MIAMI (CBS4) – Maxine Sonnenschein has a lot to smile about today.
But for years after beating colon cancer, her self-confidence was shaken.
“I lost my eyebrows during the treatment,” said Sonnenschein.
Like many cancer patients, because of her chemotherapy treatment, Sonnenschein lost all her hair.
“You can’t wear a wig on your eyebrows. They are either there or they’re not”, Sonnenschein said.
“You’re always thinking that you look horrible, you feel like you’re a freak”.
Sonnenschein is not alone. According to the Center for Dermatology and Hair Diseases, 65% of cancer patients experience hair loss because of treatment, 47% of female patients said they consider hair loss to be the most traumatic aspect of chemotherapy and 8% would decline chemotherapy due to fears of losing their hair.
Going outside in the rain, sweating, even exercising became a problem for Sonnenschein who for years drew on her eyebrows.
“I was afraid to go in the water. I work out every day and if you sweat your eyebrows come off”, she said.
But then Maxine met Diane Makish and it changed her life forever. A professional cosmetic tattoo artist, Diane permanently gives her clients the hair and confidence they lost during treatment.
“It feels great to know that I take part in making someone confident especially in a vulnerable time”, Makish said.
“In permanent make up, you see a lot of color in stenciled in eyebrows that look very fake”, Makish said.
But Diane gives a more natural three dimensional look to her work.
The only catch, like all tattoos, Sonnenschein’s eyebrows will fade with time, not a problem for her though.
“Think about that. Drawing your eyebrows on six times a day or coming back every couple of years to get a touch up. That’s a big difference,” she said.
Sonnenschein has her eyebrows and her confidence back, something she wishes for her fellow cancer survivors.
“If anybody has been through this, and you’ve survived, and you want to get your life back, this is such a simple thing to do and it makes an amazing difference”.