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Coping with Chemo

Coping with Chemo

Chemotherapy is never easy. Even at its least impactful, you’re living with a cancer diagnosis and some serious unknowns, which is just plain challenging.

Fortunately, there are some tricks to coping with chemo – ranging from the foods you eat, to the toolkit you arm yourself during, and after, chemotherapy appointments.

5 Tricks to Cope with Chemo

Here are some of the tips, actions and ideas our patients have found helpful as they coped with chemo on their way to beating cancer.

1) Know it’s an individual experience

Every body, mind, perspective and outlook are different – and that means that you experience chemo individually, even within the collective of other patients. Get in touch with the attitudes, challenges, perspectives, feelings and physical effects YOU experience around chemo, and then find your best method for handling each one.

This isn’t a time for taking care of others, taking advice you don’t want (or using support tools you don’t need) to make other people feel journey. This is your time to own your own journey, and feel 100% confident embracing it in the ways that feel best.

2) Keep some favorite candy, mints or chewing gum on hand

Patients often find the chemo and/or the flushes used afterwards leave a bad taste in their mouth. Not only is this unpleasant, a bad taste in your mouth can tip you over into the realm of nausea. Keeping your favorite hard candies, mints or chewing gum on hand will help.

3) Do what you must to prioritize sleep

Sleep is imperative for healing, and sleep is especially crucial when you’re healing in the midst of a treatment that wreaks it fair share of havoc on your system. If you have young children at home, begin establishing a new routine, with everyone taking on new responsibilities (and enlist help from friends and family!!!!) so you can go to bed early and sleep later than usual as much as possible.

4) Practice asking for help – and ask again, and again

You need help. This may be an individual journey – but it’s not a solo journey (there’s a difference!). All those friends and family who say, “Just let us know if you need anything….” should be given specific tasks to do. They’ll relish in the ability to shower you with love and assistance in a way that calls to them.

Ask for help with:

  • Meals (Meal Train and similar, online services are great for this!)
  • Carpooling kids to/from school and extracurricular activities
  • House cleaning and laundry
  • Hanging out with the kids when you need a nap or to go to bed early
  • Grocery shopping

These are such simple ways for others to support you and your family – and they will have immeasurable benefits when it comes to you resting, relaxing and knowing everyone is taken care of.

5) Nourish your body and soul

It’s time to nourish your body and soul like you’ve never done before – in the form of nutritious foods, exercise and healthy, loving energy.

  • Download and print, Eating Hints: Before, During & After Cancer, an incredibly thoughtful brochure that goes into detail about food/meal “Dos & Don’ts,” and containing side-effect specific food suggestions.
  • Exercise may need to be scaled back, depending on your chemo experience, but do try to be active in some way when you can – even if it’s as simple as walking the dog, strolling slowly around the block, gently stretching on the chair, couch or in bed, etc.
  • Download meditation apps for mental and emotional support.

The team at Palouse Specialty Physicians is rooting for you, and we’re here to help. Let us know if you’re experiencing negative side effects and we’ll do what we can to support you.

Published on April 18, 2018