This is not the space where I generally write about these things, so if you want to just move on, I completely understand. Come back later for even more book reviews!
I have skin cancer. It's a bit of an on-going saga, but with the latest rounds I have been trying hard to use natural solutions to kill the cancer, because I just can't have 10 surgeries on my face. That is unacceptable.
As I've done all my research on ways to cure skin cancer, I kept coming across using essential oils including Frankincense and Myrrh. Although there are other options (including coconut oil and baking soda, and iodine), the essential oil route is the one I chose.
After deciding, I found myself becoming slightly frustrated because I could not find any information online of what to expect as I use these oils. I did find testimonials, but all of them said things like "I made my elderly mother use this. It's a miracle." With no further information. Because I want the information so much, I decided to write down my experience, and maybe it will help someone looking for the same thing.
Before I started using the oils, I had a large scabby spot on my forehead close to my hairline. This is the main spot I was concerned about. It would scab up, then the scab would slough off, and then it would reform. And it was getting worse.
The biopsy came back that it was basal cell carcinoma, the non-fatal form of skin cancer.
When I consulted with the surgeon who will perform the surgery, she began examining the rest of my face. As she looked, she started drawing circles, then she handed me a mirror. She had 10 circles on my face around different spots. All are a variety of sizes, what they have in common is that they are red patches. Some could be described as scaly, but that doesn't apply universally. Half are sites I have previously had treated for cancer and had been told they were clear. As I explained that, the surgeon said that none of the treatments I have had will work, the only treatment is surgery.
Lovely comment, but I don't want to have surgery on my face 10 times.
Allow me to emphasize that. I will not have surgery on my face 10 times.
And so the exploration began, after they sent me home like this:
I started my research with essential oils. I've been using essential oils for the past year or so, and have really liked the impact that they have. I knew that Frankincense has been studied as a cancer-killer and had read the good skin properties of other oils like sandalwood and lavender.
I started on this website, dedicated to essential oils. And indeed, the main recommendation is Frankincense.
Then a friend posted this article, and I read about Myrrh.
With that information under my belt, I set up a plan. I would use frankincense and myrrh on each spot on my face, once in the morning and once at night. I also decided to get empty veggie capsules and take a pill with three drops of frankincense in it twice a day.
Starting the Process
I began using the frankincense and myrrh on November 11, 2014. In the morning, I apply the oils after I finish my shower and get dressed. I get dressed first because I don't want to smear them on my clothes. But I make sure that my face is clean and I don't put any moisturizer on it before the oils.
I drop about three drops of frankincense into the palm of my left hand and use my right index finger to rub a dab on each spot. Because I have so many spots, it usually takes 4-5 drops of frankincense to get them covered. Then I drop 3-4 drops of myrrh into the palm of my left hand and repeat the process. This is called "layering" in the essential oil world, and according to my research is the better approach to this than "blending" or putting both oils together in a jar or the palm of your hand and then applying them.
You'll notice that I am putting the oils on directly without any carrier oil. This makes them undiluted and more effective. After I finish putting the oils on my face, I do something else for a moment -- brush my teeth or put on deodorant -- and then I moisturize my face. I am using organic grapeseed oil as a moisturizer, and again I just dab my fingers in a wipe it on. I go and eat my breakfast to give all this a minute to soak in and after breakfast, I blot any excess off of my face with a washcloth. (Side note: the oils can stain cloth, so my washcloths and pillowcases are a wreck. I am just using old ones and not worrying about it).
I have almost the same process in the evening. I wash my face. Then I have my vitamin C routine: I use a powdered vitamin C because it's good for your skin. I mix 1/4 teaspoon of powdered vitamin C with about the same amount of water. I like a slightly thick paste. Then I use a cottonball to apply it to my face. I wait 3-5 minutes and then wash it off with warm water. After I dry my face, I apply the essential oils and the grapeseed oil. You can use other oils as a moisturizer, including olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or avocado oil. They all have different qualities, so it's about picking what you like, but the good news is they are all non-comedogenic, meaning they don't clog your pores and cause acne.
As I said, I started using the frankincense and myrrh on November 11. Two days later, all of my spots had flared bright red. The best way to describe them is angry.
And I pressed on.
