First, here’s my disclaimer: I’m no doctor and I am in no way professing to cure any cancer. I am a caregiver and a writer. My mama is battling brain cancer and we’ve found some natural remedies for the symptoms of her cancer and treatments. All of these items can be often be found at natural foods markets, well at least here in California (otherwise, they’re all online).
My mama underwent 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments, which she assured me did not in themselves hurt, but they did cause quite a sunburn. I gently rubbed calendula lotion onto her burns and she found some relief ― especially nice after chilling the lotion in the fridge. FYI, you’ll go through a LOT of this lotion throughout the treatments. Stock up when you find a good sale. (As a side note, radiation treatments can also cause serious fatigue. An old college mini fridge stocked with cold drinks and chilled burn relief nearby was seriously handy.)
If you’ve got cancer, you likely get stuck with a needle pretty frequently. This can result in some serious bruises. We swear by arnica gel to heal painful and ugly bruises faster. As the caregiver, I’m also often covered in bruises… perhaps I just run around more? In any case, we have found it to be a wonderful reliever of swelling and bruising. We like the arnica gel the best (as opposed to the ointment or cream) because it isn’t sticky or greasy and it absorbs quickly. Besides vanishing bruises, this gel was helpful along the closed incision site as well (aka… where my mama had 53 staples in a graceful arc along the back of her sweet little head). Doctors mostly didn’t mention these natural treatments, but gave approval for their use. We also went through a lot of arnica gel, cream and pellets.
After my mama’s brain surgery, she took arnica pellets daily to help relieve the overall and site-specific pain, stiffness and swelling she experienced. The tiny pellets dissolve in your mouth and taste mildly sweet on the way down. Think of it like applying the wonderful healing benefits of arnica to your insides!
|Triple Leaf Tea – Ginger|
Nausea often comes with the territory ― whether it is from the cancer, the treatments, dizziness (sometimes caused by the medicine, the treatment or the cancer itself) or even motion sickness from getting to the treatments. Ginger is a wonderful natural remedy, but boiling the root frankly took a while and the end product wasn’t worth the effort. We tried many ginger teas before a friend arrived with a box of Triple Leaf Tea Ginger Root and we fell in ginger tea love with this spicy, yet 100% ginger root. A bit of honey blended beautifully, but the stomach-calming capabilities were beyond all else. If you need something even stronger, I enjoyed Ginger Honey Crystals (though mama found it too strong). Frankly, ginger most anything helped. Ginger chunk cookies, yes please! Just about anything by The Ginger People, sign us up to try it! Mama loves their chews and I enjoyed their baking chips. I also make my own refreshing Italian Ginger Peach Soda with their yummy ginger syrup (plus Torani Sugar Free Peach Syrup and a cold can of seltzer water)! When it was hot outside, ginger sorbet or ginger ice cream were truly splendid. Mama’s post-surgery favorite was a special Ginger Peach Dessert Delight I created for her with a warm chewy ginger cookie topped with Ciao Bella Ginger Peach Sorbet, fresh organic peach slices and a light caramel drizzle (pictured below).
|Mama’s Ginger Peach Dessert Delight|
If you need a bit of chocolate with your ginger and happen to be anywhere near Santa Cruz, Calif., I cannot strongly enough recommend The Buttery’s Ginger Chocolate Cookies. I LOVE them!!!!! (I also ♥ The Buttery’s Tri Tip Sandwiches and Chinese Chicken Salads ― foodie heaven!)
Many people don’t know what to say to a friend or loved one diagnosed with cancer and sometime insensitive or hurtful things slip out. Words can be hard to come by when faced with mortality. But the random deliveries of challah, cards, meals, flowers, magazines and movies made all the difference in the healing process (better still were the supportive hugs). Friends asked what we needed, but that can be difficult to articulate. If you’ve got a friend or loved one diagnosed with cancer, here’s a wonderful gift basket to leave on their doorstep: the natural remedies products we love, plus a lavender bath soak and/or bath salts, a cooling eye mask and a book that made you laugh. Hugs are mighty helpful too! (On behalf of the households battling cancer, please keep in mind that we may not be able to be sociable when you arrive and your understanding, flexibility and kindness are needed.) Looking for more tips on what to say when she’s diagnosed? We cut out and saved this great article last September with some helpful suggestions ― and what not to say.
Final disclaimer: I am in no way connected to any of these companies and have received no profits from telling you about my love of them. I’m simply sharing products we found to relieve symptoms in the hopes of helping others suffering. Please feel free to share your personal favorites in the comments!