Chemo. Pimple

April 28, 2013

Chemo. Pimple

I know that this may be hard to believe, but I have a pimple on my nose that refuses to go away.  It has been on there every since I had chemotherapy in 2010.

I really want to get rid of it and have been searching for a remedy for months.  I have bought a myriad of cleansers and creams, with no luck.  Why, oh, why won’t it just go away?

When I went to a health food store, the woman who owned it said that if it was there since chemo., it probably wouldn’t go away.  She also said that there was nothing organic on the market that would get rid of the raccoon rings under my eyes.  She suggested juicing because she thought that I had some kind of deficiency.  However, I did manage to find something to get rid of the black rings a while back.  It’s from an organic company called Consonant (ultra firming organic eye cream) and it works like a charm.  I love it.

A few weeks ago I went and had a facial.  They just put a whole bunch of creams on my face, charged me $120, and I still had blackheads on my nose.  I thought they were suppose to exfoliate my nose.  Isn’t that what exfoliate means?  Dig in there and get them out.  Apparently not.  Anyway, I’m out $120 and I still hate my nose because of the big pink pimple.

So last week, I went to Shoppers Drug Mart on a quest to kill the pimple.  Asked the girl behind the counter what she recommended.  At this point, even I didn’t care if it had some chemicals in the cream, the pimple had to go.   Biore strips?  Nope, she said they don’t work.    She recommended TriAcneal.  She claimed that if I used it, the dirt from the pores would surface and I could just squish it out.  Cost me about $30.  Been using it for about a week.  Works pretty good on the surrounding blackheads, but not the damn pink pimple.  It refuses to die; but the rest of my nose is looking pretty good.

So then, on the week-end, I went to the St. Lawrence Market to a little shop called Selsi on the lower level.  All organic.  Bought a collection of seaweed bath salts and nice smelling lavender essential oil for Hope’s teacher and started talking to Andrea, the owner.  Told her about my chemo. pimple.  She recommended some Replenishing Facial Oil with Pure Turkish Rose.  I think it was only about $12.50.  Why not?  I just spent $120 for a facial.  What the heck.  So I decided to try it.  Used the tester and took a bottle home.

And guess what?  After a couple of hours what should my wondrous eyes appear?  That damn pimple decreased to half it’s original size.  That oil did something to it.  I could not believe it when I looked in the mirror last evening.  I was starting to believe that the thing was never going to go.  And now, after using this oil for 2 days, it is almost, almost gone.

Gotta go back to that shop and see what else she’s got.

Na na na na….na na na na….hey pimple.  Good-bye!

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Tips for New Cancer Patients/Things to buy for Someone Newly Diagnosed

I decided this morning when I woke up that I have got to write a piece about what you can do to help someone diagnosed with cancer.  So this blog is called Tips for those New Cancer Patients.   These are things I learned from other people which were so valuable to me that I had to share it with everyone so that they would know where to start if they ever had cancer.  These tips will also help people support those newly diagnosed.

Get a family doctor, if you don’t have one.  All of your information/tests has to go somewhere.  Someone needs to be the co-ordinator.

Buy a notebook.  In it, RECORD ALL your doctors names/addresses/fax #’s in the front.  RECORD All your appointments and key items discussed.

Buy a binder.  Every time you have a test/blood work etc. ASK FOR A COPY and put it in your binder.  You never know when you need it.  If you end up in emergency, previous scans/tests results will speed up the service you will be provided because they don’t have to go running around looking for your stuff.  Call an ambulance if you are feeling really terrible.  It’s only about $45 bucks and you get seen a lot faster than the usual 4 hour wait.  Take your binder, notebook, and list of medications with you.

Get a Handicapped Parking Permit  Go to a Service Canada/Ministry of Transportation Place (where you renew your driver’s license and pick up the form).  One side, you fill it out, the other side, the doctor fills it out.  You might not use it all the time, but when you are feeling really ill after surgery, chemo. or radiation, it will be a Godsend.

Bring a Buddy to your Appointments; especially in the beginning. You will need someone to come with you, in case you get bad news because then everything said after that point goes in one ear and out the other.  Your buddy will later tell you what the doctor really said, after the fact; when you are ready.  Plus, you will need someone to drive you home.  Don’t ask me how many times I cried all the way home after getting bad news.  Not good.

