Story by Dick Hildebrand
It’s been called “the best gift you can get someone with cancer”. A new book titled ‘Healing Pretty’ was released in Windsor early in March to coincide with International Women’s Day.
The author is Jackie Apostol-Pizzuti, a licenced hair stylist and owner of Wigs to Wellness and The Mastectomy Boutique in South Windsor. She’s sharing her years of experience, research and advice that she’s received from cancer survivors and has already helped more than a thousand women heal from cancer with dignity. A volunteer for the international Look Good Feel Better organization and the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation’s Image Enhancement program, Jackie is also the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland’s 2017 Vocational Service Award recipient for excelling in her vocation and exemplifying service above self.
A Michigan native, Jackie grew up in Redford. The owner of a successful salon in Livonia, her life underwent major changes when she met her future husband Joe, while visiting Canada. About 9 years ago she moved to this side of the river, married and opened a boutique which she operates out of her South Windsor home. She says it was her sister who had a traumatic experience after a cancer diagnosis 16 years ago that motivated her to open her business, as she felt no other woman faced with cancer should have to go through what her sister did. Jackie, herself, has never had cancer. She’s been a professional hairstylist for nearly 30 years and is a licenced mastectomy fitter, so the transition to her new enterprise was a naturally smooth one. As her business grew, she gained valuable experience. “As the years went on,” she says, “I realized that after seeing all these women day to day, and many of them undergoing treatment, I thought it would be helpful to provide more services for these ladies – kind of a one-stop shop.” Three years later she opened the Mastectomy Boutique where she sells, among other items, a healing kit which is described in detail in the book.
Jackie says she first considered writing the book after seeing the stress her clients were experiencing as they came to her filled with anxiety and tons of questions. She says, “with no comprehensive book or resource to give them or point to, I created a one-stop resource with information, tips, ideas and inspiration that I had gleaned from years of experience, research and direct contact with those clients.” She began writing in April of 2016 and less than a year later, ‘Healing Pretty’ had become a reality.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Houida Kassem, Executive Director of the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation says “it’s engaging, empowering, enlightening. Healing Pretty is a warm, big, loving hug!” And Oncology nurse Jennifer Nadalin says, “it’s a heartwarming, inspiring and uplifting read. It is easy to understand with great tips to keep women feeling beautiful during their battle with cancer.”
“Healing Pretty is designed exclusively for women, covering topics that deal with the esthetic and uncomfortable side-effects of treatment from head to toe”, explains Jackie, “I start with hair loss – empowering ways to prepare for it, and how to shop for a wig. Then I address skin and nail problems and provide recommendations for dealing with them. I also include treatment-friendly fashion accessories and products designed to make life easier after surgery.” Makeup tips from survivors are also included. There’s valuable information about lymphedema and traditional and creative options after surgery. It would seem, after reading this priceless gem, that not even the slightest detail has been overlooked. The text is accompanied by photographs and drawings as well...as Jackie says “it’s more or less what to expect and not be blindsided.” While some of the products that are mentioned in the book can be bought at Jackie’s boutique, others are listed by brand name along with information as to where you can get them.
In Healing Pretty’s introduction, Jackie writes: “The priorities of your medical team are to move quickly and efficiently with a treatment plan so that you can get well. My priority is to keep you feeling comfortable and confident along the way.” In the ensuing pages, there are a myriad of helpful tips and detailed information on helping women with cancer fight their fight. There are testimonials in a chapter titled ‘Soul Sisters’, from 21 local women who have undergone cancer treatment and who share their stories and offer suggestions to the reader. In a section titled Soul ’ebrity’ Sisters, Jackie has provided inspiring quotes from female celebrities who have also survived cancer.
At 140 pages, ‘Healing Pretty’ doesn’t take long to read. It’s designed to empower women with cancer and contains more than 300 tips and resources for coping with the side effects throughout cancer treatment eventually giving them the power and confidence to take back their lives. The book sells for $25 and can be ordered from the author by calling 519-915-5696, by emailing
or by ordering online at www.HealingPrettyBook.com. You’ll also find it at Shoppers Drug Mart on Grand Marais west and Ocean Bottom Soap Company on Lesperance Road in Tecumseh. A portion of the proceeds is being donated to The Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation’s This One’s For the Girls campaign.
Finally, there’s the question of who should read the book – Jackie’s answer is straightforward and simple and can be found on the back cover: “Every woman with cancer, and everyone who loves them.”