Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Remedies

I have been a most neglectful poster so far this year.  But I have had a wonderful holiday down at the beach, so much so that when I returned to work I forgot my main computer password and even what day it was.   One of those fantastic sandy salty beach holidays where the children tumble exhausted into bed each night, and we watch no television and read books and gaze at the sea for hours on end.   Just perfect.

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)


Kerry said...

So glad to hear you had a great holiday. It sounds wonderful. Half and half ACV and water is also a great face cleanser :)

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Hi Jane,
Just so you know, I'm up late as I'm watching the Australian Open !!
Anyway, good to know that you had a wonderful beach break. I should think that it was the perfect tonic.....and, I love your home remedies. I've heard that ACV cures all sorts so I'm going to have to get a bottle for the cupboard !
..... and, just one more thing, I have used Talika lipocils and saw a little improvement ( your eyelashes get thinner when you get older !!) BUT, I have found a much better one. It's called Revitalash and it's brilliant. I'm sure that you will be able to get it in Australia but, if you can't, I'll send you some over. I know that some people have had to stop using it 'cos their eyelashes have got too long !! XXXX

Jane said...

Jackie you are way too kind. I have found a discounted Revitalash on the internet, and will also give it a go. Enjoy the Open (I am going next week! Twice!)

Anonymous said...

Loved the kitchen images. Have always had a very minimalist kitchen but in recent times have allowed it to morph into something more akin to those images. A kind of letting go I guess. Liberating.

Ann said...

I must confess your gloopy green drink scared me a little last time but the wonder vinegar had me at hello. I'm going to try it.

Glad you had a wonderful holiday and I really hope the aches disappear and the nuclear medicines just do their thing without all the side effects. A x

Maxabella said...

I'm seeing ACV everywhere. I gotta get in there! x

Amanda said...

Some great tips there Jane. Glad to hear the ACV is working so well for you. Will have to keep the lice conditioner in mind for future. Glad you had a nice holiday x

JMW said...

The beach vacation sounds wonderful - those are good for the soul. So sorry to hear that you're having problems with your medications on top of everything else. Hope things improve soon.

Denise said...

I finished chemo last March. My joint pain is still awful and my Oncologist said, today, probably got another couple of months while the last effects of chemo exit my body. Last couple of weeks I was preparing for secondary bone cancer as well! I have never heard of the ACV - am off to buy some first thing tomorrow.

Slim Paley said...

Welcome back!

I'm looking forward to seeing what you've done with the bunk room and window.
So sorry to hear of your meds complications-quite amazing to hear that weight bearing exercise helps with the pain. So it really is true what they say.

I am loving coconut oil for practically everything internal and external at the moment. I'm just getting up my nerve to try "Pulling" with it. Have you ever done that??

Happy New Year!

Mise said...

It's good to see you back, Jane; I hope the Herceptin will start taking it easy on you.

My kitchen is like your Gran's. I dust it a lot, but it is never enough.

And the home remedies are ever so interesting. I'm an cider vinegar fan too (used to have arthritis), and still add a splash, with peppermint oil, to tea. The conditioner sounds lovely - maybe a version of it with less oils added would be ok to use every day, just for general lovely smells?

Banaghaisge said...

Muscleze isn't a pantry thing but does do good things with achy bits. And am looking forward to seeing what is happening with the bunkroom. Welcome back, have a wonderful 2012, too. Hugs,xxxx

Anonymous said...

oh your poor eyelashes! sending healing thoughts from freezing cold manhattan to you.

we try to remember the hot water and lemon (rare when the brain is screaming "COFFEE!" ;-)

but we do have a lavender oil burner in the cupboard and take it down and feel all spiritual and ceremonial when popping in a fresh tealight and taking the deepest breath ever.

and epsom salts in the bath with something bubbly from crabtree and evelyn to make the whole experience soothing - letting the tears flow (of laughter if we're listening to Radio 4 BBC the News Quiz with Sandi Toksvig which has to be the Best Therapy ever).

we've had nasty side effects from the synthroid. took ages to climb out of the dark funk. and then found ourselves at least 20 lbs (US weights) heavier. sigh.

so - like you - a convert to exercise - swimming lengths to release the rage.

everything helps.

especially reading your beautiful blog. looking in reverie at the gorgeous pictures and - you know - connecting - it's the best.

sending love from teamgloria xxx

Jane said...

Oh Jane. I'm so sorry to hear about your horrid joint pain but relieved to hear about your wonderful find in ACV. Who would have thought? I must investigate it, too. I'm delighted you had a relaxing break. Just what you needed after such a trying year. Wishing you only the best for 2012, Lovely. J x

Elsa May said...

So nice to see you back Jane - but not so great to hear about your joint pain. I do like the sound of the ACV - I'd not heard of it being used for joint pain before, but it sounds like it does the trick. And thanks for the mascara tip - so tricky to find a good one. Crikey what a hassle though loosing your eyelashes again, and only in one eye. I can think of any ground breaking home remedies, just whacking a bit of almond or olive oil on my face or hands when my skin is feeling parched.... Enjoy the rest of your summer! Best, Annie x

24 Corners said...

Hello Jane, and Happy almost end of the first month of the New Year!! ;)
Last year when my back was out for two months, I went to a naturopathic doctor who put me on Tumeric tablets for the inflammation, and I hfave to say, I feel much stronger now. When I stop taking them, the pain starts to creep back in. I'll have to give the ACV a try as well, I didn't realize it helped with joint pain.
Glad you had such a wonderfully relaxing time at the beach...that's so very healing in itself.
The best always...
xo J~

Bianca said...

Jane, glad you have had some nice time away to relax and work on your projects. My husband had bowel cancer and was having treatment just over a year between radiotherapy/chemo prior to surgery and chemo post surgery. He too has joint aches and pains and sore calve muscles. He just pushes through them. Our neighbour had chemo over 5 yrs ago and still has the aches. Her oncologist said they are caused from burnt nerves and it's something that doesn't necessarily go away. She just walks and walks through her pain. It's the way she copes with it.
I hope this isn't long term for you, but if it helps, you are not alone.

All the best with ACV. I'll suggest it to my husband and neighbour as well

Millie said...

I'm hopeless with natural herbal stuff Jane, unless carob counts & I can make a chocolate cake out of it. Although I have heard the 5 sons referring to something they swear by called the Herb Superb - I looked in the supermarket but it doesn't appear Masterfoods have that in their range! I'm with you on the creaky joints, I've got so much noisy crepitus in my dodgy knee the neighbours have made a complaint to the EPA.
Millie xx

Kathy said...

Hi Thought I'd drop in and say that your blog is beautifully inspiring. Also my mother was diagnosed with oral cancer in 1967 and still alive at 87. In those days they had awfully high strength radium treatments. She believes that she cured herself through food but she didn't give up smoking!Those were the days when the "experts"on behalf of the tobacco companies, told the public that there was no link between smoking and cancer. However she was religious about putting lots of vegetables and fruits into her trusty juicer. She would literally be drinking juices all day long. She had a daily craving for fresh carrot juice and would go through sacks of carrots very quickly. Every morning she had cod liver oil with raw egg which was pre chilled. Honey, vinegar, lemons, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,homemade bread and yoghurt, almonds were also part of her food routines. When she was 79 she developed cancer of thyroid and jaw due to the high exposure radium treatment of the first bout of cancer-and she got over that as well but has not smoked since. Her foods now are pureed for her as she is now in a nursing home because of dementia. I remember too that she was an advocate of Ainsley Meares and did a fair bit of meditation for pain relief.

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