She just wanted to feel good for a while.
Deb Blauch said she had been looking forward to cashing in a gift from her husband--a $100 gift certificate for a massage.
"I was going to be pampered. I was so sick and thought this (massage) will make me feel good," she said.
A resident of Lebanon County who works in York County, Blauch is living with two types of cancer -- large B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's cellicular lymphoma. The latter has no cure, she said.
Because she had cancer throughout the lymph nodes in her body, the massage therapist wouldn't touch her, Blauch said.
"It was hurtful. It still makes me cry," she said.
But a salve to some of her hurt feelings is knowing she now has a place to go.
Blauch has found refuge in The Lavender Loft, a skin care shop with a list of services that cater to cancer patients.
Owner Teri Shaffer opened the new business, which also serves customers without cancer, on Oct. 1 in the Prospect Road Professional Center at 877 Clare Lane, Windsor Township.
Second in state: The 20-year-old esthetician was the second professional in Pennsylvania to become certified to meet the skin care needs of cancer patients treated with chemotherapy and radiation.
"I want to help them wake up every morning, feeling more normal and more like themselves," she said.
Shaffer said she lost her grandfather -- whom she's named after -- to cancer, and her grandmother is currently living with cancer.
Perhaps it's the cancer she faces in her family, or her educational training, but her clients and colleagues agree Shaffer has a gentle touch.
"She's so genuine and caring. People going through cancer can have a good day when they go somewhere and feel like somebody cares. It makes a world of difference," Blauch said.
The services -- everything from full facials to eyebrow enhancements -- also make an impact, she said.
"You don't realize ... if you don't have hair or eyebrows and eyelashes, how naked that looks. She can make you look like a natural, with eyebrows and eyelashes that don't look fake or painted on. It makes you feel like you're still beautiful -- even if you have no hair," Blauch said.
Feeling beautiful: Cancer patients' wanting to feel beautiful and normal again is something Sue Bowman hears every day.
As the breast oncology navigator for The Cancer Center at WellSpan, Bowman said body image and self esteem are huge issues for patients.
That's why she and doctors at the center have been referring patients to The Lavender Loft, she said.
"The fact that she's certified assures us as a community. It's medically approved, safe, desirable and on the leading edge of cancer treatment," Bowman said.
Traditional medicine is focused on getting rid of the disease, but there's so much more to being cancer free, she said.
"It's not just a physical disease, it's an emotional disease. Cancer attacks people at all levels of being," Bowman said.
For women, it can be even more dramatic, she said.
The side effects of chemotherapy, radiation and stress affect the skin, possibly making it very dry or leaving behind red spots and scars. The Lavender Loft offers services to soothe those side effects, Bowman said.
"With women, how we present to the public really affects us. It's very very important to how we hold our self esteem. (Shaffer) can heal skin that may have been damaged and make people feel better about themselves," she said.
Sheila Weist said she felt better about herself after recently having a massage and facial at The Lavender Loft.
The Spring Grove resident was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, and side effects of chemotherapy have dried her skin, she said.
Having a facial really helped her skin, Weist said.
But, most importantly, going to the loft relaxed her, she said.
"(Shaffer) makes you feel so good. She's so respectful and knowledgeable, and that made me feel confident," Weist said. "When you're going through cancer, you really want somebody who is sensitive to that situation. And she is."
Cancer skin care services
-- Complementary Consultation: The client will receive a personalized skin analysis, product choices and recommendation for further treatment. An intake form of all current treatments and medications will be completed for safe and effective skin care.
-- Facial: A one-hour facial will be modified to the client's skin type. Skin will be safely balanced from chemotherapy and radiation side effects to leave clients looking refreshed.
-- Hand, Foot and Scalp Therapy: The complete package includes relaxation, exfoliation and hydration through massage of the hands, feet and scalp.
-- Fresh Face Makeup Tutorial: A personalized makeup lesson teaches safe and effective makeup application to cover redness, scars and uneven skin tone. The consultation is finished with professional color matching and product recommendations.
-- Eyebrow and Eyelash Enhancement Tutorial: The tutorial teaches clients how to use makeup to create the appearance of eyebrows and eyelashes. Color-matching and styling-tool recommendations are included.
-- Teri's Total Transformation: A specialized makeover includes skin-tone balancing and eyebrow/eyelash enhancement, followed by makeup application. Off-site makeovers are also available.
-- Caregiver's Treat: Clients can say thanks to their caregivers by treating them to a signature facial, followed by a specialty mask.
-- Celebrate at the Loft: The Lavender Loft can be reserved for special events, such as a bridal party or girls' night out, which includes full makeup applications, demi-facials or customized treatments.
-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.