“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
– Cherokee Indian Proverb
I am now approaching three weeks post my last chemotherapy, a few of the side effects have now subsided but I am still battling with a numbness in my fingers, toes and tongue, fatigue and altered taste. I am feeling relieved to have come to the end of this but inside i feel nervous and worried and there is a certain amount of uncertainty entering my thought processes as I move on to the next gruelling regime, although the chemo was the worst thing I have ever experienced it did give be a sense of protection from this terrible illness. So, in a funny way it made me feel safe.
I am now allowing myself to look to the future and I can see that real life will return slowly. I know how Rapunzel felt when she was locked in that tower, only escaping sometimes if she let down her hair, this is how I have felt over the past 6 months (although not the hair bit, as I am still bald), I have had small snippets of real life but on the whole, I feel I have been locked away. I am lucky I have met my Prince Charming, who has supported me through all this, although don’t get me wrong he is still a man, which obviously means he can be very annoying sometimes but I know he is there to support me and look after me no matter what and that is very special. We have had a couple of family celebrations over the past few weeks which allows us all to celebrate the good times.
As I have written before about my tumour was positive to oestrogen, which means that the cancer fed on the oestrogen inside my body. I have been prescribed Tamoxifen to suppress my ovaries which prevents oestrogen being released into my body but I have discovered that many of our everyday cleaning products and skin care products have chemicals that mimic oestrogen in our bodies, it is shocking that the animal feed we use to feed animals for human consumption are fed on a cocktail of growth hormones and antibiotics.
So, this week I would like to remind everyone what harmful substances we are using in our homes and putting into and on our bodies.
Skincare products and make-up contains a number of chemicals, these chemicals include parabens, these are hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic oestrogen and are thought to cause cancer. Bisphenol A (BPA), it is thought that this chemical can produce abnormal amounts of oestrogen and progesterone, it is added to receipts to make writing appear darker without using ink, it is also found in the lining of canned foods, health. The US has banned BPA from baby bottles and the European Commission is stopping the chemical being added to receipts from 2020. Chlorophenols are used as preservatives in cosmetics and have been linked to cancer as well as Benzophenones which are added to lip balm and nail varnish to protect them from uv light, it is also used in soap in order for it to keep its colour and scent. Tricolsan is a chemical which is added to personal care products to prevent bacterial contamination as well as soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, clothing, furniture and toys, this has been linked to reduced heart health and underactive thyroid, this chemical has been banned from soap in the US.
Non- organic food production makes wide use of pesticides, Glyphosate- the active ingredient in Monsanto’s roundup is the most widely sold weed killer in the world and its use in UK farming has increased by 400% in the last 20 years. Glyphosate is one of three pesticides regularly found in British bread. Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and although manufacturers insist that the levels in our food are safe, research suggests that there are no safe levels. In organic farming the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers are banned- instead the farmers will use preventative methods moving animals to fresh pastures and keeping smaller herds and flocks.
#PlasticFreePeriods, most conventional tampons are made up of either 100%viscose or a mix of viscose and conventional cotton. Viscose is a man-made fibre, wood, cotton or bamboo are used and the production of viscose from these materials involves several chemical processes to convert the cellulose into fibre that can be spun or made into a non-woven. The chemicals used include Caustic and chlorine and the viscose is often treated with fungicides to prevent moulds and fungal spores whilst in storage. Viscose is used in conventional tampons as it is highly absorbent and is readily available at low cost. Non-organic cotton used in conventional menstrual products is often sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. There are potentially 203 toxic chemicals involved in conventional cotton growing, this exposes women to potentially toxic residues such as dioxin and glyphosate.
I hope that this snippet of information on everyday products does not scare people, I hope that even if you cut down on a couple of toxic products you use it will help. For me, I have nearly dispensed of all toxic cleaning products and I am using skin care and make up products that do not contain these harmful chemicals. I have got to work harder on eliminating them from my diet. From this week, I am back to getting my organic fruit and veg boxes which is a start.
I have had a hospital appointment nearly every day this week, on these visits to hospital I have met a variety of people, sadly last week I met a lady with breast cancer who was so angry about her predicament and was using the cold cap during chemotherapy as a punishment as she felt she must have done something wrong in order to be suffering with breast cancer, I found this so sad and a million miles from how I feel but this lady was stuck in her thought process and had turned down lots of support so maybe that was her way to cope with the situation. I also met an 80-year-old lady who had just had the 5 years all clear and was over the moon and it was great to see her smiling face. I will not miss all these visits to hospital but it has reinforced my love of NHS, how lucky are we to receive health care of such a high standard, it worries me that this Government does not value its nursing staff, false pay rise claims, reduced number of people going into nursing and recruitment into NHS posts has become almost impossible. Even though all this is going on we still receive a high standard of care from the health care professionals we come in contact with. I have also just read that the Nursing and Midwifery Council are raising their fees, I bet that for the readers who are not nurses that they did not realise that all nurses have to pay a fee each year to this body in order to practice as a nurse!
Radiotherapy starts on 15th October so I have 4 weeks to build myself up ready for that three weeks. I am also planning to return to work in November, so my fitness regime starts on Monday! My aim next week is to have a stroll by the sea every morning, watch this space!