5 ways to take care of yourself during chemoCreated by:
Starting chemo is a very emotional period for every person suffering from cancer but it is important to stay focused on the outcome and fight back as hard as you can! If you are undergoing chemotherapy you need to stay healthy and eat healthy because what you eat can help you win the battle! You have to take care of yourself and be strong for yourself!
Before the process begins you should research side effect and ask your doctor about what may occur during your chemo. It is always better to know what to expect because you will feel less scary and in a way prepared for what comes. Educating yourself, doing the research and preparation can help you relieve anxiety and you will feel more determined to beat cancer, once and for all.
If your doctor agrees you should start with low impact exercises. Working out can help you reduce stress and tiredness, and you will feel more hungry after exercising and ready for a healthy meal. Make sure not to push yourself too hard, instead do everything slowly and most important – be patient.
Also, make sure to take things slow even if you are usually an active person or an athlete because energy is one of the most precious commodities to maintain during chemo. You should gradually increase the amount of activity if your body “agrees”. A good way to start exercising is to start walking more, use light weights with simple exercises, ride a stationary bike and practice mindfulness meditation.
Besides exercising, and healthy eating, you should make sure to get plenty of rest. You may feel more tired than it is normal for you during treatment so you should give yourself time to rest. Take breaks whenever you need them, help your body collect the strength and take it slowly.
Make sure to get enough sleep because the more you rest and sleep the quicker you will bounce back after treatments. Each person is different so there is no general rule that can be applied to the resting/sleeping part – you have to learn to listen to your body, sleep as much as you need and rest as often as your body asks. Allow your body to heal and become stronger at its own pace.
Radiation treatments and chemo affect the nutrition system apart from cancer itself and that is why it is extremely important to follow a healthy food diet to help you with the inevitable side effects. You need to make sure that you intake enough protein and calories with your healthy meals to make new healthy cells and replace the lost during treatment. Consult with your doctor about supplements, vitamins, and nutraceuticals you want to take (or you are taking) during and after chemotherapy. Always consult the doctor whenever you feel unsure about something, it is better to check twice.
If you have trouble eating you should talk to your cancer care team and dietitian or doctor to adjust the meal plan and help you get over the problem.
You should avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and hot temperature food if you have mouth sores. Some types of chemo can cause oral mucositis – mouth sores that can be a really annoying side effect. Keep your mouth moist, drink lots of fluids and after every meal, rinse your mouth with salt water to encourage healing and relieve mouth sores.
Vomiting and diarrhea are also things you should be careful about because with low fluid intake the two combined can cause dehydration. You should learn to recognize the signs of dehydration – sunken eyes, low urine output, dry mouth but try to avoid them by drinking plenty of water. You should drink sip by sip of water very often, throughout the day even if you don't feel thirsty to ensure your body Is hydrated enough.
Doing what makes you happy
Take time to enjoy your hobbies. It can help you deal with chemo, reduce stress and anxiety and keep you relaxed. It will provide a much-needed distraction – you will focus on something you truly enjoy and that will make you happy. The positive thoughts will surely help you fight back! You can do whatever you like and feel that is good for you, from arts and crafts to making a playlist, listening to music, sewing, writing, etc. The best part is that there are so many hobbies you can try out; if you grow tired of one, you can always take up something new.
These simple ways will surely help you realize that there are many things you can do to prepare yourself for dealing with chemo. Taking care of yourself is the first step on the path to winning, so make sure you do whatever your body needs in order to heal!