Health

Happy National Cancer day!

I wrote some of this post yesterday, hence my ‘celebration?’

Yes, it is indeed National Cancer Day, the day when all of us who have had cancer receive presents and cards…or not.  Sorry, I am being a bit facetious which is so not like me…

I realise I haven’t written a post in about six weeks, so the time was ripe to take to the laptop again.

A year ago last week I finished chemo and got a new dog.  A year ago, was pretty much the first time that Coronavirus was beginning to be taken seriously and masks would make their fashion emergence.

It was been an odd year all round, hasn’t it?  For me, I could see the ‘finish line’, (or I thought I could), for ‘active treatment’.  Ohh, how naïve I was.  A year later and daily life is still a rollercoaster.  Tamoxifen- the drug that keeps on giving.

I got to the point with Tamoxifen where I was seriously thinking about giving it up.  So much so, that a lovely friend put me in touch with her sister-in-law who is a breast cancer surgeon in the UK.  She told me in no uncertain terms that there was to be no quitting, so there we go, no quitting.

She also told me to give myself a break.  I am only a year out of chemo, let alone radiotherapy, so to expect to be 100% is asking a bit much!

100% committed to the cause…

So here I am fully committed to the Tamoxifen and taking every supplement known to man to try to counteract the tiredness, insomnia, aching bones, weight gain, mood swings, brain fog, eyesight issues….etc.etc.

So far, I am on Vitamins D, C, and Magnesium.  I am also taking a ‘shot’ in the morning of turmeric, black pepper and Ashwagandha.  Ashwa what? Yes, Ashwagandha.  This was something that I bought last year.  It is known as Indian cherry tree or Indian Ginseng and by all accounts is the latest wonder medicine. (Well, to us Westerners obviously.  Indians will have known about it for centuries).

I have got to say that I have always been a little bit of a sceptic when it comes to using nature to cure us.  However, given that my ‘Lourd’ chemo was derived from sweet potatoes, I am not so sceptical anymore.  So, back to the Ashwagandha…

Ashwagandha apparently reduces cortisone levels.  Now we all know what high cortisone levels lead to, don’t we? Yes indeed. S.T.R.E.S.S. So Ashwagandha apparently helps to reduce stress levels, resulting in lots of other good things such as less inflammation in the body.  Some of the purported uses include:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sleep

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/ashwagandha

I am telling you all of this because it wasn’t until someone recommended its’ use last week to counteract arthritis, that I remembered I had it in the cupboard.  You see, I bought it more than a year ago.  However, in my usual ‘pick Malawi for a project on a Commonwealth country rather than Australia’ fashion I did not follow normality.

Take the easy route…

A normal person would have popped onto Amazon or Holland and Barrett and ordered themselves some capsules.  No.  I popped along and ordered myself a kg of it in powder form.  This was because I read on the Gram of people popping a teaspoon in their morning coffee and having a daily ‘boost’

No, No and No. You see, Ashwagandha is pretty much the most disgusting thing you can eat that doesn’t appear on I’m a celebrity.  I tried it in coffee and my gag reflex, honed through chemo, kicked in.  it is, to put it mildly, revolting.

So, after a brief flirtation, 998g of it went back into the cupboard where it has stayed staring at me for the past year or so.  You see, back then, things were different.  There was, in my ‘new to this rodeo’ head, an end to active treatment in sight.

Now however, with the drug of doom looming over me for the next 5 or 10 years, it is all hands on deck. The very revolting Ashwagandha is back in the frame.  If taking this herb means I can get out of bed in the morning without needing to lean on walls because of the foot pain then take it I will.

Tequila face…

It is also of course, giving the eight! year old (thanks Helen and Claire!) a good giggle.  He sees his mum stand in the kitchen every morning with a look of doom on her face.  She goes into the cupboard and gets down a tiny glass.  Into this glass, she puts a teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder, some Lidl Turmeric and a shake of black pepper.  Next to this little glass, she then prepares a much larger glass of water followed by a cup of tea.  The shot of shit is taken, the water is drunk in quick succession and then we can move onto real life with a nice cup of tea.  Meanwhile, the eight-year-old gets to laugh at his mummy’s what would have been in the olden days ‘Tequila face’.  Oh well anything to amuse tiny, growing, minds.

I will let you know how the Ashwagandha taking goes.  In terms of stress, so far this week, the hound has eaten the arm on the sofa (sorry Barbs!) and I didn’t completely lose my mind so maybe stress levels are dropping?

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that, if you want to give the old Ashwagandha a go, take the pills not the powder.

I had no idea when I started writing this post that it would take the form it has.  I feel like jumping up and shouting ‘Ashwagandha Forever!’ (if you know, you know).

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