Alternative Integrative Therapies Part 6: Hemp Balm


Last Wednesday I was at the Infusion Center visiting with patients and I smelled a lovely fragrance coming from one of the women sitting in a treatment chair as I walked by. The fragrance was so nice I had to go back and ask what she was wearing. It turns out she was using a balm on her face made from hemp oil. I know about hemp oil but never heard of it used as a balm. I wanted to know more about it.

Do you see CBD on the label of the balm in the picture? CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which reduces the psychological effects of marijuana. In other words you won’t get “high.”  It has been known to help with pain, anxiety, and nausea, which are the main symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation! There is a synthetic form of marijuana called Marinol, which is widely prescribed by doctors, but I haven’t met anyone so far who says it works for them. it didn’t work for me either.

This patient uses it to control pain on parts of her face that had radiation. She has a tumor growing behind her eye socket and had ten treatments of radiation to kill it. Radiologists work hard to make sure that only the tumor gets radiated but, I know from experience that the effects “ripple” away from the target. The flesh surrounding the tumor, as well as internal organs are effected. When I got radiated, the beam was aimed at he left side of my butt, a couple inches down from my left hipbone. The frontal area (my pubic area) and both upper thighs turned grey from the treatment for months. It took almost two years to get healthy tissue from my pelvic exam. In other words a large portion of my lower torso, front and back got fried and the pain was the worst I ever felt.

I don’t know if a cream or balm would have helped me (I opted for opiates and marijuana edibles), but this woman said it works wonders for her. She buys it a local medical marijuana dispensary in Orange County, CA, but I found it online as well. The name of the company who makes it is Dixie Botanicals. The balm is called Salvation Balm. Since their products are made from hemp it can be shipped anywhere in the United States.

I am guessing this balm might help people with skin cancer too but I would ask an integrated/holistic healthcare practitioner to make sure. In fact, I would always ask for help from a medical practitioner before treating myself. There are too many things that could go wrong and when it comes to my health, I won’t take chances.

Be well!

I Am Beautiful Just the Way I Am


When is the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror? I don’t mean just to brush your hair or apply makeup. I mean really looking at your reflection; without makeup or even clothes? How long did you look? Did you say anything to your reflection? Was it positive or negative?  We (especially women) are taught from a young age that there is a certain standard for beauty and if we don’t live up to that, we are “less than.”

When I was in my teens I wanted to be a model. I looked at teen fashion magazines and tried to imitate what I saw. I spent all my allowance money on makeup and clothes.  The summer I turned sixteen, I measured six feet tall.  Maybe I could be a model,  but my mother was a drunk and me having a modeling career was the last thing on her mind. Most models start out in their teens and are made to look older (who knows why that is). All the supermodels I read about started out very young and I wanted to be them.

I lived in Miami, Florida when I was twenty and still had dreams of modeling someday (even though I would be considered old by modeling standards). I don’t remember how I found out about runway modeling for a local department store, but a few months later I was wearing wedding dresses at a bridal fashion show. I got the gig because of my height. There would be no need to alter any of the dresses I wore. After that was over, I decided I would pursue modeling as a career and find an agency to represent me. I took professional photos and brought them with me to my interviews. Actually Miami doesn’t have a lot of modeling agencies but I figured it was a good place to start. I think I went to three altogether and each one gave me the same response:

Lose 25 pounds (I weighed 135 at the time and remember I am six feet tall)

Get my nose fixed (there is a bump on the top of my nose leftover from a fall where I broke my nose as a teenager and it was never fixed. Remember my mother was a drunk and as long as it wasn’t her nose that was broken, it wasn’t her problem).

I couldn’t afford to fix my nose but I could go on a diet. At one point I weighed 118 pounds and could fit into a size 8 dress, which is the standard sample size sent out by fashion designers. I was still turned down for magazine work but I got another fashion show gig; this one was for the new Hertz-Rent-A car uniforms. I guess it was a big deal because there were men from all over the world attending. It looked like something from the United Nations because they were seated at tables wearing earphones that translated what was going on, into their native language. I made a whopping $250 for three hours work, which was a lot of money back in the late 70s.

