Pamper Yourself

Pamper Yourself

This holiday/birthday weekend was a true joy for me.  We went away for a few days in the hopes of cross-country skiing but alas, there was not enough snow on the ground.  However, when we checked into the hotel and I inquired about a refund on the ski tickets, the lady behind the counter quickly produced a spa brochure (I’m sure she’d already done this many times already due to the lack of snow).  Although this gesture was meant as a way for the hotel to keep its money, for me, it was something totally different.  I had just learned that my latest bloodwork shows that I’m responding well to chemo (my CA125 is currently below 30 which is considered “normal” for most women).  The idea of a spa treatment meant that maybe, for a little while, I could forget that I am a cancer patient.  And this totally intrigued me.

As I poured over the brochure looking for something that wouldn’t be too invasive (I don’t care for deep tissue massage) or make my skin sensitive (I had the full “Taxol glow” after my latest chemo treatment), I found a Hot Stone Body Treatment and a Foot Soaker with Reflexology.  My sweetie called the front desk to inquire where the spa was located and I quickly made my way to speak with the staff in person.  Looking at me, it’s easy to see that I have cancer due to the scarf on my head.  I believe in total disclosure so I explained where I was in treatment and if they do any treatments on cancer patients.  I was informed that they do but some treatments are not recommended due to some can spur tumor growth.  I asked if the hot body stone treatment fell into this and I was assured that the massage therapist would research it and let me know.  I made my appointments for the next day and practically skipped back to the room in anticipation of receiving some pampering in the very-near-future.

The next morning, I showed up a few minutes early, filled out the health form, and chatted at length with the lead massage therapist.  She told me that she is not an oncology massage therapist but has worked quite a bit with hospice patients and stage 4 cancer patients.  I told her about my treatments, my ports, my CA125,  that I have no neuropathy or nausea, etc.  I laid it all out there and let her know that if she wasn’t comfortable doing the treatment, we could find another treatment that she was more comfortable with.   Interestingly enough, the conversation went the other way –  I learned from her research that hot stones can actually help some cancer patients spur the white blood cell count which is very beneficial (of course, this is not a guarantee).  After our chat, she felt comfortable doing the hot stone body treatment with a few alterations.  Due to my ports and multiple incisions, we agreed to focus on arms, legs, shoulders, and back.  In addition, she took the temperature down a bit on the stones.

I had the foot soaker treatment – a wonderful 30-minute treatment of warm water, aroma therapy, hot stones, massage, and Reflexology followed by an hour-long hot stone body treatment.  The long strokes of super-gentle massage on me was very therapeutic.  I can honestly say that I forgot about my chemo, my cancer, and my ports for a while and that was the best gift I could have given myself.  I highly recommend it – be open and honest about your health history and get pampered.  It’s SOOOOOO worth it.

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