The Beauty of Chemotherapy

The Beauty of Chemotherapy | Sedruola Maruska

Oooooo I know the moment I begin talking about the beauty of chemotherapy I’m opening myself up to all sorts of judgements. Thing is, before I had cancer, it was easy for me to judge too. All I ask is that you take a moment and hear what I’m saying.

The Beauty of Chemotherapy | Sedruola Maruska

Going through chemotherapy is not a fun process. It requires patience, stamina and a whole lot of understand on the part of those around you. Chemotherapy is a toxic poison that anyone not going through cancer can judge all they want. Now that we’re done with that, let’s get to the beauty of chemotherapy.

My Story

On January 2, 2018 I went in for my first chemotherapy infusion. I had no idea what to expect, but it was the course I’d decided on so there I was. My husband and I went to the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Waltham and started my four month journey on chemotherapy drugs. That was also the first day I met my nurse, Jennie (who would later be known around my house as ‘my Jennie’). My veins did not cooperate on this first visit. They were hard to find so several nurses came in to help ‘my Jennie’ in placing the catheter. Everyone was so kind.

At my first chemotherapy appointment my husband accompanied me. After that appointment, I had someone new with me each time. Only my mom & sister/cousin Rose came with me twice. There were specific reasons, but the most prominent was that I enjoyed having the company. I also think it helped me keep front and center the support I had. By my third infusion I began to look forward to chemotherapy. I looked forward to seeing my Jennie, my Mary (the wonderful nurse who did acupuncture & acupressure for me and relieved my nausea by her third visit) and interacting with my hero of the day.

The cancer journey can be rigorous and lonely if you allow it to be. However, mine was always filled with love, support and lots of laughter. Although I felt frustrated at times, I never felt alone or lonely. Falling in love with my nurse and nursing staff made every visit an adventure.

Read my article: Working Through Chemo a Survival Guide

The Beauty of Chemotherapy

Now for the beauty. Chemotherapy, as much as we may hate it and consider it a poison, it works. I felt my mass melt away after the first infusion so that by the 5th infusion, we could barely find it. It shrinks tumors and helps give people back their lives.

Chemotherapy brings people together. I met amazing nurses, I’m thankful for my great doctors, but mostly my friends, family and community banded together to give my family the help we needed in going through a major medical crisis. Every call, card, flower, package, meal, blanket, text etc. served to help keep our spirits high and happy. Chemo lets you know who will or will not be there for you in the end. We all need to know that information.

Finally, the thing that chemotherapy did for me, that it seems nothing else ever could, is it gave me time to take time for myself. It knocked me down so that I could take time to allow my body to fight and heal. It taught me how important self-care is no matter what and gave me time to explore what that means to me.  Taking time out for yourself is beautiful, chemotherapy taught me that.

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Each Decision is Personal

How someone decides to fight their battle with cancer is highly personal. For anyone to berate someone going through chemotherapy is highly ignorant, insensitive and rude. We make choices based on what works for our lives. Whatever someone decides to do, as long as it’s the best thing for them, they should be allowed to do it. Chemotherapy is scary, but if you allow it, chemo will take you to a new level of respect for your mortality. There is beauty in chemotherapy, just as there is in anything that is trying, but you can overcome. Never feel guilty for choosing life via chemo. Those who don’t understand have never stood where you stand, they can’t.

Gratitude

Thank you to Myrna, my Jennie, my Mary and all the nurses at the MGH Cancer Center for making my process one to look forward to every two weeks until we were done. To my Oncologist, Jeff, thank you for being easy to understand and relate to. Finally, to my Jenna, who took over when Jennie had to change shifts, thank you. You all hold a special place in this survivor’s heart because you helped with the battle!

The Beauty of Chemotherapy | Sedruola Maruska
Lisandra, Gail, Myrna, Rose, Dr. Jeff, My Mary — My Angels

Disclaimer

Please know that this is MY experience with chemotherapy. I am a cancer survivor who knows and understands that there are as many stories as there are people fighting cancer. My goal is help someone going through or anticipating chemotherapy treatment know that they can do it. It’s not all bad and keeping a healthy mental attitude does wonders. I’m sure you have opinions, feel free to voice them in the comments, but do so in love. 🙂



You Are A Badass – A Badass Book Reveiw

“If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done.”

It was December 17, 2017. We’d landed a day earlier in a magical place and I was ready to get my vacation on!

Four days earlier I’d gotten the news that I had breast cancer. Three days earlier I’d gone in for a CT Scan, Bi-lateral MRI and a bone scan. Two days earlier I’d learned that all my scans were clear. On December 16 we got on a plane with great friends and landed in Turks & Caico. I was primed to forget the past few days and focus on loving life.

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The Book

I’d picked up You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life at the Massachusetts Conference for Women because I loved the title and the bright yellow cover grabbed my attention. Little did I know what kind of ride I’d just decided to take.

The “You Are A Badass” book is written by Jen Sincero who is, among a ton of other things, a success coach. It’s a New York Times Bestseller so I’m sure you’ve seen it displayed at your local bookstore. I bought the paperback version which was easy to pack and enjoy on vacation. You probably have an electronic reader so you can pick up an electronic copy here, however, I still love the feel of real books.

