5 Self care tips during Chemotherepy and other Cancer treatments
Right, this post is dear to my heart and Im so happy to be sharing what worked for me and is currently working for me during treatment. These are my top 5 tips on how to better care for yourself during chemo, radiation, transplants, trial drugs...the whole shebang!
This one can be tricky and I've been on both sides of the spectrum, I had a huge, healthy appetite with my first diagnosis and this time round I became extremely under-weight, unable to keep anything down and zero appetite. Let me tell you a BIG fact. I saw a huge difference in the outcome of treatment when I was able to get nutrients in. When I say food I mean real food, organic if you can, clean eating, natural sugars only...you can treat yourself here and there but try cut out processed sugar. Its about focusing on real nutrition.
If you're going through any kind of treatment you need to sit down first thing and take a look at your diet. Clean it right up! Look online for nutrition packed recipes, read books, watch youtube videos, super foods that help with symptoms, have a look at my Instagram for inspiration or on here for recipes. Do your homework, whenever I get my blood results back and Im low in something or one of my organs is under stress I'll look up foods that help aid my symptoms. For example, I was just told my liver is struggling a bit with the amount of toxins so I'm going to incorporate celery juice into my days and warm lemon water.
When I couldn't keep anything down, I had to really listen to my body. All I wanted to eat was yoghurt and kidney beans, thats all I could handle. I later realized I must have been craving the yoghurt because my gut health was at a low due to all the vomiting. I could handle liquids with ease so I would drink lots of bone broths. Whatever you can get in, try make it as nutritional as possible and listen to what your body is asking for.
2. Meditate and be still.
Its not just about the body during treatment, the mind plays a MASSIVE role in your recovery. Take 30minutes every day to just sit. be still. and breath. It will do wonders to you and how your cells regenerate. Rest is so important during treatment, its when our body restores tissue, cells, we breathe better allowing in more oxygen (Cancer hates oxygen). Its a vital part in your journey. My mind is a busy one, I often find it hard to stop and relax. I find guided meditations on youtube a real help, or sometimes I just put my headphones on and listen to frequency healing sounds while I sit for 30 minutes.
You don't have to roll out your Yoga mat and get the sage stick going. Just spend half an hour on your own, not thinking about life's stress or the life-admin that you need to catch up on, focus on your breath and let that be the only thing you think of. If you find your mind wandering just bring it back in, you'll get better and better at it. I also find it helps to focus on the black space you see when you close your eyes. See what works for you and commit to it every day.
To be honest, this one I also struggle with but notice a difference when I apply this to my recovery. It is important to not block people out and crawl into your shell like I can do at times. It's mostly who I am and my personalty. Im very personal and if Im going through something I like to retreat to a quiet space and work through it on my own. Don't get me wrong, this is totally fine, Cancer can be so overwhelming and everything that comes with it so there will be moments where you don't feel like seeing a friend or family member, all you want is quiet time. But don't make it a regular habit. If you can and your not stuck in ICU then try see a friend ever now and then.
I see my family on a daily basis, I have a best friend who I text with every day, I see my friends when Im well enough and Im always chatting to them on the phone and keeping them updated. There are also heaps of Cancer communities you can join and meet with other Cancer patients online/in person who are feeling what you are feeling.
I tend to underplay what Im going through physically to friends and families, just because I know it makes them upset to hear what Im going through but with other patients you can be very open and raw. I also talk to a councillor when I feel like my cup is too full which helps with releasing things and not holding them in, we all know how bad that can be for you!
4. Goals and motivation.
The moment you've been diagnosed I want you to go get two journals, one of them is to write your feelings like you would write in a journal...I still read back on my entries from a year ago and Im so glad I wrote everything down when I felt the need to. I also want you to write your goals for the month or week or day, which every works for you and use it as motivation (I'll talk about the second journal in the next tip).
I have monthly goals, some of them may be weight gain goals, or to be able to do 15 squats and the next month will be 30. Things like that keep you focusing on the future and get you motivated to push through. Motivation helped me so much during the tough times, all I would do is stare outside my hospital window and day dream of me running on the beach, cooking in my kitchen, seeing my friends and having them over for dinner and sundowners, being around my family and visiting them all the time, getting a fur baby, working on my career. All these felt so strong to me and dear to my heart and would sometimes wipe away all the negativity I was going through in the present.
5. Tracking and measuring
The second journal is for tracking, I found it really helpful to track my treatment. What I mean by that is, say for example, I was receiving treatment on a Monday. I would write down how I felt that day, my symptoms, any complications or pains, my energy levels. I did that every day for 7 days post treatment. The next round of chemo I would do the same. I started to notice patterns. I knew that on day 2-4 I would feel my worst and days 5-7 I was able to leave my house and my energy was better. On days 3-6 my back would ache from low white blood counts so I would need extra help around the house and rest more. I was able to plan things better and know if anything was out of the ordinary. Highly recommend it!
You may want to add to these tips or leave a comment with your own tips that have helped you :)
Take care my friends
The Soul Sana.