{07} This-n-That

a) Susan Love’s Breast Book was an amazing resource (when purchasing, be sure to pick up the latest edition!). The book is mentally daunting at first glance, but stick with the immediate chapters that pertain to your treatments and it will help answer many questions and prepare you better for the doctor’s lingo.

b) Skin Dharma is a wonderful organic oil that is rich in Vitamin E and I’ve been happily using it in many ways for over a year.  When I lost my hair, I had trouble with little pimples on my scalp and the sesame oil would eliminate them right away.  I’d apply a small amount of oil on my head and then put on my wig cap or scarf for the day.  When my hair started returning I continued with the oil as a styling tool to smooth my hair down. Eventually I had to discontinue use on my head because my hair was getting too long.  When I went in for my first haircut, the stylist who regularly cuts “chemo hair” commented on how soft my hair was; much more so than what she usually notices and I’m certain it was because of the oil.  But after she trimmed the original 1″ of hair off, my hair felt much more bristly and I’m certain it was because that other hair never enjoyed the benefits of the oil.

The other use for the oil is on the chest.  I apply it daily after my shower and I’m certain it is helping my skin and scars to continue to heal from all of the trauma.  One note, the doctors did ask that I not use the oil during radiation because of the concern of medicinal conflict.   Four weeks after radiation ended, I resumed my daily routine.  I’ve become so attached to the oil, I know spread it on my chest, neck, dab a generous amount under my eyes before I apply my makeup and a thin layer on my face.  It doesn’t cause breakouts and I think my crow’s-feet are diminishing!  (I prefer the lavender scent)

c) If chemo is in your future, be sure to discuss L-Glutamine with your oncologist!  This is a very important natural amino acid that not all doctors recommend, but it has been proven to help reduce or eliminate chemo-induced neuropathy.  Neuropathy is yet another possible side effect from the chemo in which tingling, numbness and/or pain will occur in hands and feet.  The neuropathy can be temporary or stay with you so it’s really important to heed this recommendation.  If you do decide to take this supplement, you’ll need to do so in large doses during chemo, so the powder is the only option; the capsules won’t do the trick.  It’s kind of bitter so mix it in a big glass of juice or chocolate milk.

d) If you are a Sonoma/Marin County local there is a fabulous hair stylist in Santa Rosa who is not only very talented but a complete angel!  TJ of Salon West works directly with the American Cancer Society and she offers complimentary hair services for women going through chemo.  She lightly snipped and thined both of my wigs so they looked even more natural and I liked her so much for that first gesture I returned for my first haircut.  I was so nervous to have anyone cut my hair because I finally got it back, but I really trusted her and she did an amazing job!  At the end I went to pay and she explained that my first few “transitional” haircuts are free and part of her “chemo” services.  She’s a doll and I highly recommend her whether going through chemo or not.

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