By Monica Vest Wheeler
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp Staff Volunteer
I'm smiling all the time at the Stroke Camps I attend, but a survivor this year — who was attending her first camp — put an extra big smile on my face when she asked if I'd take her photo after she had finished a session with the Mary Kay ladies who had volunteered their services at this particular camp.
High on Stroke Camp's priority list is a pampering experience for our caregivers and survivors because everyone deserves to be pampered, especially our campers! Since I started volunteering in 2008, I've witnessed some wonderful moments … from survivors who haven't put on make-up since their stroke because they had to focus on more important things like surviving everyday life with the use of only one hand, usually their non-dominant one … to caregivers who also have more important challenges in getting everyone through everyday life in a post-stroke world.
This post isn't about women and make-up. (We've also had quite a few men who enjoyed their first-ever facial!) It's about taking a moment to focus on yourself, which everyone deserves, and to help YOU feel good about YOURSELF. We are so privileged to offer this opportunity at Stroke Camp.
That isn't being selfish or greedy with your time. It's all the human desire to refresh the image we see of ourselves in the mirror. Many stroke survivors and caregivers are either so rushed or so slowed by the effects of stroke that they forget to "stop and smell the roses," or give themselves a chance to be simply human.
It isn't vanity; it's simply feeling good about themselves, because that is one of best mental health services that can ever be offered. When we feel good about ourselves on the outside, all the vital organs that keep us going on the inside are being nourished and given a much-needed break from the stress that works overtime to break us down.
Yes, there is so much beauty at Stroke Camp … inside and out …