Post breast cancer deodorant dilemma

This page contains links (affiliate links).  If you want to know more about it, please click here.  These links are for US based folks.

This once is difficult for everyone, isn’t it?  Deciding on what deodorant to use during treatment, after treatment, for all time – which one is safe?

We’ve all heard the stories, haven’t we?  Wondered if they’re true.  Does aluminum in deodorant have the potential to cause or contribute to breast cancer?  Some stories are scary, and when you read them you wonder why on earth would anyone ever use THAT product?

Then you look at people you know, that use those products every single day, and nary a worry in the world.

I used to do it sometimes.  Super hot day out, when I knew I would probably sweat a lot, I’d use my husband’s aluminum-laden man deodorant so I wouldn’t be a giant stinky mess.  Most of the time I was fine with my fairly sensible, all natural products, which occasionally would allow a sweat break-through, but overall worked pretty good.

Then, I finished chemo…and maybe it was during the radiation phase, while the chemo was still (I guess) working its way out of my system, when I noticed that ewe, gross, I was sweaty with an odorous scent.  I decided to consult the expert.  “Dr. Google, please tell me what could possibly work!”

I looked for natural deodorants.  I looked for lots of stars.  I read the reviews.  I found a local store that sold it.  I figured, here goes anything let’s see what happens.  I bought it, tried it out for a couple weeks, and…it worked!  I was very impressed.  It was much cheaper than most of the natural deodorants I had been using, and it really worked.

Sure, I may sweat a little when I’m really working out, but hey, sweating while exercising is a good thing.  Not stinking is even better, and this keeps the stink away.  And the rest of the time?  I don’t get any break through sweating, so I’m a huge fan.

Aluminum free deodorant which actually works:

Arm & Hammer Natural (affiliate link)


One other thing about this, the rosemary and lavender is the scent that I have right now. I don’t notice any discernible scent to it, it is just kindof, fresh smelling if you will.  So, you shouldn’t have any concerns about walking around smelling like garden…or Sunday dinner.  🙂

Hair products

I created a page to link all the hair products I used when my hair was growing out.

As I was creating it, I surprised myself with remembering how much effort I had to put into my locks those days.  Not like I was living in the ’80s type of effort, but for what I was used to before, it was quite a bit.

Now, I’m back to my pre-chemo routine, where I wash, condition, comb and go.  That’s it. But I’m glad to finally go back and consolidate all I did in one link.

Check it out here!


Jan 24, 2020

January 24th would not be complete without an annual anniversary photo.  Here I am, exactly three years after my last chemo treatment.  How perfect was it that right after I took this selfie, I got in the car, and heard these wonderful lyrics from Incubus,

“Whatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes
Whatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there, I’ll be there”
Yes, yes.  I will be there.


And a look back at the past year’s anniversary photos….


Happy anniversary to me!


Wrangles & Tangles

As a kid, I remember sitting, wincing in pain as my mom tried to rip the hair straight out of my scalp. “OW!!! STOP! THAT HURTS!”  Every.  Single. Day.  She said she was brushing the tangles out of my hair.  Brushing tangles, medieval torture, let’s not debate the semantics.  It was life as I knew it.

As an adult, I’ve sat and watched my sister-in-law work out the ‘wrangles’ on both her daughters.  They never complain as loudly as I used to, but the wince is there.  I can see it.

I always figured those wrangles and tangles came from doing what kids do, playing hard, having fun, not really worrying about life.

Now, here I am, 2 1/2 years after my hair started growing back, it’s gotten fairly long again, and I’m plagued by the Wrangle-Tangle Monster!  And I have no fun what-so-ever to blame it on.  I sit at my desk at work, and the wrangle-tangles just happen.  It doesn’t matter what type of shirt I wear, hoodie, not hoodie, collar, not collar, cotton, poly-blend, they happen every single day.

I got home the other day, and went to brush the underside of my hair, “OW” I hollered to no one in particular.  That hurt.  Stupid wrangle-tangles.  I again wondered what causes them.  I did not have to deal with them at all my entire adult life, and even though I can’t really recall, I do feel like the teenage years were also wrangle-tangle free.

Does hair need to get to a certain age for the wrangle-tangles to be worked out?  Perhaps it’s age, not length, that does it?  Did chemo take away some sort of protective barrier that my hair had produced to save me from scalp-ripping pain at every brushing event?  If that is the case, how long will it take for that protective barrier to come back and rid me of the Wrangle-Tangle Monster?

Check back in a couple years, I’ll let you know if I have the answer.  😉


Is clumsy a post-chemo/cancer thing?

Cause seriously?  Post chemo, I’ve fallen down the steps twice.  Twice.  Read that again.  Twice.

Went through 43 years of life without ever falling down the stairs.  But come year 44/45.  Twice.  Maybe it’s aging?  No.  I really don’t think so.  I’ve known lots of people who have aged.  They can still navigate steps.

First time, well, both times actually, it was stupid.  Dumb little mis-step.

First time, I was walking down the carpeted steps to the basement.  Guess I placed my foot, as I was stepping down, too far past the edge of the step.  My foot goes out from under me, my bottom hits hard on the step, I proceed to thump my way into the basement, howling, and terrifying my husband as he is trying to peacefully play a game of pool.  That butt-cheek bruise lasted for weeks.

