All Natural Remedies for Chemo Side Effects

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This post is for anyone looking for natural & effective ways of dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy.

So here you are, about to take the next step into your healing cancer treatment plan: chemotherapy, which I affectionately now call “C-Love.” Take a look in the mirror at that sweet, beautiful face. You are strong. Fearless. Or possibly scared shitless?

If you’re like me, you may have heard 1,000 horror stories about chemo and I’m here to tell you that it just wasn’t my experience. Do you think your body has a better opportunity to heal when you are cursing and fearing your treatment or accepting it with gratitude? I chose to receive C-Love as a healing cleanse for my body. I envisioned my healthy cells being protected and anything that no longer serves me being washed away. I chose to see the good in all things ~ the needles, the nurses, the
drugs, the side effects. Chemo taught me how to slow down, focus on me, and love myself unconditionally. How to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and connect with others. How to see I am always supported, even when I’m not feeling so hot. There were some hard times, a lot of easy/fun times, and some hilarious times. Open your mind to the blessings that are always around you ~ I promise, they are there.

I noticed different sensations would come and go and I LOVED learning all-natural ways to support my body and mind. So here is a list of what worked for me. I invite you to see what you’re drawn to, clear anything necessary with your doctor, and find what works for you. You’ve so got this!

Overall Health & Wellbeing thru the Cancer Journey

(click links for more guidance on each therapy)

Yoga

Breathing

Meditation

The Work of Byron Katie

Walking

Rebounding

Acupuncture

Nutrition

Supplements

Emotional Releasing

Writing

Art

Essential Oils

Sound Healing

 

Low Immunity

  • Eat organic, plant-based diet with lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Avoid meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy (ALL soy- especially for estrogen-positive cancers). If you eat meat, choose all-natural meats with no growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Organic Raw Vegetable Juices
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea (click link for recipes)
  • Warm Water w/Lemon
  • Curcumin Supplement
  • Garden of Life Organic Multi-Vitamin
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Vitamin C
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Probiotic
  • Vitamin D
  • Calm Magnesium & Calcium Supplement
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Do you think your body has a better opportunity to heal when you are at peace and loving life or when you are stressed and angry? When you are cursing and fearing your treatment or accepting it with gratitude? Question your stressful thoughts and find peace during the cancer journey.
  • Daily movement like walking, yoga, dancing, swimming, rebounding.
  • Time relaxing in nature
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Wash hands frequently and avoid touching face & mouth.
  • Keep all-natural hand sanitizer in purse.
  • Avoid crowded places, especially during nadir days ~ when WBC (white blood count) is lowest.

 

Nausea

  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea
  • Organic Raw Vegetable Juices
  • Curcumin Supplement
  • Eat smaller meals multiple times per day.
  • Eat blander foods and avoid spicy foods.
  • Enjoy soups, smoothies with turmeric & ginger.
  • Avoid over-eating; stop eating before you are full.
  • Gentle belly breathing
  • Take ALL medications and supplements WITH food unless directed otherwise by doctor.
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga: Practicing constructive rest position (lying on back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor) or reclining bound angle pose (lying on back, soles of the feet together, knees wide) has helped me with the stomach flutters. I place my hands on my belly and breath into them. Pelvic tilts, rocking the knees side to side, and child’s pose have been really helpful too. Avoid a lot of up and down movement.
  • Warm (not hot) showers and baths
  • Acupuncture

 

Fatigue

  • Daily movement – choose something you love – walking, yoga, rebounding, swimming, dancing – at least 30 min/day will help you to build & sustain energy.
  • Rest when you need to rest. Think of your energy level like a gas tank between each treatment ~ don’t over-do it in the beginning and pace yourself. This your time to slow down and be.
  • Master the art of napping ~ it’s AWESOME! The body heals when it sleeps.
  • Eat organic, plant-based diet with lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Avoid meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy (ALL soy- especially for estrogen-positive cancers). If you eat meat, choose all-natural meats with no growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Believing stressful thoughts can zap your energy; clear your mind and gain greater peace by questioning your stressful thoughts.
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Meditation
  • Breathing
  • Yoga: A short, gentle flow with supported back bends & heart openers (I prefer blocks & lots of blankets).
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Therapy
  • Warm (not hot) showers and baths

