Every once in a while, I have a thought I would like to share with all of you…not enough for a whole blog entry, just a useful thought. I think what I’ll do is take the time every now and then to share these little unconnected factoids which might prove helpful to all of you.
One fact I found several years ago was if you take a great many medications, as many of us with chronic illness do, it can have a build-up affect on your hair. Is your hair lifeless? Does it poop out at parties along with you? All those chemicals can be stored in the hair shaft and I have discovered the use of a clarifying shampoo can bring a bounce back to the old bean. Two brands I have found very helpful are Pantene Clarifying shampoo and a similar product made by Joico. That last one can be found at beauty supply stores. I use them about twice a month and can see and feel the difference. I don’t exactly have that much hair left due to all those drugs; can’t complain too much because I’m still kickin’.
Another year round product I just couldn’t possibly live without is aloe vera gel. It’s cheap, it’s soothing to the skin irritated by either the sun or some weird rashes rheumatoid patients often get. I always have an aloe vera plant growing at my house but to be honest with you, I use the bottled gel instead of grabbing a leaf. The fragrance right out of the inside of the leaf is not all that wonderful and it’s very messy to deal with. The plant tends to “bleed” when you cut off a leaf and you have that goo to face. Not fun. Apparently, the climate here in Oregon is great for them by a nice large window because I had the only aloe plant I ever saw that burst into bloom. It was gorgeous and about three feet tall. It finally died from the weight of its leaf’s. When you get a serious skin rash, there are some topical steroid creams that also contain aloe. Just remember some small amount of that steroid is absorbed into your body. For any rash that sticks around awhile, it’s best to visit a good dermatologist.
For those of us with Sjogren’s Syndrome it’s that time of year when we have to watch forsmall heaters and forced air heat because it can really dry out the eyes and nose. It’s not fun to be up half the night squinting into the mirror popping in eye drops. You also have to watch those ceiling fans because they can also be very drying. Back to the key word of Sjogren’s and many rheumatoid conditions: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Just skip the alcohol or you’ll defeat the purpose by being in the “pee pee room” all the time.
Another product that is not as well known in this country is Tea Tree Oil. It’s from Australia and similar to camphor and eucalyptus. It has a natural antibiotic/anti-fungal property. You can find it very helpful for athlete’s foot or other fungus and I keep it around for use as an antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes. Also, remember if you keep Neosporin ointment around for similar use, it should be discarded after a few months because it has been known to grow bacteria. Just get a new tube.
Even if you have never been photo sensitive before, give it some thought, yes, even in the fall and winter seasons. Be vigilant because many medications can cause you to develop photosensitivity. I’ve shopped for many sun proof clothing items over the years; long–sleeved shirts which block the UVA and UVB, as well as sun proof pants. They are available in many more catalogs and online stores now than previously; Sun Solutions, Eddie Bauer and LL Bean to name a few. I’m afraid I’m not up on what’s in the stores. We live 75 miles from the nearest mall and I just find it easier to go online or pick up the phone to order. A shopping trip is also just too difficult and the price my body pays that night is too great. You don’t have to spend a great deal for sun proof clothing if you don’t want to. By the way, what’s the deal with the shorts and short sleeved shirts that are sun protective? Does that make sense to you? The whole idea is to cover up, isn’t it? All of you probably know by now my favorite sun proof hats are from a company called Wallaroo Hat Co. from Colorado. I buy them online and they wear forever. I know they are also found on Amazon.com but for the best selection, go straight to the company.Incidentally, I wear a sun proof hat every day of the year. Even when it’s raining it keep the head dry and you never know with this zany Oregon weather when the sun will pop out for a visit. We are only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and it causes our clouds, winds and storms to zoom past us. When we lived in California, a storm would move in and stay for a while.
Briefly, I would like to revisit the subject of sunscreens. Since my favorite oncologist just had a baby, I have had a substitute oncologist who is also great and a bit older but works a bit even though he’s retired. He shared with me the sunscreens he believes are best. He is basing his belief on the ones without any toxic chemicals with a more natural approach using minerals. Just remember all the other factors involved are not just the protective factor but are they slippery? Will they get into the eyes? Will your make-up slide off your face? It matters. Do they burn the skin on application? Some of them go on like wave set or goo and cause the skin to be shiny and sticky. My grandson asked me one day why I always wear socks with my sandals. It’s easier than wearing sunscreen on my feet and toes and I also don’t want to mess up my shoes. I have some really fun socks, so why not? I think fun clothing on older people is a riot. After people laugh with or at you they keep wondering if you’ve lost a few brain cells. The answer would be yes, of course, hasn’t everyone?
The new-to-me brands the oncologist shared are Blue Lizard, Mighty Nest, which is apparently a store online and off and any other brands with zinc oxide or titanium oxide or both of them. I found another one that is mineral based called Beauty by Earth. I have used Neutrogena for years and like the way it soaks into the skin without being sticky. All the other ones I mentioned are better for you but are heavier and thicker to spread. For a day in the sun, I will use one of the mineral based but for a trip to the market or to work in the shade of my small potted garden, I continue to use the 100 spf proof Neutrogena. I use the aloe for any sun rash, and also like Clinique brand After Sun.
Now that all the Hallmark movies are filled with pumpkins and people wearing fall colors, Mother Nature is dropping leaves like mad and the air at night is cooler, just remember to stay warm. I’ve always admired the way the Chinese culture stayed warm over the centuries by layering in quilted material. Layering is a good idea for us to remember because many of us are immunodeficient and just don’t fight those nasty viruses as well as we used to. Ask your doctor if you should get a flu shot and if he agrees and doesn’t give you one then head on down to your local pharmacy where a somewhat nervous pharmacist will give you one. Just remember it isn’t something that’s in their usual job description, so be kind and be a patient patient.
For those of you like me who do poop out at parties, it’s a good idea to start Christmas shopping early so you aren’t overwhelmed for the holidays and kick yourself around the block for not planning better. Please enjoy each season and find a pile of those fall colorsto dive into. Just be sure the dog didn’t get there first.
That’s about all that’s in my little mind to share with all of you today. Enjoy the weather as much as you can. Get out and about, take off that bathrobe and jump, crawl, skip or dance back into life. I’ll be thinking about all of you, fondly, as we fight the good fight, together.