Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

15 Apr 2019

My Chemo Recovery Space

Creating a haven for recovery has been an absolute life saver during these weeks of chemotherapy so I've found an ok day to quickly photograph and talk about how I've tailor made this space. 

My third chemo treatment is out of the way and I'm just about to have the fourth. This last one seemed to take longer to bounce back from, if you could call it that, I wouldn't say that I feel back to normal, far from it, but to not feel absolutely terrible is a good day on chemo. I'm gritting my teeth for this fourth one as so far, the side effects seem to get more intense each time and more severe in some respects, plus there's some new ones like the twitching eyes, the sore throat that won't go away, it's the gift that keeps on giving. I'm struggling a lot of the time to keep sight of the end and just praying that it's a good result after an operation, four more chemo sessions, radiotherapy and then another operation. I can only say that there are plenty of people far far worse off than myself, but even so, you can't help but to cave in on some days with the sheer exhaustion of the treatment. 

So here's the things that are getting me through .....

I've had many bedding sets from Soak and Sleep before, some gifted any many purchased over the years, so when they offered to send me a fresh new set of French Linen I was absolutely delighted. Spending a lot of time in bed one needs to keep changing for fresh sets, if nothing else, it makes you feel so much better to slide into cool clean sheets. I've been a fan of pure linen bedding for some time now, it really was a winner when I was going through the menopause and again now when one's temperature is all over the place. We shouldn't skimp on beds and bedding, we spend so much of our lives here and when we are ill or have sleep problems, its more important than ever. Pure Linen has to be tried, there's something about the weight of it and the soft texture which is warm and cool all at the same time. It looks good crumpled but surprisingly needs no ironing when washed (I've found it needs less work than cotton) it dries with a smooth appearance, and if there are some creases it adds to the look.  I chose the light grey colour but they have a good selection of lovely muted shades including a really nice pink and green which are quite rare to find in linen bedding, plus their prices are the lowest I've seen and they often have a discount running.

The fact that I'm not in hospital should be celebrated and anything that reinforces that and adds to a boudoir feel in my recovery room, with my antique French bed and other items of indulgence, all contribute to a better state of mind. This is a time to really indulge in whatever makes you happy in your surroundings and you are going to be staring at these four walls for many months to come. 

So other than gorgeous duvet cover, fitted sheet and pillow cases of pure french linen, what else am I doing. Well I've got a few other great tips to help you through the long days. Soak and Sleep also do these lovely satin sleep masks, so because sleep will probably be all over the place, there may be times when shutting out the light for a few hours during the day will help you doze off while listening to an audio book. Also a good gift if you know someone on chemo. I always bring nature into my home and more now into my bedroom, snippings from the garden and flowers from friends make the room again adds to the less sterile atmosphere, my lovely orchid was a gift from a friend which she sent through Marks and Spencer online delivery.

Lovely magazines, books and hobbies will also be great stimulants for the foggy brain, magazines with great styling and making ideas, beautifully curated books of images that will give you ideas to carry through to your own home and maybe inspire your art. My eyes are a bit dodgy so photos rather than words are ideal. For me knitting patterns and naturally, knitting projects are hugely important. I've managed two jumpers since I started chemo and I can't wait to start on the third.

If you are interested in the knitting patterns that I'm currently crushing on, it's Rowan yarn (felted tweed) with the patterns designed by Arne and Carlos. I've taken inspiration from two of their patterns so far, put my own changes to them, and although one has mistakes regarding the sizing, I can live with that, it was more about the making than anything.  I've also ordered the Rowan yarn knitting book influenced by the Bloomsbury set and again using my favourite yarn, the felted tweed, it's soft and comes in stunning colours, great for fairisle and two colour work. 

My oil paintings are all still works in progress, there's an unfinished one hanging in these photos, and I'm not sure I will do any more to it (because I kinda like where I stopped) but maybe just need to add a little detail into the flowers. As I like to paint still life, interiors mostly, I find that interior books and magazines can be really influencing in their colour palettes and textures, I also paint from my own photos so you may find the original photo of that painting on instagram.  Recently I found both Jean D'Arc Living magazine and The Country Brocante book both visual feasts for my mind, there are links to these on my instagram feed. The magazine has a tutorial for mini bird cages for Easter which are super cute and the Book by Lucy Haywood features many of my friends homes, many similar in age and style to my own. I found this old house quite a challenge to style because of it's manly beams and I practically had to ditch all my old furniture for a different palette (I shall be doing a big yard sale sometime and will let you know). The homes in this book belong to fellow instagram friends and they have hugely influenced what I've done here.

Finally I want to mention a few discoveries about self care. My skin is taking a right bashing. I have red dry patches on my face which normal moisturisers weren't really helping. I've also lost a fair bit of body hair now and my skin has gone incredibly soft and sensitive. My lovely friend Ali (she of all things Eco Sustainability - Incredibusy is her handle) is a real expert in finding environmentally friendly but also 'good for you' stuff. So she kindling put me in touch with Earth Conscious who make natural deodorant and also a great Baby Balm. They should change the name to Miracle Balm, or Brilliant Balm ... because this isn't just for Babies, it's a great all rounder (really brings tattoos out nicely) and I've been using it on my red dry flaky skin, which it has practically eradicated. It was soothing to apply and has worked on several areas of my body, including my face. They have a good selection of natural deodorants too and I'm working my way through these which are really kind and gentle to the skin but also the stick deodorant has a cardboard container so there's no nasty plastics on their products either. 

As you may have noticed I've brought a few things up to my room for days when it's hard to move. I've put a kettle next to my bed so I can make herbal teas at any time of the day or night. Flowers and plants make me feel spoilt, some from the garden and some sent by friends. There's also a tv which has been my constant companion and distraction, I think I may have watched everything on Netflix, but I do love a good binge watch on tv series and films, and yes, Games of Thrones is back which should be something to look forward to every week and I will also probably work my way through the whole back catalogue again.  

Heres some links if you want to get hold of any of the things I've mentioned;

Soak and Sleep Pure French Linen bedding https://www.soakandsleep.com/luxury-linen-bed-linen.html

Earth Conscious www.earthconscious.co.uk for uk based natural deodorant and baby balm

Jean D'Arc Living Magazine from Betty and Violet www.bettyandviolet.com

Country Brocant Style Book from www.thecountrybrocante.co.uk

New Nordic Knitting patterns by Arne and Carlos at https://knitrowan.com/en/publications/rowan-brochures/new-nordic

While some of these products are gifted, please be assured that I only recommend things that I genuinely rate and approve. Trust me, bloggers get sent some right old crap at times (there's a whole blog post brewing there sometime about the cons we get offered for virtually no reward, I can't imagine who would be desperate enough to sell their soul like that), but I promise I won't be featuring anything here that I wouldn't buy for myself and never review anything that I haven't thoroughly tried.  
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