Island Life Magazine Ltd December 2008/January 2009 - Page 27

INTERVIEW Lauren’s clinic Once she had cut and shaped her wigs, and learnt how best to look after them, she felt much happier. Having a positive attitude, she stresses, is absolutely vital. “Even if you’re feeling really rubbish it’s important to get up, have a shower and do your hair and makeup – you feel better.” Her clinic will aim to do just that for people. “I just thought it would be nice if there was somewhere you could go where there was someone to help you through every stage after being diagnosed with cancer, from when you’re told you’ll lose your hair. As I’d been through it myself it would be more personal to them – I just wanted to help people, really give something back.” Genevieve Sanders, the proprietor of Level Hair and Beauty, has given over a room which "In order to regain the person she once was, Lauren had to get back to looking normal – and that had to be a different normal. It is the importance of surviving the after effects of treatment that she wants to pass on to others." will be a clinic where people can come and talk to Lauren, who will explain what will happen when they start to lose their hair, and give advice – like cutting long hair short so it’s less of a shock when it does go. “I will shave their head if they can’t do it themselves,” she adds, “then cut and shape their wig to make it their own.” After chemotherapy – she pointedly never says “chemo”, and you wonder if, as the writer Alan Bennett has remarked about his own cancer treatment, she has never felt on sufficiently friendly terms with the process to give it a pet name – the new hair is delicate but does get stronger. She will also be a listening ear for any unexpected horrors, such as when her eyebrows fell out. “I’d finished my chemotherapy in May and my eyebrows were the only bit of hair I had. Then just when I started to feel better two weeks after the end of the treatment, they fell out! That was really bad because eyebrows make a person.” Fortunately it was just another temporary stage in the process and they soon grew back. As well as receiving advice in total privacy, there will be access to therapies such as hand or foot massages from Katie, the salon beautician, without having to leave the room. “You feel I want to help make a real rubbish time for people a little bit better.” While the final touches were being made to the new clinic, Lauren was about to attend a course with acclaimed hair stylist Trevor Sorbie, who runs an organisation called My New Hair. He teaches wig cutting and shaping, and his organisation also helps cancer and alopecia sufferers who cannot afford to buy wigs. On his website, he has sent out a call for his peers in the industry to join him in offering their services in helping people with the devastation of hair loss. Lauren is happy to take up that call. For more information about Lauren’s clinic, and for price quotations, contact Level Hair and Beauty, Ryde. Tel 812244. Email rydeleisure@ life Maryla’s story: It isn’t just the very young who feel they are not given sufficient information about their cancer. Maryla, who is in her forties, is recovering from breast cancer, and believes more should be done to encourage sufferers to learn from each others’ experiences. “By chance I came across a website called www., where publicity is given about supplements you can take and the results they are having in people.” Since alternative supplements are licensed as food supplements rather than medicines they are not endorsed by the medical profession. But Maryla believes everyone should have access to ideas and information which other sufferers might have gleaned. She has been taking curcumin, to which she attributes her remarkable resistance to the more debilitating aspects of chemotherapy and her return to good health. “Research I read on that website says that curcumin causes cancer cells t