I promise to post pictures of our bunk room, and some of the house next time round, I just have to remember to take my camera down with me.
Real non holiday life has been a bit of a shock this year, because the Herceptin which is infused into me every three weeks has been giving me some trouble. You may recall Herceptin is the wonder drug with no side effects, which I am on until April (a year in total).
I have such a minimal kitchen. Every now and then I hanker for a kitchen like my gran's. Like this.
I don't get angry about much these days, at least I try not to, but I was unreasonably enraged at my dashed expectations. Particularly because I have been on Herceptin for 6 months now with very little impact, so I really thought I was coming to the end of the pain and discomfort.If there is anything worse than a cancer drug with lots of scary well publicised side effects, it is a cancer drug which you are assured has No Side Effects but in fact does. Each weird ache and pain convinced me I had something unspeakable like secondary bone cancer. BUT 30 seconds of Internet research demonstrated I am not crazy, and that Herceptin does have some well known side effects. It is just that those side effects are still denied by many nurses and doctors.
Pink fridge courtesy of an automotive painter
The side effects vary, and obviously not everyone gets them but mine are constantly runny nose, thin nails, and terrible joint pain. The first two I can live with but the joint pain, which also featured when I was on Taxol, is stabby and painful, severe enough to wake me at night and particularly bad in my left shoulder and collarbone and wrists and ankles and in my feet when I first wake up. My joints crack when I move them. It is like being 90 years old. It is technically arthralgia, not arthritis because there is no swelling.
The last thing I want to do is take more pain killers. So I thought that before I resorted to Panadol I would try some home remedies. And whilst I was researching this, it occurred to me that there are a few bits and pieces from my pantry which I now use regularly which have really helped me. I use these in conjunction with good old nuclear grade conventional medicine. And exercise. Being a recent convert to exercise, I feel a bit preachy going on about this, but strenuous weight bearing exercise has really helped me over the last year, and definitely helps with joint pain.
All I need now is for my grandmothers to come back to life so I can chat to them about what they cooked up in their kitchens.
Apple Cider Vinegar. ACV is meant to be a cure all for many things, but particularly good for joint pain (arthritis, gout and all others). Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? You take it as 2 teaspoonsful in a standard glass of water, I think warm is the best. What I am about to tell you will amaze you. I have been taking ACV this way twice a day for a week now, and my joint pain has almost completely gone. I love you ACV. If you are interested in the claims for ACV, check out Earth Clinic, which is an all round fascinating site, but you may need to take a big pinch of salt because in my view some of the posters are clearly nutters.
I use this one:
It is also apparently great for hair, you use it as a pre or post shampoo rinse, it gets rid of gunky build up. Haven't tried this yet.
Turmeric and cayenne (ie chilli powder) great for sinus and easy to use a lot if you do lots of Indian cooking as I do. Turmeric is a blood purifier and an immune system booster. You can make a turmeric tea if you can be bothered, like this: a teaspoon in warm milk, or alternatively, simmer a teaspoon plus some cardamom in water, then add same amount of milk. You can sweeten with honey. An Ayurvedic would also suggest you add a couple of spoonfuls of almond oil. You can also steep ginger, honey and lemon juice in hot water, then add some turmeric powder and a dash of cayenne. Very good for colds.
Lemon in hot water. When I can remember, which I confess is less often than it should be, I take this first thing in the morning, as a nice way to cleanse the body before the rigours of the day. And on the days I remember I definitely feel better inside.
Green smoothies. I have talked about these here. Unfortunately kale is out of season at the moment in Melbourne. I have asked my mother who has a green thumb and a fantastic veg garden to try to grow some so I have a ready supply. In the meantime I am using lots and lots of spinach as a substitute.
Tea tree oil. I dab this on chemo related spots. I also use this in my home made anti lice conditioner (one bottle of cheap conditioner, half empty out, put in small bottle of tea tree oil, small bottle of eucalyptus oil and small bottle of lavender oil. Mix and use weekly in place of conditioner. My daughter has not had lice for 5 years now!).
Coconut oil. I use this on really dry foot bits. And also use lots in cooking. And on my cereal when roasting it to make it a bit crunchier.
And finally, whilst not a home remedy, here is some Eyelash help. Another nasty surprise from Herceptin was my eyelashes falling out 4 months after I finished chemo. For the second time. But just in one eye. My eyelashes have always been rather pale, and not much to brag about, but this really annoyed me so I went off to Mecca Cosmetica and bought this, by French brand Talika:
So far it has really helped, my lashes are definitely thicker and longer. Do you have a cure all from your pantry?
(Images (1), (2), (4) Country Living, (3) House and Hem (5) Eva Kylland)