A few weeks ago, Sylla and I went to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. Together, we spoke at a Lunch and Learn event for stage 4 breast cancer patients. It began with each of the women (and one husband who was accompanying his wife) sharing where they were at in their treatment. We learned why some of them were excited about NED (No Evidence of Disease). We also felt touched that we could be there to support those going through harder times.
This event was particularly special for us because Sylla (my mom) is a breast cancer survivor. During the lunch, she talked about how cancer was a great, uninvited teacher for her. She said that, “It wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to make her change her life.” Though she’s now 20 years with NED, she still carries those lessons forward.
Even before she found her cancer in 1997, Sylla helped her friend who also worked at Moffitt with a program called “Look Good, Feel Better.” With a mutual background in cosmetology, Sylla and her friend taught these women skin-care and makeup techniques. This program was intended to make patients begin to feel better as they reintegrated into everyday life.
“Smell Good, Feel Better”
So we thought, why not call our talk this week “Smell Good, Feel Better,” since that is one of the guiding principles of aromatherapy. In addition to sharing a basic introduction to essential oils, we highlighted what they can do in their own lives.
- Use essential oils in the air to help keep air clean and support the immune system. Since many cancer patients’ immune systems are compromised, and since most essential oils carry at least mildly if not more so antimicrobial properties, this simple practice can help suppress the chance of getting a cold.
- Use Peppermint or Ginger essential oil in an inhaler or on a drop on a tissue to ease the discomfort of nausea.
- Topical blends with anti-inflammatory or analgesic oils can help with muscle aches and pains.
- Use the oils to help create a positive mental attitude. You can pair a scent with a relaxed state and then recreate that state as needed.
We mentioned in our student forum that we were going to speak at this event. As a result, a few of our students decided to send us items to share with these women. Only one box got here in time, but we were still able to leave them with donations from Terrae Oleum. It was a joyful experience to share our love of essential oils with these women and their caregivers. The other donations will be used at a bigger event next month!
Since our students wanted to help by providing more donations, we’ve decided to continue collecting donations for their retreat in September. We’re calling this project “Smell Good, Feel Better.” If you’d like to donate manufactured, compliantly-labeled items (these cannot be homemade), contact us.