Sandlewood & Frankincense Soothing Bath Soak

Sandlewood & Frankincense Soothing Bath Soak | Sedruola Maruska

I’ve fallen in love with taking baths! I used to enjoy them before as a “once in awhile special treat” but I now that I’ve been actively fighting cancer I realize how medicinal bath soaks truly are. Taking a bath is not only for cleansing your body, but your soul. When I’m feeling tense, pain, anxiety or fatigue, especially going through chemotherapy, getting into a nice hot bath with salts and essential oils always calms my spirit and makes me feel so much better.

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With Mother’s day coming quickly I wanted to share one of my favorite bath soak recipes so you can make a batch of soothing & healing bath soak for yourself and the special mom or moms in your life. This “MYO” (make your own) recipe is quick, easy and light on the wallet!

Sandlewood & Frankincense Soothing Bath Soak | Sedruola Maruska

Essential Oils

Although the essential oils are the smallest ingredient in  the bath soak, there are specific reasons I’ve chosen Sandlewood & Frankincense for this particular soak. After being diagnosed with breast cancer I began to look at essential oils and their properties. Reading into the many uses of essential oils is so enlightening.

Sandlewood

Sandlewood is a steam distilled oil that is woodsy in fragrance. The top properties of this oil are:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-carcinoma
  • astringent
  • anti-depressant
  • calming
  • sedative

Besides the fact that I received it as a gift and fell in love with it’s scent, knowing and experiencing it’s properties in a bath soak on days when my pain is raging has solidified my love for sandlewood.

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Frankincense

Frankincense blends well with Sandlewood because their properties are similar. The top properties of this oil are:

  • Immunostimulant
  • anti-carcinoma
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-depressant
  • restorative

Using this oil with Sandlewood makes for a potent soul soothing mix I think you’ll love.

Working Through Chemo: A Survival Guide

Bath Soak Recipe

Feel free to pre-mix your bath soak, however, it isn’t necessary. But, because I want you to enjoy this for yourself and share with someone else, I’ll give two measurements for mixing.

Individual bath recipe

  • 1/2 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 8 drops Sandlewood Essential Oil
  • 8 drops Frankincense Essential Oil

As an individual soak, pour the Epsom salt and baking soda into the running water. Then put the drops of sandlewood and frankincense. Stir the bath as you get in then lie still.


Gift size recipe

  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 2 cups Baking Soda
  • 10 drops Sandlewood Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil

As a gift size be sure to store your bath soak in a glass, air tight jar. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until they are well mixed, then scoop into the glass jar. Be sure to use a ribbon and tag to make it look more festive.

Best Bath Practices

As a bonus to this bath soak recipe I thought I’d share some of the best bath practices that have allowed my bath time to be truly meditative and healing.

Use dim light / candles – Using calming light practices while taking a bath will help set the state for relaxation.

Play soothing music – Use music that doesn’t compel you to sing, but to relax and reflect. I usually tune my phone to my Pandora New Age Station and let the music flow.

Use water as hot as you can stand – One of the important elements of a good soak is the hot water. Don’t burn yourself, just use water hot enough to help you sweat throughout your bath for a healthy exchange of toxins.

Dry brush and/or shower right before – Before you lie in the bath for a healing soak you can do one or both of the following: dry brush, shower. Dry brushing exfoliates your skin and allows for better exchange in the bath. If you can’t dry brush, take a shower and use a washcloth to scrub your skin (what I’ve done so far). Doing either of these things prepares your skin for a nice sweat and exchange opportunity.

Soak for at least 20 minutes – Soaking for at least 20 minutes gives your body the chance to expel and absorb what it needs from the salts and oils in your bath soak.

Lie still – When you’re moving around you don’t give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the soothing nature of your bath. Lie still for the first 20 minutes allowing your body to sweat and release toxins.

I’m sure you have a special bath soak recipe you love, won’t you share? Sharing what’s worked to keep us soothed during trying times is always helpful



Working through Chemo – A Survival Guide

Working Through Chemo | Sedruola Maruska

I still think it’s funny that I get strange looks when I tell people I’m working through chemo. Thing is, working through chemo is not unusual, crazy or impossible. It’s just not easy.

When my diagnosis came, stopping work was not the first thing that came to mind. After getting through the initial shock of having cancer, my first thoughts turned to my children, my family and keeping the status quo as much as possible.

Working Through Chemo | Sedruola Maruska

Reasons Why I Work

Nothing turns your world around as much as a major health diagnosis. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, because there are major life events that really rock your existence. What I’m saying is a major health crisis is right there among the top choices. Finding out you’re sick, when you not only thought you were fine, but you feel fine is blindsiding. You’re not ready. We weren’t ready.