 

Aches & Pains

  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea
  • Calm Magnesium & Calcium Supplement
  • Curcumin Supplement
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Yoga: Gentle stretching & breathing with an extended exhale. If legs are extra achey, I will lie on my back and place my legs up the wall.
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Question your stressful thoughts about pain (ex/ – “I want the pain to go away.” “I shouldn’t feel like this.”) and question stressful thoughts about what you think the pain means (ex/“It will only get worse. The cancer is spreading. I can’t live like this.”).
  • Warm (not hot) Epson Salt baths
  • Acupuncture

 

Mouth Sores

  • MUST-DO for prevention & treatment: Homemade mouth rinse ~ Add 1 tsp or baking soda + 1 tsp Sea Salt or Himalayan Crystal Salt to 20 oz of water. Rinse mouth 5-6 times per day throughout treatment. This also worked for me at the first signs of a sore throat.
  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods.
  • Ask nurses if sucking on ice while receiving chemo would be helpful (it was recommended for me while receiving the red Adriamycin drug).

 

Constipation

  • Triphala Supplement ~ helps maintain healthy flow of digestion and purifies the blood.
  • Psyllium Husks ~ helps to soften the stools so they can pass through more easily.
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea
  • Traditional Medicine’s Smooth Move Tea
  • Organic Raw Vegetable Juices
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Eat prunes daily or drink warm prune juice
  • Avoid foods with a lot of bread, meat, dairy
  • Buy a Squatty Potty!
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga: incorporate gentle core strengthening and twists into your yoga practice.
  • With your hand, gently make circles over your belly in a clockwise direction.
  • For severe constipation, self administer an enema (uncomfortable and WORTH IT!).

 

Hemorrhoids

  • Follow above constipation remedies.
  • Replace toilet paper with all-natural, unscented baby wipes.
  • Add more oils into meals and smoothies (organic, unrefined coconut, olive, sesame oils are best).
  • Keep anus clean and apply a little coconut oil to it.
  • Acupuncture
  • Laugh on the toilet ~ come on, this is pretty ridiculous, eh? I can even tried “toilet yoga.”

 

Dry Skin

  • Keep skin well moisturized throughout treatment.
  • Use all natural (preferably organic) oil-based body products without harmful chemicals or plant-based estrogens.
  • I used organic argan oil, jojoba oil, and Juice Beauty products.

 

Chemo Brain

  • Acupuncture
  • Restorative Yoga: calming poses like forward bends, child’s pose, pigeon, legs up the wall.
  • Meditation
  • Breathing
  • Creamy Ayurvedic Spiced Latté Tea (w/Black Pepper)
  • The cancer journey can be so overwhelming with all of the new information, medical terms to learn, bills, treatments plans, mental/emotional issues…brain fog would be natural for any person going through this! Consider, where can you do less in your life? Can you make time to just relax and be?
  • Humor ~ Everybody forgets stuff, and I chose to laugh about it with myself and others instead of getting frustrated over it. Sometimes I’d remember things and if I didn’t, that’s ok too. This is an appropriate time for the mind to be mushy. Enjoy being more present – people spend a lot of money and time on forgetting the past and future!
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Question your stressful thoughts about memory (ex/ “My memory should be better. People will be angry with me (if I forget). My memory is permanently damaged.”) or about any stressful situations you may be experiencing.

 

Weight Loss

  • Increase healthy fats like avocados, olives, nuts, nut butters, seeds, coconut/olive/sesame oil.
  • Add more protein like organic beans, wild-caught salmon, and soy-free, pastuere-raised eggs.
  • Add vegan protein powder such as Hemp Protein or Vega.
  • Buy new clothes that actually fit. This was an emotional game-changer for me!
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ question any stressful thoughts about your body image (ex/ “I want my old body back. My body is too skinny/ugly. People don’t find me attractive.”).
  • Remember, this too shall pass. Bodies are always changing. This is an opportunity to love yourself regardless of your outer appearance.
  • Acupuncture
  • Eat before and after exercise.
  • Yoga: focus less on cardio movement and more on grounding & strengthening poses Warrior Poses, Triangle, Chair, Tree, Half Moon, & Goddess Pose.

