Fiona Hughes is a very practical Practice Manager at my local GPs. If you have cracked feet or hands, one of her tips is to get a bottle of baby oil, tip a couple of capfuls out and fill with Lavender Oil (the best quality one). Shake – then get a bowl of warm water, tip a good splodge into the water, and sit with your feet in this for 20 minutes. As she says, lavender will heal, is antiseptic and stops infection, the oil will continue the healing, and it smells lovely!
Another of her tips is to eat Manuka Honey (Rowse make a very pure one) – or you can do as they do in New Zealand and spread it on broken skin. Ask advice first, but it is one of nature’s healers.
FEET ARE SO IMPORTANT – and whilst undergoing treatment, you may find your feet get horrid thick skin, and even what are described as ‘horse nails’ (very thick, calloused nails on your toes). These come as yet another side effect from drugs.
So you need to have a podiatrist to sort these out – but the NHS tends to have massive waiting lists for them, so you may be better off going privately to somewhere like Shuropody. They have around 60 salons around the UK, from Aberdeen to Plymouth, so there is bound to be one near by.
Cassie Armstrong from their Coventry branch took me under her wing, and knew all about the problems drugs cause us. Starting with a lovely foot bath, dead skin was exfoliated off, and we got down to gentle TLC. Rubbing in special cream, then getting rid of corns that had developed because of the way I was walking after being in bed, she said I should use special cream on my feet after a bath or shower, and before getting in to bed – even better if you wear bed socks to lock in moisture ! She explained that if we get ‘horse nails’, they can even do something about this.
Cassie knows how the NHS works, and is in touch with a nurse treating lymphoedema. We talked about ‘post code’ lottery, as near where she works there are two PCTs – one providing lymphoedema treatment, the other says patients CAN’T obtain this on the NHS. If your PCT says the same, look up under Lymphoedema elsewhere in this website, for details of how to sort them out!
If you have cracked, painful skin on your feet, Shuropody have a special Intensive Repair Cream, and gadgets to get rid of ‘build-up’ of skin, corns etc. The salons offer reflexology too, so you can really have a pampering session, before floating out into the world! And a lovely tip for summer – blast hot feet with the cold air setting on your hairdryer!
www.shuropody.com 02476-545 545.
Once you have gorgeous feet – keep them that way! After any bath or shower, pat feedt dry and rub in cream. Clinique have a Water Treatment cream which is wonderful and my NHS podiatrist wanted to know what I used! She was also impressed with the lovely citrus-smelling Foot Balm made by Barefoot Botanicals.
But I have found that Flexitol (on NHS prescription) is also very good, and as most people can get this free on prescription in England and Wales, worth asking for. For some reason it is only included on one NHS approval list, but just tell doctors to keep looking: they’ll find it eventually.
Cold feet were a real problem, until Charnos came up with Cotton Modal Tights – modal being a lovely, soft fibre made out of reconstituted cellulose from beech trees (so that’s eco-friendly then!), and 50% more absorbent than cotton. They have lovely opaque tights in different colours, and – something I would never dare wear ordinarily – ribbed tights. With swollen ankles etc. I try to keep them hidden, but a friend persuaded me to wear a pair of these, and because they are made of a modal mixture, they aren’t as bulky as wool, but are just as warm.
And if you find it almost painful to walk,or if your feet are cold, or if you just feel like walking on air (and who doesn’t?!) Then I have been trying out Carnation’s Cushion Comfort Insoles (good name). Not only do they make walking supremely comfortable, but cutting them to size is incredibly easy – you just use a pair of scissors and follow guidelines for each foot size printed on the soles. If your feet are in a really bad state after chemo, then use the Pressure Relief Insoles – which not only cushion your feet – but have an anti-fungal protection with a lovely smell.
Spa Paradisa (see under Hands) also make a treatment and sell socks to go with this. Sit on the bed (don’t try to walk in creamed feet!, slather it on, and put the socks on top. Next morning you should be able to feel a difference. www.spaparadisa.com
Pampering – you deserve it
One of life’s lovely treats is to go to Fortnum and Mason and have manicures and pedicures given by Sophy Robson. Beauty Editors go to here when they need ‘special feet’, and now she gives a gorgeous Medi-Pedi treatment for hands and feet. It takes an hour; all dry skin is removed, nails shaped and repaired, Legs and feet exfoliated using a warm sugar scrub then soaked. Then comes a delicious soothing and relaxing massage, and after that the nails are painted.
Sophy doesn’t mind if you bring your own base coat (I took NailTek) but usually uses Sally Hanson products. I am typing this up after one of her treatments, and three days later there isn’t a chip to be seen; I keep on having to stop and admire my nails. You can book her on the new health and wellness website www.wahanda.com.