Most of my days was spent going to “cattle calls” and sitting in waiting rooms with teenage girls competing for the same jobs as me. I worked in restaurants at night to pay my bills. The rest of my time, I thought about food. If I wanted to be a model, I had to be skinny and that meant no eating. I sure missed food though. I was hungry all the time and working in restaurants didn’t help.

Then I got married and had a baby. Not only did I gain weight, I had boobs for the first time in my life. I took a year off from looking for modeling work and when I lost the weight, I went back to the only agency that would work with me. I was told I now had another problem; my boobs were too big. Big boobs were not fashionable back then; it would be another five years before they were. I was disappointed to say the least, but by now I was used to being skinny and thinking about food all day. Then one day a friend took my picture wearing a two piece swimsuit.  When I looked at myself in the picture I was shocked! My collar-bone stuck out and I looked like a skeleton. I didn’t look healthy. Right then I decided to eat a sandwich and forget about modeling. I like to eat and if I wasn’t good enough to model weighing 135 pounds, then I quit.

But that didn’t mean I wasn’t critical about the way I looked. I now looked at fitness magazines and wanted to look like the women on the cover, so I joined a gym and lifted weights. I mean, I was pumping iron! Fifty pounds to be exact. Ok, so I wasn’t a female Arnold Schwarzenegger but I looked good, so I continued going to gyms most of my adult life, not only because I thought I looked good but I felt good.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with cancer. Most of 2011 was spent lying down because it hurt to sit on my butt which is where the tumors were.  I stopped going to the gym. I did do some yoga but not much. I was too tired and I didn’t feel good; cancer has a way of doing that. After three surgeries and a permanent colostomy bag, I have still not gone back to the gym but I do exercise and practice yoga.

Now when I look in the mirror, I see a whole new “me.” My nose still has that bump, along with an assortment of scars, wrinkles and bulges I never had before; I won’t get any modeling jobs anytime soon and you know… that’s ok. I decided I am perfect just the way I am. I always was! Ok, I will admit about a year ago, I was in an antique store and found some earrings I liked. I put them against my ears and looked in a magnifying mirror sitting on the counter. Big mistake! I didn’t see the earrings, only some old woman staring back at me. I almost passed out! That day I learned to never look at myself in one of those mirrors again, unless I am tweezing my eyebrows or that darned mustache that mysteriously grew out of nowhere three years ago.


We all come in different shapes and sizes and we are ALL beautiful just the way we are. If we are lucky enough to grow older our bodies will change. Guaranteed! It’s in the owners manual; even if your young and you lost your hair from chemo, or are missing some body parts, like a breast or two, who cares! You are a hot babe! The ones who say differently are the ones selling diet plans/pills, plastic surgeons, and the fashion industry. I decided a few years ago that I decide what I want to wear and what looks good on me, not Vogue; not Glamour; not Cosmopolitan or Shape magazine. There is no “age appropriate” hairstyle or clothes. If I like it, I wear it. I am beautiful just the way I am and so are YOU!

Be Happy!

Are You Getting Enough Rest?

How many hours a night (or day, if you work graveyard) do you get a restful sleep? Are you aware that lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of health problems, including weight gain? Exactly how does lack of sleep affect your weight? According to Web MD:

Think about it: If you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family — no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle, and eventually this sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health.

Weight gain isn’t the only health risk; how about diabetes, heart disease, headaches and depression?

I found this infographic that explains why a restful sleep is important… on a security website of all places.


I read that going to sleep with the television on is a bad idea too. I admit I am guilty of that one. If you have trouble going to sleep, how about meditating in an upright position (you can do it sitting in bed) for twenty minutes? Or read a book. I am against prescription sleep aids. If you need something for a short time, try Melatonin or St. John’s Wart. They are not addictive and you don’t need a prescription.

If your smartphone is next to you in bed, get rid of it. A recent study of 2,000 of elementary and middle school kids sleeping with their smartphones next to them showed; having a smartphone or tablet in the bedroom was associated with less weekday sleep and feeling sleepy in the daytime. If the kids aren’t sleeping, neither are you and I know a lot of you can’t go without checking your phone for long. Put it in a drawer.  Your health is more important than checking Face Book or Twitter every minute.

You need sleep to function the next day soooo… go to bed already!

Be well!