cancer & skin/body care, and general update

i know right? how trivial does that sound, in the scheme of things.  but it’s actually fairly important. when you lose your hair, you can be unfortunate enough to end up having a scalp that feels like it is on fire.  you have to be exceptionally careful in the sun, and your lips and hands very quickly get exceptionally dry, and hands exceptionally cold.  you need to wash your hands, and antiseptic-hand-wipe your hands multiple times a day.

i’ve set up a regime to manage what’s happening with me right now.  i was unfortunate and ended up with a scalp that became covered in acne at each follicle that fell out, and constantly needed cold hands put on it to try and cool it (which was really NOT rad when combined with the fever).  i have wonderful soft hats that relieved it somewhat, but it still burnt.

i used to work in high-end skin care, for a year or so. i’m pretty familiar with what is just BS marketing, and what actually does something, so i do Unorthodox things like buy body sunscreen from the face, and ignore moisturising and toning. my skin is currently oily – i went off the pill and as soon as i do that, my skin becomes a world of grease and acne, so there’s no way i need more moisture on it, and unless the advice comes from a dermatologist or someone who’s done a LOT of research, i’m not taking it up.

SO:

stuff i use

SUPERBALM. – Lush
i bought this a long long time ago.  and used it on my hair, thinking miracles would happen. i was very enthusiastic, and then had to wash my hair four times to get it out. now, i rub in really really small amounts (about three pea sized lumps) and it has, in three nights, halved the number of pimples.  my bet it’s the salicylic acid, which, on reading the ingredients on the website, the product no longer contains. I WEEP.  i might email them, actually.

TO SAVE BODY – SPF 50 body sunscreen – Mecca
i’ve used Mecca sunscreen for ages, but on seeing the body sunscreen, and talking to the exceptionally helpful woman at the counter, it was established that it was fine to use on your face. it’s double the size of the ‘To Save Face’ product, and really light, and smells like jasmine.  it’s not thick and beach-smelling, and it sounds dumb, but having a good, high SPF that you need to wear all the time that smells and feels nice makes you feel just a little bit better, and to be honest, more likely to use it daily, which you need to do. also some guilt about the cost, but i’ve used it before, and it lasts about 6-8 months.

OCEAN SALT SCRUB – Lush
to further help the scalp pimples, i got the itty bitty jar of this one to try. it felt really nice, and i can’t confirm that it in any way helps just yet, because i’m using the Superbalm more regularly. but i used it on my face and scalp.

Nice soap of your choosing.
no linking here, but goddamn, when you need to wash your hands all the damn time, having something that doesn’t smell like a hospital, or a public toilet, or whatever, is really, really nice. i have a Loccitane one, but Aesop do beautiful products as well if you are after a pump hand wash. otherwise, i never go past Lush soap.  but this one is totally down to personal preference.  this also applies for shower time.  nice soaps, smelling good, and feeling slightly normal.  chemo in my experience makes your sweat smell really, really weird. and when you are exhausted, to be honest, it can be really hard to motivate yourself to actually have a shower. (maybe that is just me).

FACIAL TOWELETTES – Berts Bees
these are for Days of Exhaustion.  i have found them invaluable. you aren’t leaving the house. you’re hooked up to a pump, or you’re so exhausted you can’t move much – the last thing you can tolerate is a shower.  i also have issues with my non-stop fever – unless i don’t have the fever, my body cannot regulate temperature very well, so hot is really hot, cold is freezing, and the whole experience is really painful all up.  These little guys though – wonders.  an example of using a face product on your body, if you so wish.

 PROTECTIVE LIP BALM SPF 30– Aesop
i spent a good week feeling guilty for purchasing this, due to the fact it’s a $19 lip balm.  but it doesn’t involve any finger-lip contact (important) it’s SPF 30, it smells lovely, and i really like Aesop as a company as well.

ULTRABALM – Lush
my partner and i always have this on standby.  mine now has a little X on it to show it’s cytotoxic and not to use it.  i have had no hand dryness at all – i use it the week of, and after chemo – which could just actually be me, or it could be the product?  but regardless, it’s amazing.  best thing for brightening tattoos i have ever used – and i love the smell of it.

i feel sort of bad for spending donated money on skin care – so i sort of wrote this to confess, and try and explain a little why it makes such a huge difference. some of the products here that i have were gifts, and some i already owned. i am very, very lucky to be able to do this. thank you all.

my chemo bill came today. each session is $200.

i also found out that i might actually be up for 8 sessions.  i read it on a form. they just do it sometimes, but it doesn’t make it any easier. i’m not a planner, normally, but this whole business makes me want to know where i am, what i am doing, and what i need to prepare for.

and worse, i had to delay my treatment a week on tuesday, due to low white blood count.  like, Very Bad Low.  yesterday (thursday), i had a Day-Fever – which i haven’t had in ages which resulted in my least favourite thing in the world – a trip to the hospital outside my schedule.  after quite a few hours poking, prodding, and waiting for bloods – no obvious sign of infection, and it doesn’t matter anyway because my white blood count is fine again! it bounced back.  i’m pretty sure i have a cold, anyway which is viral.  and viral is ok, it’s just bacterial that’s an issue.

but my trip to tasmania with Alex and her cousin Molly was utterly delightful.  Alex’s mum had shouted it for us months ago, and i spent weeks fretting that my doctors would ban me due to the plane/plane sicknesses/DVT’s.  i’ve been reminded that i am an exceptionally low DVT risk, that just use common sense on the plane around people who are coughing, and that it is Important to live your life and do nice things as well as lug through treatment.  we’re going to visit Alex’s grandparents’ farm soon, after we got a very kind gift from them, and i’ve been urging us to do so for months. being grandparent-less i tend to want to adopt other people’s grandparents.

i have been worrying more about dying in the last few days.  i don’t want to die.  i mean, we all do.  but i don’t want to go yet.  a gentle reminder to not talk to me about people passing away from bowel cancer when they are young, as it sets me into a terror for about a week, where i need all my doctors to confirm that My Cancer Is Not Anyone Else’s Cancer, and you never know all the details of other people’s diagnosis and how the cancer is operating.  no one is troubled that i’m dying any time soon from how my cancer is going.  i just don’t want to be gone yet.

 

 

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About elizabeth

various things.
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3 Responses to cancer & skin/body care, and general update

  1. I had a rash that was super itchy recently, and my doctor got me to get some amazing cream from the compounding pharmacy to cool the skin. It was aqueous cream with 1% menthol. It might be worth asking if that is something that might work for your situation too. It was beautifully cooling. Thinking of you and sending you positive energy.
    -R (I went to school with Anita – Pugwall rules)

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