At the end of the week, most of the spots had started forming crusty skin that then sloughed off really easily, usually as I was applying more oils. The point of this post is details, so even though I think it's gross, I will attempt to describe this more.
You know how your skin usually peels when you have a sunburn? It's soft and when it gets wet it forms back into the rest of your skin as a mushy lump? That is not what is happening here. These patches of skin are hardening and drying out. They are solid, like scabs, and really crusty is the best adjective for them. When they get wet, these crusty bits of skin don't change. They just hang out as their own crusty selves.
Generally as these are still part of my skin, they are just white-ish, slightly whiter than my regular skin. And they stand out from the red patch that they are part of. As I said they come off very easy, usually just by brushing over them and without causing me pain. When they are off, they look like scabs, slightly yellowish and almost like you can see the surface texture of skin.
This is still happening. It is now December 10, and I have been following the protocol for a month. I am still getting these rough patches and having them slough off. I am hopeful that these patches are the cancer cells and that they are dying and then the oils can go deeper to the next layer of skin.
The other change to occur in the past month is the redness has faded. The spots reacted so strongly and so quickly, but now that angry red has faded and everything looks a little chilled out.
A Word of Warning
As you apply them, the frankincense and myrrh hurt. They cause a burning feeling that can be uncomfortable. This is important to be aware of because you don't want to completely freak out when this happens the first time.
The other side effect that I am experiencing is my skin, my non-cancerous skin around the spots, is drying out. It is very dry and now that it has been a month, is getting kind of peel-y (normal peel-y, not cancer-scab peel-y).
A Couple Changes
After I had been doing the protocol for about two weeks, I read another article that talked about using sandalwood and lavender as well to kill skin cancer. Over Thanksgiving (November 27), I started rotating in these other two essential oils. In what I have read about using the oils, one thing that was mentioned was to use helichrysum halfway through the treatment to help prevent scars. With the redness and the scabbing, I think that these spots may leave marks. My only hope is that the marks will be less than a surgical scar (and really how could they be worse than that). But I decided that rotating in sandalwood and lavender would still work on killing the cancer, but might also help to soothe the skin.
I continue to use frankincense twice a day, but I took three days and replaced the myrrh with sandalwood, and then for the following three days I replaced the myrrh with lavender. After that I returned to using myrrh for a week, and then repeated the three days.
Again the previous warning applies. Lavender hurts when you apply it. It feels like it is burning and can continue to do so throughout the day.
In addition to adding those two oils, I made a blend of essentials oils that is a "Scar Reduction Blend" from this site. I put this in a rollerbottle and apply it to my spots when I first get up in the morning before I go to the gym. This give about an hour with that on, and then I have a shower and do the cancer-fighting oils.
Recipe for the Scar Reduction Blend
6 drops Helichrysum
6 drops Frankincense
6 drops Lavender
6 capsules of Vitamin E oil
To the top with Fractionated Coconut Oil
The Big Spot
The large spot on my forehead, near my hairline, has reacted a little differently to all of this, and is still the main area of concern. When I began using the oils on November 11, I had a thick reddish brown scab covering most of the area (at least 65%). I applied the oils right on top of the scab and all around it, rubbing and applying a little extra hoping that it would soak in and get to the skin below the scab.
On November 24, thirteen days later, the large scab fell off. What it revealed was red skin with a few divots that were more open wounds and slightly bleeding.
I have continued to apply the oils, and have been relieved that I can apply them more directly to the skin now with the large scab gone. The same thing has happened to that patch. It has gotten redder and then calmed down, but continues to form crusty skin that then sloughs off. There have been a few areas that have had skin peel off that is the more normal type, not the crusty, scabby type.
Here's what it looks like right now:
(I hate all pictures that attempt to show the cancer spots. Please be forgiving. And notice that I don't have black eyes, that's the shadow of the cell phone.)
I have MOHS surgery scheduled for the large spot on my forehead on December 22. I have 12 days and will continue to do all I have been doing, and then I'll report back on what the surgeon says about the spots.
Finally a note on essential oils. It is extremely important that you use really high quality essential oils. This is generally called "Certified Therapeutic Grade." Personally, I use the Doterra brand of essential oils, but I know that the Living Young brand is also considered very good.
4 years ago