I hope Spring is in the air where ever you may be. The bunnies have landed in my hallway. In case you're worried, they're made of plastic not chocolate! Yes, I know I'm very sad but the fuzzy carrots and moss make me smile each time I walk by.
I've been struggling with my cancer lately and it's left me pretty floored. I've been posting on Facebook and just realised I should also be doing so here! In case my experience helps someone or perhaps you are in a similar position and can relate to what I'm going through I'm here to share.
Due to the pain in my neck shoulder and right arm from my tumours I find it hard to lie down. I'm on a cocktail of painkillers but there's only so much they can do. So I'm baking in the middle of the night. I have actually turned into Francine, my character from my novel, Perfect Wives. I'm a trained chef so I find baking therapeutic. There's an end result there which is pleasing, the house smells great and Cian and the kids are heading to work and school with muffins, brown bread, scones, flapjacks, banana bread and brownies to name but a few! I know the madness will pass. So too will the pain. I hope the cancer goes soon. My medical team reckon I'll see a difference in the next three weeks or so. I can manage that. I'm writing my next novel as well. So that's keeping me focused and I'm really enjoying it. So while I'm limited with going out and doing things in public I'm trying to make the most of my days.
Thank you to all the people who send me messages of support. They mean the world to me and I love them all. I apologise for not replying to each person. I often haven't the energy. But please know that they lift me and help me through the day. If I can give back a tiny bit by sharing a few tips and hints, then I hope that's okay with you.
Anyway, here's the Facebook stuff in case it's of interest to anyone.
I'm literally going to copy and paste the latest stuff. So apologies for the bombardment! I'll post on here simultaneously from here on!
love and light to you
(From Facebook on April 5th)
I'm well and truly back in the chemotherapy saddle. I had my second one yesterday and it was totally fine. I'm very tired today and the pain is still raging forth. But now that I'm up and running I feel as if there's light at the end of the tunnel. My medical team hope i'll see a difference and feel less pain in the next 3/4 weeks. That I can do!
I know it's a first world problem in the greater scheme of things, but the dreaded chemotherapy pallor is back with a bang. I'm a trained beauty therapist so I love makeup and looking after my skin.
The way I see it is that the doctors and nurses are trained to look after the medical end of things. So it's up to me to look after the rest.
I'll post up any little gems I find along the way. Some of them might help if you're going through this too! I know it might seem trivial to talk about beauty products when the main aim is to kill the cancer, but feeling good is so important for morale. There are so many physical changes during treatment and sometimes it can help my day along if I find a little treat that gives me a boost. I'm not being paid to advertise any products so there'll be a mixture of all sorts as I go along!
Today I'm showing you this little pot of blush from Clarins. It cost €20/£16 but I got it as a gift (lucky me!). You can buy it on line from Debenhams. It's the perfect thing to bring to someone who is having treatment because a lot of oncology wards don't allow flowers due to infection.
There's a little sponge inside the silver lid. All you need is a couple of dabs on the apples of your cheeks and then immediately blend with a big fluffy brush. I love it and it instantly makes me look almost healthy!
Today's little gem that I've picked up along the way is 'The deep sleep pillow spray' by 'This Works.' It's priced at around £18/€22 which isn't cheap but it lasts for ages and it's a wonderful product. It makes a lovely gift for someone in hospital and will out last a bunch of flowers by months! Available from www.beautybay.com or selected Boots stores.
On this lovely sunny day in Bray I'm enjoying the scene from bed. I'm exhausted and that's to be expected. I actually slept for the first time in months though, so hurray for that.
Tomorrow will be a better day and I'm writing away, so what harm?
Today I'm recommending the thing that kept me from being even more ill today and that's my Nutribullet.
Many moons ago I began the juicing saga with a masticator. A great big tractor of a thing, it crushes fruit, veg and wheat grass in slow motion. Yes it keeps all the enzymes intact but it's messy far too slow, far too expensive and not practical if you've to run out the door and have a family/life. Then I moved to the Sage juicer. A lot quicker but still messy and wasteful as most of the fruit and veg ends up in the dumper part.
