Can you believe it's been 8 months since my diagnosis and that first video I sent out about "What Joy and Cancer have in Common"?
Watch the video to hear the good news from my latest MRI, what I've learned over the past months and how were are going to radiate more JOY together!✨
Check out the gemstones I carried with me everyday into treatments..once a stone junky ALWAYS a stone junky. They are playing Bob Marley for me in honor of my son (it's his favorite artist) and to give me some Caribbean vibes.
This is Kerry "Sissy" my fierce protector and caregiver. She is my sister from another mister and lets me take over her family and the top floor of her home every time I'm in Virginia. I took her to one of my favorite restaurants for my last meal before I lost my taste buds...after the 6th packet of salt 😬... we knew they gone.
Some days were just... HARD.
Got to ring the radiation bell at the END of my 5 weeks🥳
Made it back to my sweetheart after 7 WEEKS, the only thing I could do besides lay in bed was take him to school every morning. During my time away we would FaceTime on his morning ride to school, so I wanted to keep up the ritual in person.❤️
3 months post radiation (just a week ago) with my nurses celebrating the "ALL CLEAR" MRI. These beauties are wearing their Joyia Jewels and came all the way to the satellite office to see me.
Scroll down to learn about the ways that I tried to mentally and physically cope with the side effects of radiation. Please share with anyone who you think could benefit from these tips.
Every thought, every prayer, every gift, every dollar donated to the go fund me page, EVERY moment that you sent your energy and love my way...made a monumental difference in my life, in my health and in my future. I am so GRATEFUL to everyone in this beautiful community for taking such great care of me.
And to repay your kindness, we have so many fun things coming up at Joyia Jewelry!
New gemstones in September
New collection launch in November,
The new collection is a culmination of this last year for me and will help us all radiate a "whole bunch of JOY" because that is what you did for me during some of my darkest moments.
I am forever grateful...be well my friends,
Tips and Tricks for Cancer and Radiation
By Joyia Jones
The following document was written after my own personal experience with head and neck cancer which required surgery and radiation. The following are tips that helped me during my treatment and if even one of these tips makes you feel more comfortable during your journey, I am grateful! I wish you happiness and wellness.
Chemotherapy and radiation often cause dry mouth which can be the start of a downward spiral to mouth soars. These soars can bring extreme pain and loss of eating. Many cancer patients may end up with a feeding tube
because of its debilitating effects. Below are ways that I found helpful in staying healthy and sane while battling the mental and physical side effects of radiation. Your doctor will suggest “magic mouth wash" and Xylamelts. My mouth was too dry for the Xylamelts to work but they may help you. Read on to find some tips for relief.
Water. Water is not water my friends, once the mouth soars start everything you consume starts to hurt and makes the soars worse. You will know immediately the minute you put anything in your mouth acidic (fruits, citrus, tomato sauce, pick a food). Alkaline water makes a huge difference and will keep you hydrated. I passed a Wegmans on the way to the hospital everyday, so I used the Wegmans brand of Alkaline water with electrolytes.
Coconut Oil. I put this in a spray bottle and use it to moisten my mouth before bed, a nap or socializing…it lasts longer than just drinking water.
Oil Pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene. It is often associated with Auyrveda, the traditional medicine system from India. Information I read suggested that oil pulling can kill bacteria in the mouth and improve dental health. While it’s not entirely clear how oil pulling works, it’s claimed to “pull” bacteria from the mouth. It may also help by moisturizing your gums and increasing saliva production, which can reduce bacteria. Start doing this as soon as you start your treatments to keep the bad stuff at bay.
How to Do “Oil Pulling” in 4 Simple Steps
- Measure one teaspoon of oil, such as coconut, sesame or olive oil. (the amount will vary for each individual) Ideally organic non processed oils.
- Swish it around in your mouth for 15–20 minutes, being careful not to swallow any.
- Spit the oil into a trash can once you’re done. Avoid spitting it into the sink or toilet, as this can cause a buildup of oil, which may lead to clogging. Rinse your mouth well using water before eating or drinking anything.