Second time?  This one takes the cake.  You all have read about my inability to get back into a good exercise routine right?  Well, once again, trying to get myself back into shape.  I worked myself out good.  Lots of squats, some kettlebell exercises, great workout.  My thighs were burning, I felt awesome!!  Was a bit stiff the next day though.  Went upstairs to make sure the boy was in the shower.  The legs were a bit gimpy as I came back down the stairs.  Stiff and sore.  Once again, I guess, I placed my foot too far past the edge of the step.  I thumped again on that same butt-cheek, this time on the wooden stairs.  The ones that curved around.  Ug, that curve.  It somehow managed to shift my momentum forward as I rounded it, propelling me from butt-cheek, to sideways, to head-first – left cheek, left arm, both arms forward into the most graceless of lack-of-water dives down to the main level of the house.  If anyone would have seen me, I would have been quite the site.  My thumping down the wooden staircase brought Mike running in from the kitchen, Nick running down from the shower (leaving puddles of water everywhere), both asking me if I was all right.  So mad at myself, and knowing they were worried, and needing me to make noise as I laid there angry at my clumsiness, self-assessing my damage, I yelled, ARRRR I’m fine!!!  Super mad though that I had once again, fallen victim to the stupid stairs.

After determining that I was fine, they both laughed a bit at me.  As they should.  I was glad for their concern, and glad they could amuse themselves at my benefit once they made sure I wasn’t hurt.

Later, Mike said, “That sounded like you were falling down the stairs in slow-motion!”  I looked at him, “That is exactly what happened!!”

I hope I have learned my lesson.  Every time I walk down the steps now, I do it with caution, I think about what I am doing.  Every once in a while, I think back to when I used to bound quickly and noisily down the steps (sorry, Mom) and marvel at the fact that I could do that with no incident.

Yep, the chemo/cancer caused the clumsy.  The recovery made me wise and careful.

Navigate the stairs with caution my friends.  Especially my clumsy ones!  😉

I will soar on wings like eagles

Tonight, I used the very last bit of my lavender hand & body lotion that was given to me as a gift.

It had been given in a care basket from a friend of mine, very shortly after learning I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a care basket full of pampering.  Lotion, tea, coconut water, trail mix, a lovely container of pirouline.  A care basket full of thoughtful offerings.

I thanked my friend for this basket, but I don’t think I ever fully thanked her for what she put into it.  A wonderful variety of offerings that I enjoyed, and with each bag of tea felt peace, and strength from her prayers.  With each serving of trail mix, I appreciated the  bits of nourishment that helped my body through its trials.


There was also a heartfelt note, and a bit of scripture.


I love this bit of scripture.  I love every bit of it.


2 Years!

Happy to say I made it to another anniversary.  Today marks the two-year anniversary of my last chemo treatment.  Just typing that feels weird.  As with last year, I remember it like yesterday, and yet it seems so very long ago.  So much has happened since then.

My scars are just scars now.  My tattoos just small blips on my self-canvas.  Decorations on my warrior self.  Proof of my victory.  Tacit reminders of my past.

My appointments have been few and far between, which is so very different than two years ago.  I don’t think a week went by where I didn’t have at least one appointment.  I was so happy, last week, when my reminder popped up about a six month check up with my oncologist’s office.  I thought I had graduated to the yearly check-ups, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a six month.  I like getting checked out.  I want that reassurance that I’m still OK.  In the event that life goes sideways, I want the doctors to be on the case sooner, rather than later.

Putting on the gown, is now an every once in a while activity, rather than a weekly activity.  My boobs are mostly back to non-public items.

I no longer get regular updates on my blood counts.  Having that taken away from me, was like a junkie having their fix taken away.  It was something that I could analyze, and understand.  Where did the WBC fall?  Higher or lower than last week?  Liver function, kidney function, so much data.  The reason for the checks, the concern, the constant monitoring, of course was not bred from a happy place.  The poison, the healing poison, could have dire consequences, so it was necessary to keep in front of it.  Prevent something bad from happening before it happened.  Regardless of why the data was collected, it doesn’t change the routine of checking.  The checking gives you a means to know that all is OK.  Like running a diagnostic check on your car or computer and getting back results that all is good.  Sigh of relief.

I have connected with so many not just in the breast cancer community, but in the cancer community as a whole.  I never knew what a comfort it would be to share stories, hear stories, and connect with others who have had similar experiences.  I have given and been offered support in so many ways that I didn’t know were out there a year ago.

This last year has had some ups, and definitely some downs.

I’m different.  I don’t stress as much as I used to.  I don’t push myself too hard.  If I’m tired, drained, fatigued, I rest.  I don’t worry about what isn’t getting done.  I know that health and well-being has to come first.  If I feel energetic, I make the most of it.  I listen to my body, and respond accordingly.  Everything is still managing to carry on.  I am not missing out on anything.

I haven’t turned into one of those adventure seekers, who must accomplish everything on a list I have yet to write.  Instead, I focus on what is important to me.  Family.  Friends.  Enjoying life.  Even if that means not doing something to prove I’m enjoying life.  That sounds like it could be stressful.  Less stress, more living.

Another year in the books!

^^^^^last year’s post!^^^^^