When my partner and I first developed the concept of luxury bamboo washcloths, we had no thought of marketing them as beneficial for cancer patients.
It never entered our minds. And, if by some remote chance, it had, I would have dismissed it out of hand. Because I believe that these kinds of markets – where people are scared and vulnerable – are often exploited and I want nothing to do with that.
Then I got cancer. And I changed my tune – at least insofar as the bamboo washcloths are concerned.
My course of treatment was radiation five days a week for six weeks and chemo once a week for six weeks. That’s a lighter course than some and a heavier course than others.
Around the end of the second week of radiation, my skin started to change. Overall, it was far more sensitive and it became sensitive in what I thought were odd areas, my ankles, for example, the tops of my thighs. My skin also assumed a dry and slightly puckered quality, which even now, several months after my treatment has been completed, hasn’t disappeared.
Everyone reacts to radiation differently. During the course of my treatment I became friends with a couple of women who developed hideous blisters from radiation, actually extreme burns. Most of us developed some level of radiation burn.
However, in general, while our skin issues resulted in some real discomfort, for some of us they were certainly secondary to more debilitating symptoms such as extreme fatigue and nausea.
Still, cancer is not a license to stop taking showers. We have to stay clean. I was afraid I was picking up that fusty smell you associate with hospitals and was constantly sniffing my skin for traces of it.
I’ve used bamboo washcloths in the shower since we developed them a few years ago and wouldn’t use any other washcloth. But a couple of weeks into the chemo and radiation schedule, I noticed that I was using them differently. In the shower, I found myself soaking the washcloth in warm water, bunching it in my hand or making a sort of pad out of it and patting my skin with it. Alternatively, after I wet it, I’d squeeze it and let the water just drip down over my skin.
It felt great. Bamboo fiber is very soft and especially valuable for sensitive skin. It’s also naturally anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and odor resistant. The third consideration was especially important for me when, during treatment, the smell of coffee, to name just one familiar everyday odor, could send me racing for the bathroom. Finally, bamboo is far more absorbent than other fabrics.
Did using bamboo washcloths give me additional energy? No. Take away the nausea? No. Eliminate severe cramps or radiation burns? No and no. It didn’t eliminate or even mitigate one treatment symptom.
But it made me feel better in the shower. For a few minutes, while pressing the soft, warm bamboo washcloth to my skin, I felt better.
That’s when I decided to make it available for other cancer patients.
The washcloths presented as “Crane in Bamboo” washcloths are identical to our Adult Luxury Washcloths. However, the packaging, which I designed, is completely different and represents our belief that these washcloths have a role to play in this market.
I hope you will agree.