Self Image

Hair loss, scarring, weight gain or loss, and other changes in appearance caused by lymphoma treatment can make some people feel unattractive. Not only are most of these physical changes outside of their control, they are also difficult to conceal from the world.

Some people feel that these changes can be a badge of honour in that they are the outward sign of the battle they are struggling with or have overcome. Others find these physical changes to be more challenging to accept and wish that it would go away. Either way, the important thing is to remember not to feel defeated.

Though your body has reacted to your lymphoma and/or treatments without your consent, you are still you and you still have control. Remind yourself that many of these changes are temporary and that they are the marks of healing. It is also important to know that there are things you can do to help you deal with some of the unwanted side effects. For example, you can learn how to improve your appearance by choosing stylish wigs and manage temporary changes such as dry skin, brittle nails, and a blotchy complexion. Taking control about how you feel about yourself will be an important factor in how you feel as you move forward.

The Look Good Feel Better program teaches women with cancer how to use makeup and skin care techniques to address physical changes to your skin and how to choose a wig or hat. Information for men is also available. To inquire about the services and materials offered by “Look Good Feel Better” call 1-800-914-5665, email lgfb@lgfb.ca, or visit http://www.lgfb.ca/en/.

Support groups also offer a safe environment and the chance to share these feelings with others who understand and who have been through a similar experience. You may also find advice on how others dealt with similar situations.

References:

LIVESTRONG Foundation. Body Image
Accessed May 27, 2014

Look Good Feel Better. About Us
Accessed May 27, 2014

Lymphoma Canada. Coping and Emotions
Accessed May 27, 2014