Going through chemotherapy can be a tough and testing time both physically and mentally, and it only makes sense that you would look for ways to mitigate any further sources that can contribute to that.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help manage the side effects and make the process more comfortable, and this care guide is going to offer some tips and tricks to help you navigate through chemotherapy. Plus, always remember to be gentle with yourself!
First and foremost, getting support after your cancer diagnosis and during your chemotherapy can be essential to your overall wellbeing. It’s important to find support from loved ones, friends, or even a support group or a professional organization that’s also tailored to the type of cancer you have.
For instance, specialists like Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL offer treatment for lung cancer (as well as others), so it’s essential to seek specific support or information for that cancer type if you have received that diagnosis. The same applies to all other cancer types, too; seek support specific to that cancer type, be it lung, breast, head, leukemia, and any other kind. You can also consider talking to a therapist or counselor if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression.
Managing Side Effects
Chemotherapy can have many side effects, including nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and mouth sores. Here are some ways to manage these side effects:
- Nausea– If you’re experiencing nausea, try eating small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of three big meals. Avoid greasy, fatty, or spicy foods, and drink plenty of fluids. You can also talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medication.
- Fatigue– Chemotherapy can leave you feeling exhausted, so make sure you are able to get plenty of rest. Take naps when you need to, and don’t feel guilty about asking for help when you need it.
- Hair loss- Hair loss is a common and well-known side effect of chemotherapy, but there are ways to cope with it. If it gets you down, consider getting a wig or hairpiece, or try wearing hats or scarves. Remember that it’s only temporary, and your hair will grow back after treatment.
- Mouth sores– Chemotherapy can cause painful mouth sores and ulcers. To ease the discomfort, rinse your mouth with a mixture of baking soda and water, use a wash specifically for this issue, and avoid spicy or acidic foods that could aggravate them further.
Chemotherapy can cause dehydration, so it’s crucial that you stay hydrated throughout treatment. Drink plenty of water and consider drinking sports drinks or coconut water to help replenish electrolytes. You can also eat foods with high water content, like watermelon, cucumbers, and soup if you struggle to keep drinking to get your hydration up.
Eating a healthy diet is also important during chemotherapy to help support your immune system and keep your energy levels up. Try to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and avoid excessive amounts of processed foods and sugary drinks. It is also worth talking to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you have any specific dietary concerns.
Staying active during chemotherapy can help improve your energy levels and mood, but make sure to talk to your doctor about what types of exercise are safe for you, and start slow. Don’t overdo it – even gentle activities like walking or yoga can help.