Today's blog post starts out a little differently than usual. We have a preamble to Sarah's wisdom, written by me - Julia, social media and blog/newsletter assistant to The Green Goddess.
I'm writing a little foreword on this particular topic, as I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I am 29 years old, getting married this summer, I'm active and healthy, and let's just say a cancer diagnosis was not anywhere near my mind until I received that phone call that changed everything.
So many of us are touched by cancer in one way or another, whether we get it or a family member or a friend. When a loved one receives a diagnosis we want to help, and we ask, 'What can I do for you? Do you need rides? Meals?'. I can't count the number of offers I received to get driven to appointments - at the hospital that's a 3-minute drive away from my home! It's hard to know what to say. We're in shock when we first find out, and we get hurried from one appointment to the next, we read so much medical jargon our brains hurt, and we already feel like a burden to those closest to us. It's incredibly hard to ask for help. It's hard to know what to ask for, and it's tough for some of us to lean on others.
Knowing all of this, the things that have helped me personally the most are the things I didn't ask for. A friend who dropped by with a trunk full of veggies and a Vitamix and said let's get all the nutrients in you we possibly can. My fiancé buying me a beautiful dress and taking me out on a surprise date night, my friends putting together a chemo gift basket for me containing everything from chapstick, a heated blanket and laxatives! Knowing someone is thinking about you, knowing that someone went out of their way to research what might make you feel more comfortable as you go down this very difficult road, it's a wonderful feeling.
So this is where Sarah and The Green Goddess come in. I'm not the only person in Sarah's life who will be going to chemotherapy this year, and being the wonderful person that she is, she dug deep into side effect research and has come up with a list of Green Goddess products that will help us take care of ourselves as we let chemo take care of the cancer. If you are in the same boat as me, or if you love someone in treatment, these are all products that might not make this experience a positive one, but they sure will help make us feel a little more human, a little more in control, and a little more beautiful even with our bald heads and ports and dry chemo skin. I'll let Sarah explain more below!
XO - Julia
PS: If you happen to be somewhere private right now, pause your reading and do a quick self-exam of your breasts! If you've never done one or need a refresher, here's an easy how-to!
As you may already know, I am deeply committed to creating genuinely natural skincare made with the highest quality organic, ethical, cold-pressed, and raw ingredients as close to nature as possible. I have never been more grateful for my uncompromising commitment to this skincare philosophy than I am now because a beautiful soul going through difficult times such as this deserves only the best. I want to give you peace of mind knowing that you need not worry if a product is suitable or safe for you or not. They are worthy, and most importantly, you are worthy.
I wish to take a moment to highlight why we chose these specific products and how they might best serve you, or your loved one going through chemotherapy. In addition, you may find it comforting to know these products come wholeheartedly recommended by a dear customer who has recently been through chemotherapy, so they are tried and tested!
This herbal tea is 100% organic and made with the finest quality herbs available. It was created in collaboration with my Naturopathic Doctor while pregnant with my third child and feeling nauseous and depleted. The herbs featured in this blend are highly nutritive, providing an abundance of vital nutrients and minerals into your system with dedicated use. The addition of chamomile and peppermint may assist with nausea, but no promises. I recommend drinking this tea frequently and use a generous amount when brewing, always covering your tea while steeping to keep the medicine and aromatics from evaporating into the air. If you wish to unlock the maximum medicine contained within these herbs, steep for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. Sweeten with honey or molasses for both flavour and additional benefits (molasses contain minerals). You may drink it hot or iced.
A warm bath can do wonders for the body, mind, and soul, but it has always bothered me that bubble baths are notoriously chockfull of toxic ingredients. Therefore, my guiding principles while creating this formula were safety and gentleness. This highly concentrated formula might be small in size, but it is mighty in performance and only requires a teaspoon or two to develop lavish bubbles. Add to the bath as it is first running and agitate the water for maximum effect, or try using the shower head to fill your tub to create bubbles with no effort. The calming and de-stressing essential oils of lavender, neroli, and chamomile are the perfect choice to comfort you at the end of a hard day and promote a peaceful night’s sleep. Now you can soothe your aches and pain in a warm and bubbly embrace without worrying about additional toxins.
Although this monster-banishing spray is simply a “sleep spray” in disguise for restless or anxious kids, I have learned that this product was a God-send for a customer who went through chemotherapy. She complained that she did not like the aroma she took on during chemo, and her bedding developed an odour she did not find pleasant. So, lacking the energy to change her sheets every day, she would spritz this formula on her sheets and body to freshen her energy, mood, and aroma. Shake the bottle well to incorporate the lavender essential oil into the neroli and chamomile hydrosols, and spritz liberally on your face, hair, body, linens, or room for a quick and effortless refresh.
