The word “chemotherapy” evokes feelings of dread, fear, and confusion in many patients. While most know how important chemotherapy is for cancer, many still feel skeptical, confused, or distressed when they receive chemotherapy recommendations for their cancer.
- Chemotherapy treatment is as bad as cancer itself.
- Chemotherapy does not just kill cancer; it kills my energy too.
- My life will drastically change after chemotherapy. I can never go back to being normal.
- What if my hair doesn’t grow back after chemotherapy?
What cancer patients hear, read, and assume can have a powerful influence on their health decisions. Therefore, it is important for cancer patients to talk to their expert team when they have any concerns about their condition or the treatment they are receiving.
Chemotherapy has become far more advanced and tolerable in recent years. Today, patients undergoing chemotherapy can continue working during their treatment and can experience far less hair loss. They do not need to be admitted to a cancer hospital for chemotherapy and do not lose their energy as easily.
Chemotherapy affects each person in a different way. Nevertheless, with the right advice, patients can make it through their treatment without having to put their lives on hold. In this article, we talk about the 5 best ways to handle chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy treatment begins with you understanding how this treatment works and what it does to your body. You can talk to your expert team to understand how to prepare for the treatment, know what to expect, and learn about the possible side effects that you may experience.
– Plan what you would require during your treatment. It is better to opt for comfortable clothing during your treatment. Some may experience chills during the infusion, so you may also consider picking up a jacket. You may also consider picking up some books to read and healthy snacks to munch on during your infusion.
– You should have a detailed discussion with your expert team on possible side effects, and physically and psychologically prepare yourself for the same. The side effects of chemotherapy often vary from patient to patient. Most patients experience mild to moderate side effects. In some cases, patients may not experience any side effects. Some of the common side effects include loss of appetite, mouth sores, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, tiredness, anemia, increased risk of infections, and hair loss. Most side effects go away after the treatment ends. However, some patients may require medications to manage them.
– Talk to your doctor about possible hair loss. The type and dose of chemotherapy you are undergoing will determine whether you lose your hair. You may consider scalp cooling to reduce hair loss during your treatment. If hair loss is unavoidable, you may consider the option of using wigs, scarves, turbans, etc.
– Chemotherapy can cause stress and anxiety. This is normal. You may consider consulting psycho-oncologists who specialize in handling the psychological and emotional aspects of cancer care. They will help you with healthy coping mechanisms that can help you stay positive and strong throughout the treatment.
Chemotherapy can be taxing—both physically and mentally. You cannot help but compare your current state of health with that before cancer. Know that it is not just you.
Staying positive and confident and not letting negativity loom over you is extremely important during your chemotherapy treatment and staying occupied is one thing that can help you with this.
Maybe you can consider picking up a new hobby, spending time with your family, or even watching your favorite TV show. Doctors often recommend chemotherapy patients to continue working during their treatment.
Many hospitals, like HCG Cancer Hospital, facilitate chemotherapy at daycare centers where patients come, receive their chemotherapy infusion, and go home on the same day.
Not Hesitating to Ask for Assistance
Chemotherapy causes tiredness and fatigue. Even if you are someone who loves to be independent and doesn’t wish to trouble others, there can be times when you might need some help. You may need someone to drive you home, run your errands for you, or even someone with whom you can talk about your life. You have to do one thing – ask for it.
Talk to your family and friends and ask them to help you out.
You will be fine after the treatment, but until then, you will need someone to be there for you, and it is okay.
Resting is critical during your chemotherapy treatment. Resting also helps your body beat stress and fatigue caused by chemo drugs. It will also help your body to get rid of the toxins accumulated within.
Often patients work hard to stay active during their treatment. Although exercise is important, you cannot stress your body when it is exhausted. There will be days when you do not feel like doing anything but resting. Just listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Being Compassionate with Yourself
Being compassionate with yourself goes a long way, and this is especially true if you are diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Self-compassion improves emotional well-being, which in turn improves your ability to cope with the treatment and complete it as per the given plan.
The following are a few things you can do to feel better during your chemotherapy:
Make Yourself Feel Comfortable: Always take it easy. Take a walk. Spend time with your family, friends, and pets. Eat foods that you enjoy. Have one thing in focus, and that is to complete your chemotherapy treatment successfully.
Encourage Yourself: Most often we see cancer patients being critical of themselves. However, for your condition to improve, you should be doing the exact opposite. Congratulate yourself every day for fighting cancer. Think of all the times you have stayed strong. Convince yourself that all of this will be over once your treatment ends. You can be your biggest motivator during your cancer treatment.
Surround Yourself with People Who Keep Your Spirits Up: Having the right people is not just important—it is essential. These people should keep you engaged and encouraged throughout your treatment.
Embrace Everything About You: Some cancer patients are at their lowest during chemotherapy. This is understandable. However, this does not have to be this way. All you have to do is accept yourself wholeheartedly. Yes, you feel angry. Yes, you feel helpless. Yes, this feels like this is the end of the world. Validate all these emotions. This unconditional acceptance will positively impact the way you look at life and whatever is going on with it.
During your chemotherapy, you’ll have some good days and you’ll also have some not-so-good days. On good days, you can choose to be active, run errands, meet people, and exercise, and on not-so-good days, you can choose to rest and only do things that help you relax.
Awareness and understanding go a long way in completing your cancer treatment successfully. Understanding how the treatment works and why it is necessary will help you know what to expect and what to accept. Also, it is important to not let uncertainty or fear overpower your ability to make health decisions. If there are questions or concerns about the treatment, the best thing to do would be to talk to your doctors, as only they can guide you in the right direction.