The Lessons of Cancer Continue…how much stuff do you need?

I am finding joy in putting into place the lessons I learned during one year of cancer treatment.  They are important lessons that I cherish and will write about.  Today I will focus on “STUFF”…

Number one is I don’t need so much stuff.  I’ve never been a hoarder, and it’s always been easy for me to give things away.  However, I still have many things I do not need.  So I have been busy giving them away.  Like how many Russian Nesting Dolls do I need that I collected back in the 1980s?  The answer is none!   I do care about my grandmother’s dishes and keepsakes, and a few treasures from my late father.  I also care about the treasured gifts that were given to me during cancer treatment by my amazing and wonderful family and friends.  Those things matter to me because I really know how much my friends cared about me and are a constant reminder of that love and compassion.   Clothing that I was holding onto that will be totally out of style for some unknown event is on its way out.   And Christmas decorations are another whole blog post!

I learned that the things I do need are really cozy pajamas, really comfortable socks, amazingly comfortable shoes,  clothing that makes me feel prettier, and healthy food.  Since I have to use all paraben free make-ups and non-estrogen causing soaps, I’ve really scaled down in that department.  Now I am using Dr. Bronner’s Castile organic soap both liquid and in bar form for my face, body, and use it periodically on my hair.  Now I use aloe for my face which I discovered while going through radiation.   Now all the rest of the hundreds of dollars of miracle cosmetics that really didn’t do a thing are headed out the door!

As for makeup, I am still trying to figure all of that out.  Some of the natural things haven’t proven to be that great.  I’m researching and see where it leads me!  In the meantime, I am using up what I had stocked up and what I received at the wonderful Look Good Feel Better (  seminar put on by the American Cancer Society for women undergoing cancer treatment.

Shampoos and hair care have gotten really easy.  So far I am using Aveda Shampure Shampoo and some kind of second-hand hair paste my niece, the hair stylist, gave me!  Gosh, I need that paste.  My post-chemo hair is about 2 inches long now and getting wilder by the day!  If you are old enough to remember Red Skelton and his hair, that about sums it up!  But boy am I grateful for it!  I was sharing some of my hair dilemmas with a valued friend.  She was giving me ideas.  But they were all too complicated for me, and she knew it!  We laughed about it.  Another lesson of cancer for me is that daily hair doesn’t have to be that complex and doesn’t need to have that much energy given to it!   When I think of how many times I let a “bad hair day” ruin my day is just ridiculous and petty, or so it seems to me right now.

Since quite a bit of my lingerie now comes from the medical supply house  (this makes me laugh or I may cry!), I find it important to have pretty lingerie for the items that don’t!  A lace camisole makes all the difference!

And then we come to one of my passions which are books.  I just have to let go of them.  This might be more of a sacrifice, but this winter I am determined to cut my book collection by at least half to three-quarters.

As for cleaning products, I need to be so careful about these and their toxins.  So I have it down to two cleaning items – apple cider vinegar and white vinegar.  Okay, I do sneak in a little Bar Keeper’s Friend on my stainless steel sink!  But I am ridding my household of the other toxic cleaners that don’t do that great of a job!

And in the food and vitamin department, well that is where it gets complicated.  If you start researching what keeps cancer at bay, you will be more than overwhelmed.  So far I am committed to real and expensive Pomegranate Juice, walnuts and parsley.  There is real research on these foods with Her2Neu Positive Breast Cancer.  I’ll write an entire blog post about this at a future date!

One thing I do know, I cannot go back to my old ways.  It won’t work for me any longer.  So I rejoice about the new path and appreciate the lessons along the way!


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