Cottage Dreams

After all that you go through having cancer, do yourself a favour and look into Cottage Dreams (Ontario residents) … trust me you are going to need a vacation.  Download the application, fill out your part, get the doctor to sign his section and send it in.  You may qualify to get a free cottage from June 1 – December ….however, they do charge a $100 administration free.  Kind people, earth angels really, have generously offered their accommodations for cancer patients needing some relief from the stresses of living with cancer.  If you have a cottage to donate, please help someone with cancer and Cottage Dreams will provide you with a tax receipt for your generosity.  Oftentimes having cancer can leave your wallet pretty bare (medications, transportation/parking, special food, massage therapy, physiotherapy, etc.).  This vacation is an opportunity to relax and explore a place you have never been to before.

Information

For Accurate Information about various Cancers and Treatments:

Go to Princess Margaret Hospital library (they have great pamphlets/books)

Web-Sites:  Check out the Cancer Society for a myriad of services (ie:  information, peer support, transportation to chemo. should you need it, etc.)

Wellspring:  Check internet for various Cancer programs/support groups.

Gilda’s Club:  Support for the Whole Family

Nanny Angel Network

Provides free babysitting for mothers undergoing treatment.

Environmental Working Group Website  (www.ewg.org):  Find out what’s really in your products and find things that are “safe” for you to use (like soaps, cosmetics, sunscreen and cleaning products).

Books

My favourite book about cancer was The Anti-Cancer book by David Servan-Schreiber.

The best book to help your liver function better is by Dr. Sandra Cabot (The Liver Cleansing Diet Book).  I honestly believe you will live longer if you help your liver.

Good Presents

Heating pad (essential when you are in pain)

Himalayan salts/epson salts  (excellent way to detox your body after X-Rays, CT Scans, and chemo. and I believe it relieves stress).  Put in bathwater; body will absorb nutrients its needs from the salts and release toxins.  Seaweed is especially effective.  Everyone, whether they are sick or not, should do this every once in a while.

Organic Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Wash (my favourite is from St. Annes Spa….pricey, but I haven’t found anything better that’s truly organic and smells as good as this).

Rescue Me (spray, gum).  Relieves stress.

CD’s:  Check on the internet for music like:

Music to Inspire Positive Thinking

Music to Encourage Stress Relief

Music to Improve Relaxation

Music to Promote Sleep

The songs on these CD’s have been shown to change your brainwave patterns.  They are very calming, uplifting, and soothing.

Religious (?)  Our Daily Bread booklets from www.rbc.ministries are a great read.  Each day you can read a story that relates to passage in the bible which is meaningful to everyday life.  My daughters teacher gave one of these booklets to me a few months ago and I liked it so much, I ordered it for myself.

Food

Organic Lemon (1 juiced every morning with hot water) 15 minutes before you eat breakfast.

Don’t eat strawberries, lettuce, apples, or grapes unless they are organic because they have too many pesticides/chemicals on them  (google “Dirty Dozen for the rest of the stuff to stay away from).   It takes about 3 weeks of eating organic food before the pesticides start to disappear from your urine, but it can be done.

Edible Arrangements (fruit bouquets in the shapes of flowers) can make for a great gift instead of traditional flowers.  They are so pretty, delicious, and healthy too.

Surgery – lip balm, Vitamin C Facial Cream, juicing drinks (if possible), real food because hospital food sucks, spokesperson/someone to stay with you overnight

Chemo:  Burt Bee’s Cuticle Cream (if your fingernails start to turn black)

Travel Wristbands for Nausea (worked for me)

I will update this page if I remember more things that helped me cope with having cancer.

Stupid Cat

Stupid Cat

Jumper

April 25, 2013

Stupid Cat

Good news.  The radiation guy’s secretary phoned.  He told her to tell me that the problem with my shoulder IS NOT CANCER.  Well that’s a f***ing relief.

But he still wants me to have a CT Scan next week.  Not really liking the sounds of that.  Could it be inflammation, scar tissue, or degenerative bones?   Gotta feeling the post-menopausal meds I’m on are eating away at my bones despite getting the Xgeva.  In that case, it’s going to become more of a necessity to go back on the Tamoxifen (which gave me the stroke), because that drug doesn’t wreck your bones.  Oh well, cross that bridge when it gets there.

Today I would like to write about our stupid new cat Jumper.  I swear she thinks she is a dog.  You throw a ball.  She gets it and brings it back to you.  She is my children’s best friend and will follow them to school and wait patiently for them to come back.  On Wednesday, she waited over 10 hours outside in the rain.  I went looking for her at the corner house, her favourite hang-out, when I met the owner.  I asked him if he saw a black cat because she loves his house.  “You got a black cat?,” he said.  “Is it a girl or a boy?”  “A girl”, I told him.  “Are you sure?” he asked.  “Yes”, I told him.  “Come over here”, he said.  I thought maybe he found Jumper, felt sorry for her because she was out in the rain, and brought her into his house, because he ushered me to his front door.  Not so.  He opened the door and there were 5 beautiful baby kittens there in the foyer.  They were so, so cute.  “A black cat came over here and now my cat has babies”, he said.  These cats were mostly white and grey and there was a little black one too.  “They ain’t mine”, I told him, “My cat has been neutered!”.  “You want another cat?  I’m trying to get rid of these” he said.   “No thanks,” I told him, “I already have two and I have enough problems with the new one I’ve got”.  In the back of my mind I was thinking I may take one if my stupid cat doesn’t come back home and my kids start bawling their eyes out because I lost her (yes, somehow it will all be my fault)!  I phoned my husband and told him our ding dong cat was gone again.  He found our cat when he was walking home from work later that night.