When I opened the book I noticed it was separated into five sections each with their own overall theme. Having sections makes is easy for you to choose where you’d like to start if you don’t want to read the full book. Personally, I’d encourage you to go through the whole thing the first time, then pick and choose your second, third or fourth time around.

You Are A Badass - A Badass Book Review | Sedruola Maruska

The Voice

Jen speaks in a very down to earth conversational tone throughout the book. I think it’s one of the things I enjoyed most. She shares a ton of content in a way that makes you feel she’s your wiser older sister who really wants you to succeed.

I’ve started and put down a number of books that seemed to be talking at me and not to me. This book, You Are a Badass, was not one of them. I flew through this book as if my life depended on it (which after a cancer diagnosis, I felt it did). It was almost like having her across from me at the kitchen table, with our wine glasses between us, hashing out why I need to embrace all that is me.

The Message

Just as the title implies, the message of the book is that You Are A Badass but until you embrace that fully, you’ll keep living a life designed for you not by you. She wants you to learn to love yourself fully. That way, when life happens, you’re ready to meet it head on and decide how you want events or situations to unfold.

The book is full of butt kicking advice because it’s what we, as readers, need. If we didn’t she wouldn’t have had to write this book. However, the butt kicking is done with compassion and understanding. That’s not always easy to do, but she does a beautiful job.

What is Authenticity and are you Authentic?

My Conclusion

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life and enjoy the ride read. Depending on where you are on your personal journey the content will bring out some emotions. Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel because it’s all a process.

My second read-through is happening with highlighter in hand (the reason I love books) so I can now work on internalizing the information and change my life. Even those of us who love and are infinitely grateful for the lives we have can use some adjusting and tweaking every now and then.

Your Turn

Have your read the book? What prompted you to read it? What was your assessment of the content. Please leave a message in the comments. I’d love to hear your perspective, especially if it’s different than mine on what you thought about this book. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.



 

Mother Daughter DIY Frankincense Sugar Scrub

Mother Daughter DIY Sugar Scrub | Sedruola Maruska

It was a collaborative project from the beginning. She measured, I mixed and we decided on color and texture. This frankincense sugar scrub comes to you from our hearts.

My daughter just turned seven. She’s pretty smart for her age, but there isn’t much I can involve her in when it comes to my blog. Let me rephrase that, there isn’t much I thought I could involve her in when it comes to my blogging. I’m wrong.

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Mother Daughter DIY Sugar Scrub | Sedruola Maruska

Ever since my cancer diagnosis I’ve taken a more relaxed approach to life. There are important things that need to be done (like filing taxes on time) but most things aren’t that deep. Most of the things we stress, worry and make ourselves sick about aren’t that deep.

This blog is important to me. But I’ve realized it’s not necessary to make myself crazy trying to make it “perfect”. It will evolve over time as long as I’m focused and consistent. That’s why when it was time to create this sugar scrub to share with you, and my daughter wanted to help, I said yes!

Now would be a great time for you to follow me on Instagram 🙂

The Recipe

Throughout the process of making this sugar scrub my daughter and I chatted. We talked about boys, pampering, feeling good and what’s good for you. It was a work of love that we’d like to share with you. What you’ll need:

  • 1 Cup of sugar
  • 14 oz. Organic olive oil (refined, it’s smoother)
  • 20 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 2 drops blue food coloring (optional)
  • 1 drop green food coloring (optional)

Other items you’ll need

  • 1 airtight glass jar
  • hand mixer
  • mixing bowl
  • spoon

The Process


Plant Therapy Essential Oils
This sugar scrub is a lovely compliment to the Frankincense & Sandlewood Bath Soak we made a few weeks ago. The aromas are subtle, but the benefits are huge.

Once you gather all your tools and ingredients you’re ready! First, using a large spoon first, mix the sugar with the coconut oil. Do not melt the oil (I know it sounds crazy but trust me) Do your best to slowly mix the sugar and coconut oil until the mixture is soft enough that you can use the mixer.

Before using the mixer add the frankincense oil and the food coloring. Once you have everything in the bowl, start using the hand mixer and mix for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is fluffy.

Once you have the right consistency, transfer the mixture to your airtight jar and it’s ready to go.

Special Notes

There is method to my madness so I’ll explain it here.

Feel free to make the mixture any color you wish. We didn’t use a lot of color because I didn’t really want color and my daughter did. It’s totally up to you.

I didn’t melt the coconut oil because keeping hard allows for the final mixture to be fluffy. If you store it in a warm place it will stay fluffy and easy to use. If it gets cold where you store it, it will harden, but keeping it warm for a short time will allow it to fluff up again.

The best thing about this mixture is the amount of coconut oil we used. We used extra coconut oil because we wanted a mixture that would feel super soft once you’re done. This sugar scrub gives a generous amount of oil in the shower once your rub it on. Use it last then pat dry and allow the coconut oil to absorb into your skin. It’s a great emollient and it even has a slight bit of SPF ;).

The combination of sugar and coconut oil is perfect for summer showers!

We hope you enjoy making this sugar scrub with someone you love or alone as a meditative exercise. It’s great for dry skin (take it from someone who’s experienced the dryness of chemo), plus it’s easy & fun to make. We’re hoping you’ll end up making it for friends and family as gifts.

Let us know what you loved, liked or didn’t care for with this recipe. We’re happy for the feedback as we dream up more lovely MYO (make your own)concoctions to share with you.