A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and bought a Nutribullet. (€199.90) You peel the fruit and veg, bang it in press a button and the whole family gets a bucket of fresh yum.
I make a full jug every morning and it's demolished, even by teenagers who hate most things.
I also use smoothies for the times I can't eat. Especially while I'm on medication as it lines my stomach and I know I'm getting some goodness.
I also insist my kids drink one every day - I then feel they are having something healthy so therefore I'm free of a tiny bit of mother's guilt!
Today I was feeling seedy sick tired and very much like cancer is not my friend. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to eat, so I made my smoothie and forced some down. After the first couple of mouthfuls the rest was enjoyable and I got the instant hit from the fruit (I kept it sweet and "nice")
You don't need to splash out on a Nutri bullet per say. There are a load of smoothie makers on the market. In fact if you happen to live in Ireland #HarveyNorman have a "bake sale" this weekend and there are smoothie makers on offer. I saw one on the site there for just over €40!
I add porridge oats to mine along with some yoghurt and rice milk. I'm not great at having dairy, I excluded it from my diet years ago (which was a pointless exercise for me) and don't have a taste for it now. But I find adding some sort of milk along with the oats is soothing for a tummy that's like a washing machine, gurgling and angry. I added raspberries, orange, apple, lime and a banana. It was more like a milkshake really! Usually I'm more healthy adding blueberries (they're good for you but I hate them!) spinach beetroot and often I put a spoon of nut butter. But you can play around and do what you enjoy. If you're starting off just use things you like. That way you'll get used to having a smoothie and your body will literally look for it. You can use frozen berries and it doesn't need to cost the earth. Lidl and Aldi always have fresh fruit on offer so if you stick to seasonal foods it isn't expensive.
Enjoy - it's Friday! Yay!!
For my little recommendation today it's all about Aveeno.
Having endured copious amounts of radiation and chemotherapy over the years my skin has been through a lot.
The skin is our body's largest organ and often the first place to show signs that something is awry. Chemotherapy causes chemical dehydration that's different to any other type of dry skin. The best trick I've learned it to pre-empt the issue. So as soon as you begin chemotherapy try to get into a routine of adding moisture to your skin. There are some divine treat type body moisturisers that are lovely to give a little boost but as a base product you need something that can be lashed on. I have very pale sensitive Irish skin and I react to a lot of products. But I find the Aveeno range perfect. They're not expensive and can be found in most pharmacies and supermarkets. The one with Oatmeal is what you're looking for. Oatmeal has natural soothing and calming properties and mixed with this lotion it's a winner.
They do a full range including body wash ((£7.50/€9.99ish) and hand cream. While I do use the shower gel at times I don't love it. Purely because I'm spoilt and prefer a small dab of Jo Malone or L'Occitane to give my senses a gorgeous wave of hello in the shower! I find the hand cream leaves a slippery coating on my hands and my computer keyboard doesn't like that! If however your skin is itchy - especially that horrible itchy on the inside feeling from chemotherapy, this shower gel is very gentle. It doesn't smell of much either, so if you're feeling nauseous it can be good.
There's a spray moisturising mist (£5.50ish/€7.99ish) and that's great for those days when you haven't the wherewithal to rub cream in!
If your skin is really itchy and red and smoothing and rubbing seems like the worst plan ever try having a warm bath with oatmeal. Grab a clean white sports sock, add a few scoops of oatmeal, tie a knot in the top and hold it under the running tap as you begin to fill the bath. Have the water pipping hot for this part (wear a rubber glove to protect your hand). Once you see the water beginning to infuse with slightly milky looking liquid drop the sock in and make your water a little cooler. Don't make your bath too hot as that will irritate your skin further. Soak for a few minutes and pat your skin dry afterwards. The soggy sock feels dribble inducingly delicious if placed on your head, especially if your hair is gone or falling out. Just make sure you lock the door in case the men in white coats come and take you away!
Happy bathing and moisturising xx Emma
Available readily in shops or on line www.sammccauley.com