So this morning, Jumper decided to follow us to school again.  I sent the kids on the way when we got to the corner house and made sure Jumper didn’t go any further.  Once the kids were a far distance away, I picked up Jumper and carried her at arms length across the road.  She started hissing a me.  She did not want to go home.  I was wearing my fairly new red spring Lululemon jacket and I was determined NOT to have her claws dig into this one.  I still have bad memories of the last Lululemon coat she destroyed with her claws.  “That coat cost me more than you!” I thought, holding her at arms length “and I’m not going let you wreck this one too”.  So I let her go and off she went.  I called her to follow me home, but she was much more content waiting in other people’s yards from 8:00 to 3:00 for the kids to come back.

Lucky for us, today she came out of her hiding place when we came home from school and followed us home.  She is now lounging in my daughter’s bunk bed.  Must be nice, the life of a cat.  No bills.  No health problems.  Comes in and out whenever she pleases.  Cats got it good.

I went over the school today for a luncheon.  Gerty was retiring and this was her last day.  I hope she realizes what a huge impact she has had on the kids she has taught over the years.  It’s a special job, the job of a teacher, and I feel it’s one of the most rewarding careers a person can have.  I will miss her.  It will be weird not seeing her when I visit the school, but I hope she really enjoys her retirement years.

Don’t Worry

Saturday, April 20

On Tuesday I had another spinal MRI.

I’m in some sort of research psychosocial program at my oncology hospital and I have a therapist.  I’m not sure what good it’s doing me.  All I do is talk…and  I can do that with my friends.

Last time I saw her she said, “Do you get anxious when you are going to have CT Scans, MRI’s and other tests”.  I said, “No”.  She looked at me quizzically and said, “Why not?”.  “Well, actually,” I told her, “I kind of like having MRI’s.  I get in there, pretend I’m going for a day in the spa and feel refreshed when leaving.  I like the magnets.  It makes my back feel better.  Maybe it’s those rods in my back.  There is something to be said for magnetic therapy because I feel like I had a massage when it’s over.”  She looked at me like I was nuts, smiled, and said I was the first person who ever said that.  What can I say?

So I’m good with the tests, but I don’t like waiting for the results.  That’s what gets me anxious…going to see the doctors for results.  I told her about my LTD oncology nurse Linda, who usually gets my results in a couple of days and tells me what’s going on BEFORE I see my doctors.  That always helps because I have time to digest good/bad news and can prepare myself for the questions I need to ask.

The only problem is that sometimes the advice I’m getting from Linda (who has a whole team of doctors giving there opinions) is sometimes different from the advice I’m getting from the hospital.  This is happening yet again.

In May 2011, my advisors told me to get off the Tamoxifen (which gave me the stroke), now they are telling me to get back on it.  And now, the hospital’s doctors who at first told me to stay on the Tamoxifen are telling me to stay on the Fulvestrant.

Well, I’m not liking the fulvestrant.  My feet are KILLING me and I get rip-roaring headaches which I’m not enjoying either.  And something is going on with my muscles.  Yesterday I woke up barely able to move my right arm because my shoulder was hurting so bad.  It felt like dead weight.

So I complained to my radiologist yesterday.  I told him that it’s been hurting me for about a month probably due to the fact that I was throwing volleyballs to some kids…don’t ask.  As a result, I was whisked to the X-ray department.  He did give me good news though while I was there; the five new spots on my spine are okay.  I’m guessing that means they aren’t growing now that I’m on this new medication.

At 4:00 when I didn’t hear from him about the x-ray, I was thinking I was safe.

At 4:05, I got the call.  “Don’t worry”…he started.  “Oh S*** now what!,” I’m thinking.  There were some “Rough Spots” on your x-ray that need to be looked at, so I’m sending you for a CT Scan and a Bone Scan.  The hospital will phone you with the appointment times.  It may just be degenerative.  But I don’t want you to worry.

 I don’t think he realizes that he is speaking to the Queen

when it comes to Worrying.