As your skin becomes dry and sensitive during chemo, you will undoubtedly want to avoid harsh cleansers. Instead, natural and soothing ingredients like organic ground oats and silky soft kaolin clay can calm irritation, redness, dryness, and sensitivity without stripping the skin of any precious remaining oils. Although this product is gentle enough to use as a daily face cleanser, I especially recommend using it during a hot bath as a face mask. Using approximately one teaspoon of grains, add enough water to make a muddy paste and apply to the skin. Leave on for ten minutes or so, then rinse. You may want to add nourishing ingredients like mashed avocado or banana, yogurt, honey, milk, or cream for an additional benefit for dry skin. Avoid getting water in the jar to prevent spoilage of this genuinely natural, preservative-free product. Follow up with an alcohol-free, gentle toner like our Twin Bloom Hydrosol and while the skin is still damp, apply a rich moisturizer like our First Grace "Mirth" Face Elixir. Pat it into the skin to lock and seal in hydration. The elixir oil is my personal favourite: chock-full of phytonutrients, deeply nourishing and rich with organic, cold-pressed oils and world-renowned skin-healing essential oils like Frankincense, Helichrysum, and Carrot Seed. It's divine.
Many customers have sung the praises of this easy-to-apply and non-greasy cocoa butter bar for dry, cracked hands and feet. I love using this bar on my hands when they feel dry; it’s super nourishing, and thanks to the beeswax, it leaves a protective layer on the skin that keeps moisture locked in. In addition, it may assist in keeping skin infections at bay where broken or damaged skin occurs due to beeswax’s antimicrobial properties. Finally, if hair loss occurs and the scalp becomes irritated or breaks out in red bumps (this happened to my customer who went through chemotherapy), this bar will form a protective layer and assist in healing without making your head feel greasy.
This classic best-seller tackles severely dry skin issues, especially when applied to damp skin. Upon exiting a shower or bath, avoid towel drying thoroughly, and instead, use the beads of water on your skin with a bit of body butter and work into the skin (within three minutes of exiting the bath). In this magical timeframe, your skin will readily absorb the moisture on the skin, and the body butter will “lock” it in to provide deep and lasting hydration. Of course, you may apply this butter to dry skin; it will just take longer to absorb and may leave the skin feeling greasy (depending on your skin type). Many of our customers use this as a rich face cream, especially at night. I'm confident you will find one you love with plenty of aromas to choose from. If strong aromas turn you off during chemo, I suggest trying our Selene's Lullaby Baby Butter. This softly scented butter features lavender, neroli, and chamomile and is the gentlest body butter we formulate. It is a lovely choice to promote a restful night's sleep, melting away the day's stress.
Plantain has incredibly beneficial properties for the skin; it promotes faster healing, draws infection out of wounds, relieves itchy skin, has minor pain-relieving properties, and helps to stop bleeding. It should be in every family’s herbal first aid kit! There are many uses for plantain salve, but one of our favourites is to relieve itchy mosquito bites and treat “road rash” when young children fall on gravel or dirt pathways. I can not count how many times plantain has rescued our family in various situations, from chapped lips to weird rashes to endless "boo-boos," and I feel confident that you will find many uses, too. In addition, because plantain soothes pain and helps repair damaged tissues, I believe it would make an excellent choice for broken or burned skin, which often occurs during chemotherapy treatment.
Finally, a chemo care package would not be complete without our bestselling diaper salve. This miracle salve has had great success in the community for angry tushies, but perhaps even more significantly, for eczema, psoriasis, rashes, redness, sunburn, peeling skin, etc. Apply it to any areas of concern, especially angry, red skin conditions and watch the magical healing happen within hours.
A tip from my customer who went through chemo: apply either plantain salve or diaper salve into your nose to prevent painful sores from developing. In her experience, she lost the hairs inside her nose, resulting in her constantly having a runny nose, which eventually evolved into painful sores—applying a salve such as one of these inside her nose helped this painful condition.
It is a true honour and great privilege to have my creations grace your skin during this challenging time, and it is my sincerest wish that you will find solace and relief while using them. They come from my heart and from the hearts of those who love you dearly with hopes of wrapping you in a loving and comforting embrace during this challenging time!
As always, I live for and greatly appreciate honest and open feedback. If you or a loved one tried any of these products during chemotherapy, I would be grateful to hear how they worked. If they didn't live up to your expectations for some reason, I want to hear that, too! Please share your experiences with me so that we can help others who are facing the same challenges. With honesty and valuable feedback from my customers, combined with my commitment to providing safe and effective skincare, I feel confident that The Green Goddess can become a trusted and valued source for our community members during their times of need.