I knew I wasn’t going in to work on the day I was diagnosed. Then the day after I had a bunch of scans so I had to take that day off too. However, it never occurred to me to just call in my short term disability and stop working. I was fine. Looking back, here are a few reasons why I chose to working through chemo over other options:

  • Structure – I have an eleven year old son and a six year old daughter. I want them to have normal days with normal worries and a structured schedule. To me, stopping work would make is seem that things were off kilter. Don’t misunderstand, my kids are well aware of what’s happening. I’ve talked to each of them separately and they both do worry that “mommy’s going to get sicker”. Even in the midst of keeping a stable structure they see my struggle and they worry. But how much more traumatic would it be if I didn’t do any of the things they’re used to me doing?
  • Financial Stability – When you wake up one day and have 40% of your income stripped without any prior notice you’re going to feel the burn. That’s what would’ve happened if I’d gone straight to STD. Working as much as I can gives us the opportunity to plan ahead emotionally and financially for the time when I will definitely need to be home to recover from surgery. Financially, we need time to strip the excess, tighten our spending and prep for some lean times.
  • Emotional Stability – If I stopped working as soon as I began chemo, I would be an emotional wreck. Working gives me structure and stability. Working gives me more to think about than my side-effects or the next chemo treatment. If I didn’t work I think I’d find a way to fill my days, but it might drive my family and me crazy in the end. Yes, I’m exhausted when I get home from work, but I’m thankful that I was able to feel and be useful for the day.
  • Distraction – Working distracts me from the fact that I am actively fighting and surviving cancer. It also distracts me from worrying about all that “may” happen after treatment and surgery. Staying at work keeps me grounded in the present so I’m not off making up multiple scenarios to induce fear into my current situation. When I’m working and taking care of the normal day-to-day activities and needs, I don’t have time to imagine the worst. Thankfully.

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Survival Guide

We’re all different and diagnosis along with decisions you make afterward will depend on your particular situation. I know there are protocols that do not allow you to work while on chemo because of the timing and aggressive nature of the treatment. Please make sure that all decisions are what’s best for you and your family.

However, if like me, you’re able and you’ve opted to keep working through chemo here are a few tips to help you survive the daily grind:

  1. Take life one day at a time. Assess each day individually and work accordingly. Do not take in a larger picture than that day.
  2. Notify all pertinent parties at work what’s going on with your health. It may not be comfortable and you may want to keep it completely to yourself, however, if there’s any chance that your company is willing to accommodate your needs, you owe it to yourself to find out. Don’t suffer in silence.
  3. If you have a “work from home” option, use it! Always assess your day (see #1) but I know there are days when I can’t get to the office, but I can pull up my laptop onto my bed and work. Always keep it as an option if it’s available to you.
  4. On the days when it’s just too much and you don’t feel you can work, take the day off. I know it’s a financial thing, but it’s also a “get healthy” thing. Your body is working hard when you’re going through treatments so any support you give is important. When your body says rest, please take time to rest, your body knows.
  5. Pack your snacks and lunches so you can support yourself nutritionally. I’m not going to give you any nutritional advice right now (I’m sure you’ve gotten your fair share already). If you’re working on improving your diet to help support your immune system, the easiest way is to pack your own food every day. I’m aware of the fatigue that comes with chemo and you may lack the energy to be fancy, but you don’t have to be fancy. My husband makes a huge salad each week that goes in the refrigerator so I usually just grab some pieces of fruit and maybe a bit of the salad for lunch. Believe me, I’m the last person to pile anything extra on your plate, but stocking your fridge with easy to grab foods is the best thing you can do.
  6. Protect your health while you’re in the workplace by making sure you have masks (if needed), tissue, lotion & sanitizer easily accessible. Like it or not people go to work sick all the time. While going through chemo your immune system isn’t ready to do major battle with even the most minor germs. If you’ve got sick co-workers don’t worry about wearing your mask at work. They shouldn’t be at work if they’re sick and you need to protect yourself. Wash your hands often and use both the sanitizer and lotion regularly (lotion, cause chemo dries out your hands something awful). Finally, avoid touching communal hard surfaces with your bare hands (handles, doors, tables, etc)Being a germ-phob at this time in your life is not only smart, but totally encouraged.
  7.  Gauge your energy level. Not everything needs to be done right away or even today. Make sure not to wear yourself out too much. Making sure you can get enough rest overnight to make it back in the morning is important. If you over exert yourself after a few days you’ll pay the price and it won’t be helpful to your or your job (see #1). Pace yourself and you should be able to keep working throughout chemo.
  8. Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and your energy level up. Staying hydrated helps your body do the work it needs to do during the day. Plus, those ventilation systems are extra drying. Chemo dries out your skin so drink as much water as you can muster everyday (even when you’re not working).
  9. When in doubt . . . see #1

If you’ve got cancer Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips is a good book to have, hold and reference!