 

Hair Loss

  • Before hair loss (which occurs about 2-3 weeks into treatment), consider cutting and donating your hair to a charity.
  • Have a hair shaving party with close friends and family!
  • Keep an electric razor on hand for when hair begins to fall out. When you’re ready, GI Jane that shit off!
  • Buy a wig, invite some girlfriends to come along!
  • Buy cute scarf’s, hats, wraps – I loved these: chemobeanies.com.
  • Throw a hat/scarf party.
  • If you really don’t want to lose your hair, consider getting the “Cold Cap” treatment, which may be covered by insurance.
  • Acupuncture
  • Embrace being bald ~ there are so many bonuses!
    • The most low maintenance hairstyle you’ll ever have
    • Best head massages
    • Shower at least twice per day
    • No need to buy any hair products – no shampoo, conditioner, styling spray, combs, hair ties, razors
    • Travel just got way easier
    • No more shaving! (people pay a lot of $ for this)
    • Smoothest legs you’ll ever have
    • Feel like a true badass walking around bald – OWN IT – you’re beautiful. Plus people are soooo kind when they see you’re going through cancer treatment. If we all treated each other like we were going through cancer, the world would be a happier place
    • Enjoy the fun process as it grows back – it starts with the super soft fuzzies and then maybe a new color or curlier or straighter!
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Question any stressful thoughts about your body image (ex/ “I want my old body back. I look like a sick person. People don’t find me attractive.”).

 

Hot Flashes

  • Acupuncture
  • Wear layers that can easily be stripped off in public.
  • Sleep naked
  • Sleep next to a fan
  • Apply a cold wash clothe on forehead.
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Breathing

 

Acid Reflux or Indigestion

  • Avoid acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, and vinegars.
  • Take Papaya enzymes before meals.
  • Eat small meals more frequently.
  • Drink warm water with meals.
  • Sleep with the head elevated above the heart.

byronkatiequote

© 2016 Bethany Webb. All rights reserved.

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6 responses »

  1. Great post. I love your willingness to see cancer as a teacher.

    Have you ever looked at nutritionfacts.org? It’s a database compiled by Dr. Michael Greger, Physician and author of “How Not to Die”. There are several studies that indicate that organic, non gmo soy foods are actually protective against breast cancer. The phytoestrogens in soy are similar to estrogens but actually act as a barrier between the cancer cells and receptors, so that the actual estrogen is not able to bind to the cancer cells in order to fuel their growth… sorry for the poor wording on that sentence! this video (and several others on the website) have been informative to me in my experience thus far.
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breast-cancer-survival-and-soy/

    Like

    • Thank you, Amy! I haven’t heard of him ~ I’ll check it out. There’s so much conflicting information out there ~ this thing causes cancer and then you’ll read the same thing heals cancer. It can definitely be overwhelming!

      I’m interested to learn even more about plant-based estrogens since my particular cancer was very receptive to estrogen (hence my reason for saying yes to Tamaxifan).

      And I really miss Tamari 🙂 The soy-free alternative called Coconut Aminos is soooo not the same!

      Thanks so much for sharing this, sweet sister!

      Like

      • Yes, there is soooooo much conflicting information out there. My cancer was very receptive to estrogen as well. I’ve done a lot of my own research and consulted with several doctors about the soy thing. The majority of the oncologists I’ve spoken to say soy in supplement form is not something they recommend, but consuming it in food is fine. And a few of them have pointed me to the studies that have said it’s actually protective. So I guess ultimately we get to decide. But nutritionfacts.org is amazing. Dr. Greger is incredible, I met him this summer and talked to him about my situation at a 5 day disease and nutrition conference. Anyway, I hope you like the website! There’s lots on there about breast cancer! Xoxo

        Like

  2. I’m not sure if there are studies solely on pre-menopausal women and soy… I did ask at the conference if soy was safe for me to consume and across the board, these physicians said yes. Ultimately the difference between pre and post menopausal women is the amount of estrogen we are producing in our ovaries, so in that sense I suppose it makes sense that it wouldn’t make a difference… because regardless of the amount we are making, it’s effects on the body would probably be the same?? I apologize for my poor wording. Hopefully you know what I’m trying to say. I’m actually in the process of entering a chemical-induced menopause (lupron injections once a month in my upper derrière, whoopee), so I guess I’ll be menopausal soon…

    Like

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