Bath Time

If you have a bath, the chances are you don’t use it very much.  Most of us are in a hurry and so jumping in the shower seems much more efficient.  But going through cancer treatment is a time when you need to focus on your wellbeing 100 percent.  Before the chemo started I wanted to be able to use the bath as a refuge, somewhere to relax and unwind – something which I’d forgotten how to do.  Bathing in the water is really good for the body and the mind – I needed its restorative powers as I went through what was going to be a really challenging time.

pexels-photo-105934.jpegI knew I was going to have zero energy after my chemo started, so I made sure I cleaned the bathroom, and set it up as a little bathing retreat.  My friend Clare bought me a little headrest pillow, I got the tap fixed (the thermostat had been broken for about four years) and I made sure the fluffiest towels were at my disposal.

The bath become a place to relax after each hospital visit to literally clean out the toxins mentally and physically.  Before getting into the bath, I would use a dry skin brush on my body, to help flush out the nasty chemicals and to improve my skin.

When you have a cancer diagnosis you need to be very careful about which bathing products you use, as you don’t want anything which contains harmful chemicals.  I used natural soap to clean my face, and that was it – skin has a tendency to dry with chemo, so it’s best to guard whatever natural skin oils you have, not strip them away.  I used to put Epsom Salts in the bath, which are are great detoxifier help after each chemo session to flush out the chemicals in my body.  Epsom Salts are from England, but any natural bathing salts will probably have the same effect.  They also have the added benefit of softening your skin – as the chemo progressed, I had an itchy rash on my head, where the  hair had fallen out, and also on my body, particularly on my arms.  Before cancer, I would regularly put moisturiser on my body after having a bath, but during the treatment I wanted to keep all my pores open without any blockages, so using these salts really helped to keep my skin soft.

I also put a little Bluetooth speaker in my bathroom to listen to music and guided meditations.  Spotify have lots of meditations, including Deepak Chopra’s. They help you to relax, think more positively, and help with sleeping, which was becoming a real problem for me.  Part of the meditation also includes breathing exercises, so you’re really oxygenating your body too which helps with the healing process.

This is just a little something to help to get you through a really awful process.  I’d forgotten to take care of myself, and the simple pleasure of lying in a bath really helps you to relax, and also clean you out your mind, body and soul.

Skin Deep

One of the many side effects of chemotherapy is dry skin.  After I had the initial diagnosis, I decided to remove anything from my bathroom cabinet which contained sodium laurel sulphate, which is in many shampoos and shower gels, and is suspected to cause health issues.  That along with the many other chemicals in everyday products, made me want to seek out natural alternatives.

I am lucky to live near Julie Wackrill who makes soaps and skincare products from organic ingredients, so when I found her stand at a music festival last year, I asked her advice.  Julie advised me to use Rosehip Beauty Balm on my face during the day, and then a couple of drops of Sea Buckthorn Oil at night.  The products were absolutely perfect for my skin, and lasted throughout my chemotherapy treatment.  What was astonishing is that people remarked on how good my skin was looking, despite receiving a heavy dose of toxins on a regular basis.  I used Julie’s soap to clean my skin, which I am sure really helped to support my body.  It wasn’t until the last two weeks of chemotherapy when my body had decided it had had enough that a rash appeared on my hands and arms.  I also became very sensitive to sunlight, so I needed to add Factor 50 suncream on top.  I am now finishing my radiotherapy and have burning and blistering on my skin – I’ve just received a jar of Calendula and Dandelion balm, so I’m hoping it’s going to do the trick. Julie’s website is www.thatsoap.eu if you’re interested in seeing her products.   Julie suggested going without shampoo ‘no-poo’ when my hair starts to grow back.  I’m going to give it a go.

 

I was reluctant to put moisturiser and oils on my body, as the skin is the largest organ of the body, and I wanted to try and detox as much as possible.  Blocking the skin’s pores didn’t make sense to me.  My stepdaughter Kirsten brought me Epsom Salts and Dead Sea Salts, which really worked a treat.  Having a bath after each chemo treatment, and soaking in the salts, kept my skin soft, as well as helping to get rid of the toxins.  Dry brushing your skin before hand also helped.  Lying in a bath, listening to guided mediations helped me cope psychologically with what felt like an attack on my body.