Self-Care During and After Cancer Treatment
If you or a loved one has ever undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatment, you understand how hard it is to feel like yourself. But there are a few simple things you can do to improve your energy levels and maintain an overall sense of normalcy.
Rest. Sleep. Rest Again.
Chemo will make you feel more tired than normal. Be patient with your body and allow yourself time to rest.
Fresh Air, Light Exercise
Your care team will let you know if exercise is appropriate, as it can help reduce your stress and boost your energy levels. An added benefit is that exercise will often increase your appetite. Should you go for a walk or undertake any kind of aerobic exercise, be sure to stretch gently and keep it short until you’re sure of what your body can handle.
Reframe Your Thoughts on “Meal Time”
Eat when you’re hungry even if it isn’t a traditional meal time. If you’re used to eating larger meals, be aware that during chemo, it may feel better to eat smaller meals more often. Listen to your body and don’t feel pressured to keep your eating habits the exact same as they were before chemo.
Focus on Eating Well
Eating healthy, nutritious food will boost your energy better than junk food. Think of your small meals as a great opportunity to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole-grains. Ask your cancer treatment center’s Nutrition Counselor to help you plan some go-to meals to get you through your treatment.
Look After Your Skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and chemo will affect it. The best products will be simple, gentle and moisturizing. Heavily fragranced products, exfoliation products, and products with a high alcohol content should be avoided. And don’t forget sun protection. Chemo may make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to up the SPF.
Share Your Feelings
This journey is emotional and filled with unexpected ups and downs. It can be hard to stay positive but talking to someone often will help lighten the incredible stress you find yourself under. Staying connected to family, friends and other cancer survivors can make a huge difference. Often, cancer treatment centers employ licensed clinical social workers ready to attend to your emotional wellbeing. Use them as a resource as often as you find necessary.
Your entire care team is here to help you through this challenging time. If you have any specific questions, the CaroMont Cancer Center assigns a Nurse Navigator to every patient at the very beginning of their treatment. We are here to help guide you through all of your questions and support your wellbeing every step of the way.
For more information on cancer treatment at CaroMont Health, click here.