Your Turn

It’s your turn. What are some tips you’d like to share with your fellow sister warriors about working through chemo? This is my first experience with cancer and I know I may have missed a few tips. Share your best tip in the comments below. It’s about helping each other thrive and survive through our experiences with cancer.

There is no giving without receiving, how to keep the flow going

There is No Giving Without Receiving How to Keep the Flow Going | Sedruola Maruska

I briefly mentioned in my last post how 2018 is my year of kindness. One of the biggest lessons I learned early this year, is there is no giving without receiving.

In December of 2017 as I was coming to the end of the “year of me” it dawned on me that I liked having a “themed” year. So as I thought about what 2018 was going to mean I tapped into the lessons I learned in 2017. The overwhelming feeling came that I wanted it to be about kindness. The new year was going to be about giving, as much as possible, to those I come into contact with. I didn’t want to limit it to my immediate circle, but expand it to anyone I come into contact with that needs a bit of kindness.

(please pin this image)

There is No Giving Without Receiving How to Keep the Flow Going | Sedruola Maruska

 

Then, on December 13, 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I can’t explain what happens when you get a diagnosis of cancer. I’m sure it’s different for everyone but this is what it was for me. Everything slowed. My doctor was speaking, I was listening, but my brain was stuck on “the biopsy showed that you have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, breast cancer.” My husband asked questions and at some point I began to cry because, cancer. Then clarity came, not instantly, it took a few days, but it came.

If you’ve just been diagnosed Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips is right for you

Help Rolled In

When we began to tell people about my diagnosis the offers to help rolled in. People are amazing and this only helped me to see it even more. Offers for food, babysitting, rides etc. Whatever could make our lives easier while fighting cancer, someone was there to help. What an amazing thing to be poised to give then have the floodgates open to push you to receive as well.

I was given my biggest opportunity to give by being given my biggest opportunity to receive. There is no real giving without also receiving. I know many people who want to give to others and yet, when the offer comes their way they are too proud, for whatever reason, to receive graciously. Receiving doesn’t diminish who you are it allows the kindness to flow. The action in both giving and receiving is an open hand, when one hand closes the flow is lost.

So here I was being handed the largest opportunity to receive just when I was planning to make it my biggest giving year ever! I was being taught that in order to truly give, we must also graciously receive. The feelings we get when giving or receiving are beneficial to our health!

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A Few Tips

Having shared that, let me share a few tips that may help in both giving and receiving of kindness from the world:

  1. Giving and receiving do not have to be proportional. You do not have to give in the exact proportion that someone has given to you. It’s nice to do, but not necessary. Giving as you can, just as someone gave as they could is still proportional.
  2. Giving doesn’t have to be to the person who has given to you. Paying it forward is the best way to keep the flow going. It’s also the best way NOT to feel as though you owe someone because they’ve done something nice for you, or to make them feel that they owe you when you do something nice for them. It’s not tit for tat, it’s letting kindness flow
  3. Give what you can. Small acts of kindness are still giving. Never feel that your giving has to be a grand gesture for all to see. Simple small gestures can go a long way to keeping the flow of kindness going. A smile, a compliment, a helping hand are all glorious acts of giving that could be saving someone’s life. Wherever you are and feel compelled to give, that’s your mission for the day.
  4. Give without looking to receive. Giving and receiving flow together, but don’t give with the intention of receiving. Just give. The flow of life, of the Universe is to always balance things out. So give happily and freely enjoying the feeling you get while doing it then move on never expecting anything in return. Honestly, that’s the kind of giving that will really make you feel the best!

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment 

What is all means

It meant to me was give and receive freely. What it means to you may be different. But what I hope we can all get from this is that as we look around we can see the need for loving kindness. If we allow ourselves to be open to the abundance the Universe offers and freely let it flow through us by giving we are letting kindness flow. What can be better than that?

I’m thankful every day for all the loving kindness my family is receiving while we go through this very draining time in our lives. I’m also very thankful for every opportunity I find to give of myself to others. Because, as I’ve said before, this amazing opportunity came my way just as I was planning to give, It’s giving me an opportunity to reach people I’d never know or see normally. We never know why anyone is put on our path, so let’s treat them kindly.