- Repeat these steps a few times per week or up to three times daily. You may also want to work your way up, starting with swishing for just 5 minutes and increasing the duration until you’re able to do it for a full 15–20 minutes. I did this in the morning and at night after I attempted to brush my teeth which is very difficult with a mouth full of soars. I would swish while I showered in the morning and at night while I did my nighttime face regimen. The oil pulling is wonderful at keeping THRUSH away. Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth, remember babies often get it or anyone who may have a weakened immune system…hello cancer treatment patients.
Manuka honey. All kinds of honey have been used as natural antibiotics throughout the centuries. Manuka honey takes this a step further by attacking germs with a substance called MGO. Found in the nectar of some Manuka plants, this substance helps heal both minor and chronic wounds. Because of this, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved bandages infused with Manuka honey for both over-the-counter and prescription sales. The more MGO there is in the honey, the more antiviral and antibacterial properties it has. I used Manuka honey all day to keep my mouth moist. You can buy it in a jar or in a box of individual packets. I carried the packets in my purse and would squeeze one in my mouth before I went into radiation to keep my mouth moist. Let the honey dissolve on your tongue and work its magic. It helped me produce saliva which keeps the soars away. I also put it in my herbal tea every morning. When the soars became debilitating, the honey burned, so I could only use it in my tea. I wished I had started using the honey multiple times a day when my mouth first started to dry out, I think it would have kept the soars
away longer. It comes in different versions, but the “16”, it is the most potent.
Chop Sticks. Once the mouth soars started to heal I would cut my food into very small pieces and use chop sticks to get the food into the back of the good side of my mouth. This created less pain when chewing.
Radiation Dermatitis and Burns.
Radiation dermatitis is a side effect of radiation that occurs on your skin and can vary in severity. Some people will experience mild redness and itchiness, while others may suffer painful, broken skin that is prone to infection.The effects of radiation dermatitis typically arise within a few days or weeks of starting radiotherapy, depending on the dose of radiation, and a person’s skin sensitivity.The symptoms only appear on the areas of skin that are exposed to the radiation. Do not wear any lotion or other products on your skin while in the radiation machine-it will create and make dermatitis worse. Directly after leaving the machine you can use oils, creams etc. Your doctor will suggest Aquaphor cream, this did not work for me. In the first weeks, my radiated neck was red and hot. I used a rollerball bottle of essential oils. I would roll it on after I got out of the machine and then throughout the day. I even made bottles for my friends in the waiting room… it works so well!
It’s simple- just use Lavender essential oil (5-10 drops), Frankincense essential oil (5-10 drops) and a carrier oil.
I use DoTerra Essential oils, any high grade oils will work along with a carrier oil such as virgin coconut oil. A carrier oil dilutes the essential oil so it is more tolerant on the skin.
Once my skin started to blister and itch, I used Silvadene cream. Ask your nurse for a prescription. This cream has silver in it which is antibacterial (fun jewelry fact). I slathered this cream on multiple times a day once the soars were really bad to help them heal and to keep Staph infection away. Many radiation patients get Staph infection at the sites of blistered or broken skin, this can take weeks to months to heal, Silvadene cream helps prevent Staph infection.
Scar tissue and Oncology Massage. I had scar tissue in my neck after surgery and the radiation created more scar tissue build up and tightness, internally. The range of motion in my neck diminished as well. I treated
myself to Oncology massage once a week to help break down the scar tissue and improve my range of motion. My masseuse, Jane Neldon, was a miracle worker, she even massaged my raw dermatitis skin without it hurting me. She says the key is that you don’t need pressure to penetrate multiple cellular layers of the body. I continue to self massage and stretch my neck post treatment.
~If you live in Charlottesville, Virginia you can find Jane and her services here.
IV Vitamins. I started vitamin C IV’s the week after I finished radiation. I would have started sooner if I had known about them. There are all sorts of IV cocktails. I started with vitamin C to try to boost my immune system
and get some energy back. Then I moved on to a detox cocktail. They will do bloodwork and tell you what IV’s to use and when, they are very knowledgable and I just followed their protocol until I had to fly back home.
