Warrior Princess and the Pea

Kat Caverly, self-portrait October 31, 2013, Warrior Princess and the Pea

Anyone that knows me well, knows all too well I am a fighter. But if you know me intimately, you know I have very sensitive, thin skin. I feel every little breeze and light touch. Tom pegged me right. He calls me his Warrior Princess and the Pea.

This is the reason why I fight dirty. If I can avoid getting hit at all is always my goal. But I couldn’t avoid the hits with chemotherapy. In fact I had to open my arms and full embrace this warrior’s stance: hit me with your best shot! Chemo pulled no punches, but I was ready for this fight.

I had to learn and I had to learn fast about these opponents/fellow warriors. I read too many bad books before I found “The Chemotherapy Survival Guide” by oncology nurses Judith McKay and Tamera Schacher. This gave me a solid foundation to apply my knowledge of herbs, and what I was learning from “The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils” by Kurt Schnaubelt.

Sometimes the placebo effect of just taking action is enough to make a considerable difference in supporting the body. Yet I knew after almost 30 years as an herbalist, these ancient wisdoms really do support physical health and the immune system.

It took me a week after the first chemo treatment to realize that my skin was in trouble. It was then I decided to baby myself, quite literally. I bought baby shampoo, and bath oils, and balms and moisturizers. I got baby wipes and Boogie Wipes, and pampered my skin like the delicate baby I am.

It worked, and it is a lot of work. And only I can do it. After I got a grip on what to do during chemo, I started to prepare for the inevitable surgery and possible radiation therapy. This is when I started to learn about hydrosols, in addition to the essential oils. I was well-versed in teas – ironically IV chemotherapy is also called an infusion – and tinctures, dried whole herbs, and powders. The oils and hydrosols were a new discipline, though I had used some oils for years too.

I am currently studying Suzanne Catty’s book, “Hydrosols, the next Aromatherapy”, again using most of my new found knowledge for taking care of my skin, which is just being pummeled by the onslaught that is chemotherapy cocktails, so many drugs and they all affect the skin.

So, yes, I feel it all, quite intensely. At a time like this I am grateful I am a fighter, and a warrior princess I must be, for the sake of saving my skin. Today my medical oncologist asked me to document the mixtures I am using for my hands, and what I am doing since I have so far avoided all major problems with the side effects. It’s not because I’ve not had them. Instead I have shown them to be brief, and well-tolerated. So what are my secrets? Stay tuned. All will be revealed.


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