Meet Dee Mason.
“My goal is to offer a time away from the treatments and the doctor appointments. A time where you can be pampered, restored and rejuvenated, ready to face the world again feeling more beautiful and with renewed hope.”
Dee Mason has been in the beauty industry for 38 years. As an esthetician, she is certified in oncology skincare through Oncology Training International. Dee is a breast cancer survivor and has been able to combine her love of skin care and a love of encouraging others together in her business Perch Cove Skin Care, located in Linwood, NJ, providing custom skincare for those in active cancer treatment and for survivors. Her goal is to ensure that her clients feel cared for in a soothing, clean and safe atmosphere.
My Mother Joan battled cancer on and off for over 20 years. In 2011 she passed away from brain cancer. While she was under hospice care a massage therapist would come to the house once a week. It was the only time that I saw her get relief from her pain. It left her calm and she would usually rally a bit afterwards. We would walk in and there she was smiling and sitting up! I had always wanted to do massage but due to wrist issues I knew that it was not a career that I could pursue. I knew that one day I wanted to encourage and care for those living with cancer, but did not know how at the time.
Momma Joan taught us to encourage everyone, to persevere through trials, and to love. She was Italian and she loved people, and loved to clap her hands! Italians speak with their hands and clapping represented many things, Joy, excitement, or determination. It was like the exclamation point at the end of a sentence. Whatever trial or hardship came our way she would clap her hands and say ” Come on now, you get up. Get up and keep going! It will all be ok, you just keep trusting, you keep on going, you hear me!!” Nothing could keep her down, not even cancer. She loved and encouraged until her last breath. I heard her voice many times during my cancer journey, especially on the hardest days.
I come from a long line of hairdressers and had been a hairstylist for years. I began cutting my dolls hair at age 4 when I found my mom’s scissors. Needless to say every doll that I owned or received got a new hairdo from that day forward. I always wanted to do skincare but I could not find a program that wasn’t in the city, and life always seemed to busy. So Life went on. I would think to myself at times, why switch careers so late in life especially at my age when most of my friends are thinking of retirement? Just stick with what you know.
So Much Can Change.
Until one day while driving by Shore beauty school, I parked my car, walked in and enrolled in an esthetics course at the age of 55. While there I had heard about oncology esthetics and thought that’s what I would like to do, but how? Then a funny thing happened, I graduated and a few months later was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer stage 2.
I spent the next 8 months having multiple surgeries and radiation treatments. It was the longest summer of my life to say the least. After my radiation treatments I was exhausted and could not do much except sit. So I decided to sign up for the online oncology esthetics course with Oncology Esthetics International with Morag Currin.
An interesting side note, I had researched all natural product lines for those with sensitive skin or dealing with cancer and had bought some of the products by Hale and Hush, thinking that maybe one day I would pursue oncology esthetics and use the products on my clients. Little did I know that down the road I would actually try them out on myself! And I loved the results.
I have found a career that I truly love. One that I believe that I was born to do. I now have the knowledge and the background to provide a safe, clean and soothing experience for those who are in the midst of treatment or for those who are survivors. There is nothing better than being able to provide someone with a service that helps them feel good about themselves, where they can feel pampered and encouraged and forget about the doctor appointments or treatments for an hour or so.
Cancer is a life changing experience, one that changes everything, from our skin to our outlook on life. You are forever changed in many ways. You look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself. Life is an endless stream of doctor appointments and procedures that you can’t say no to. I compare cancer to being forced onto a rollercoaster against your will and you cannot get off it until they stop it. The ups and downs, the unknown twists and turns,the cars careening out of control at a fast rate of speed. You hang on for dear life with white knuckles until the car slowly starts to slow down and they allow you off. And there you sit, worn out, out of breath, beat up, and you can’t even get out of the car because the ride seemingly has gone on forever and you are exhausted. But you climb out shaky and worn out but grateful that the ride has finally ended. The lack of control over your life and your body is overwhelming. You just want to be your old self, not the girl who has cancer. Fear rears its ugly head time and time again . The journey is tiring and it is long. And it always comes without warning.
I have found that no matter what we go through in life, even cancer, The Lord will use it for a great purpose in our lives. I believe that my cancer gave me the push to finally pursue my schooling. I have become fearless. My faith is unwaivering. I now know what it is like to live with cancer, instead of reading it from a textbook. Although at times I would have preferred reading a textbook instead of living through it. But I also know that nothing prepares you for life better than experience. And while I never would have chosen this or thought that I would make it through it all before the diagnosis, I can honestly say that I am thankful for it. I believe that there are no coincidences in life. There is a purpose in all of it. Our circumstances can make us bitter or better. I choose better.