~If you live in Charlottesville, Virginia you can find Be Vital Health Center and their services here.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
My acupuncturist, Alison Downey lived in Bali for many years and says that cancer patients often have an IV for chemo in one arm and an IV for Chinese herbs in the other. We worked together weekly to help rid my body of the toxins that are created by radiation. She tailored my acupuncture points to my weekly needs and is just an all around uplifting human. Her mother also suffered from cancer and touts that acupuncture helped save her life and is the reason Alison in now a practicing acupuncturist. There are many Chinese herbs available, here are the 3 that I took.
Chemo/Rad Support by Dr. Kang Secret Formulas-this was to help remove toxins.
San Huang Xie Xin Tang by KPC Herbs-this was to help remove heat caused by radiation.
Pure Brown Seaweed Extract by Modifilan-used to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and has anti tumor properties
~If you live in Charlottesville, Virginia you can find Alison and her services here.
Reiki and Zero Balancing
Every day I was blessed to go to my friend, Roxanne’s house for what we ended up calling “energy naps”. She was my soft place to fall, every day, and while she worked her magic on the massage table, I would sleep, cause fighting cancer is exhausting. She is certified in both modalities and you can look for someone in your area who is too.
Reiki~ is a type of energy healing. According to practitioners, energy can stagnate in the body where there has been physical injury or even emotional pain. In time, these energy blocks can cause illness. Energy medicine aims to help the flow of energy and remove blocks in a similar way to acupuncture or acupressure. Reiki practitioners believe that improving the flow of energy around the body can enable relaxation, relieve pain, speed healing, and reduce other symptoms of illness.
Zero Balancing~ is a unique form of bodywork that recognizes the relationship of body structure and body energy. It is a body-mind therapy that uses skilled touch to address the relationships between the structure and energy within the body. It involves the use of finger pressure and gentle traction on the bones and joints to create a point of balance, or a fulcrum, around which the body can relax and reorganize itself allowing the receiver to let go of held tension and pain and experience a new level of integration.
Stones and crystals. Now stones and crystals are my thing because I am a jeweler, I could write pages on the topic but that is too much so I will just share the stones that I used specifically and why. Stones carry healing energy for all types of matters. The most important thing for you to know when buying stones is to trust your gut, the stone you are drawn to is always the one you need. I carried a strand of Mala beads into every radiation session. With my eyes closed and head strapped into the radiation machine, I would say positive affirmations as I touched each stone with my fingers. It kept me positive, calm and occupied so my mind
would not go down the dark and twisty path. My wonderful radiation techs would play spa music while I was in the machine too, with the occasional Bob Marley and Credence Clearwater on the days I was feeling spunky or needed a boost.
I used a lot of stones and crystals but here were my 3 go to’s: Amethyst- spiritual calmness, protection and wisdom. It was used in ancient times to remove toxins from the body.
White Howlite- is a calming stone that helps reduce stress and anger. It also absorbs negative energy
Citrine- aids in healing the body physically and mentally. Gives energy, lightens your mood, and is basically like having a ray of sunshine in your pocket.
You can purchase gemstone charms on our website https:// joyiajewelry.com and a million other places online. You may even have a local gem shop in your area which is always fun!
Your mental state. This is very important and quite frankly a roller coaster when you have cancer. I got myself a very good therapist and I hope you do too. She gave me breathing techniques for pain, let me cry and made me laugh. I continue to work with her every month via phone.
Making friends/Your support network “Team”. This is cancer people, a support network is key but beyond that I try to make friends everywhere I go because it brings me joy. You will see the same doctors, nurses, techs, receptionists, and patients in the waiting room. These people are a wealth of knowledge because most of them are ahead of you in the process and you can be of help to those just starting out once you get the hang of it. I created a team of professionals and friends who helped me make it daily from one appointment to the next. It used and am continuing a mix of western medicine (surgery, radiation, vitamin IV’s) and eastern medicine (Reiki, Zero balancing, Acupuncture, massage, hyperbaric chamber, crystals, nutrition, and therapy) to help me through the rollercoaster that is cancer. I hope you find a balance that works for you.
Be well and cheers to kicking cancer’s ass!