Cancer Research UK has created a comprehensive page about hair loss from cancer treatment which provides useful information on several issues including: coping with hair loss, reducing hair loss through cold caps, covering your head, hair re-growth and patient stories & suggestions.

The page provides straightforward information and suggestions to face hair loss and thinning due to cancer drugs while giving an honest view of expectations after treatments have concluded. Among the very practical and personal suggestions there is a 7 minute video were a cancer survivor named Sheena Almquist explains the use of head scarves, hats and coverings.  The video describes what scarves and fabrics will work while effortlessly teaching you how to place them on your head in very easy movements.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/about-cancer/treatment/cancer-drugs/side-effects/hair-loss-hair-thinning-and-cancer-drugs

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“Chemotherapy and hair loss: What to expect during treatment”

The Mayo Clinic presents a thoughtful picture of hair loss due to chemotherapy while also providing recommendations for protecting your hair as well as treating remaining hair gently. Just as the suggestion for cutting your hair before treatment begins, other alternatives are presented in detail such as planning ahead for covering your head and protecting your scalp.

The article also describes hair loss resulting from radiation. While this hair loss is usually specific to the area being treated the doses will also affect skin which should also be cared for.

Most of all, the article instructs us to use our energy wisely, recognizing the importance of hair to our outward appearance but expressing the need to focus on our health.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hair-loss/CA00037

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1992 Washingtonian of the Year

Eivind Bjerke: Tender Touch and New Outlook

Several times a month, hair-dresser Eivind Bjerke goes to the Lombardi Cancer Cen¬ter at Georgetown University Hospital and talks to women with cancer. He is one of a team of hair stylists, makeup artists, manicurists, and others who take part in the Look Good … Feel Better program, which picks up where health professionals leave off, teaching people how to live with the side effects of cancer.

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