Your medical regimen and often time the side effects that follow will impact your quality of life. Some days are better than others but it’s worth being prepared and incorporate habits and activities that can support and increase your comfort and vitality. The age old wisdom that is outlined below is simple, yet effective. It states that we should be cognizant of everything we put into our body – including our thoughts.
Be Aware of What You Eat
When it comes to food the best thing to do is to prepare it ahead of time. Stock up on organic, healthy foods. You and your family can prepare and refrigerate or freeze healthy meals before you begin therapy. This way you’ll have a lot less work to do when you’re not feeling so great. Ensure the meals are nutrient-dense, and organic (whenever possible) to aid your body in its recovery. Choose a variety of fresh and colorful foods such as:
- Fruits, vegetables, and legumes
- Whole grains (Quinoa is a good one. It’s high in protein, gluten-free, easy to prepare and to digest.)
- Low fat lean proteins: Greek yogurt 2% or 0%, eggs, seafood, lean meat, edamame (soybeans in the pod) and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Some foods to avoid or eat less of are:
- Sodium (salt)
- Added sugar
- Simple sugars (white bread, white rice, candy)
- Solid fat
Eat More Frequently
Good news. You can eat smaller, more frequent meals when you’re experiencing side effects. Try five small meals per day rather than three and see if it helps with any digestive issues. Eating this way can also give you sustained energy throughout your day.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Drink water or other liquids frequently. If you don’t like water, you can get your liquids through soup broths (low sodium, of course), fruit and green smoothies, flavored teas, and more. It’s important to drink a lot of water so you stay hydrated and flush unwanted substances from the body.
Mind Body Connection
Besides eating fresh, healthy, and organic foods, there are some really fun activities to try, whether you’ve attempted them in the past or not. All of these can help keep your mind on the positive healing track. Of course as with any treatment, be sure to verify with your doctor that you are cleared to take part in these treatments.
Exercise is beneficial for everyone, but even more so for a patient receiving treatment. Cancer related fatigue is often the most troubling side effect of treatment according to patients. That’s right, even more than nausea, vomiting, pain, or sleep problems, because it affects the ability to perform every day tasks. By getting regular exercise, a patient can sleep better and feel less pain, anxiety, and depression. 1
But what kind of exercise am I talking about? No 5k’s or triathlons, but walking, biking, yoga, tai chi, and water aerobics. Those activities are varied enough that you should not get bored. Each type of exercise can be performed by novices or experts, and each one goes fairly easy on the body yet provides incredible calming and healing benefits.
Additional Alternatives 2
Other important treatments that can provide relief and healing are:
Hypnosis – to work on changing the subconscious so it can work with the body to bring about healing (I think you guessed I’d mention that!)
Massage – yes, please.
Meditation – can help quiet the mind.
Relaxation techniques – uses breath and visualization to calm body and mind
Acupuncture – reduces nausea, vomiting, pain and improves digestion
Aromatherapy – fights anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure 3
Music therapy – benefits patients of all ages and musical abilities. You don’t have to be Mozart or Chopin to reap the benefits. Music therapy promotes wellness, manages stress, reduces pain, and promotes physical rehabilitation. 4
Add these exercises and treatments into your overall healing arsenal to assist you in regaining better health and wellbeing. If you have questions on these treatments, how they are performed, and what they can do for you, please feel free to contact me right now.
If you read any of my previous posts you already know that I fully support traditional medical treatment and care for people with cancer – this goes without saying. Advances in chemotherapy treatments for cancer are proving to be very effective and we know that the science and medicine do save lives. Having said that, chemotherapy is still a poison – a treatment takes its toll on both the body and the mind.
While there are many different types of chemo treatment, some more modern then others, patients are still experiencing disruptive side effects. But when immersive healing is used as a part of a person’s treatment for cancer, or when patients use an audio program such as the Successful Chemo, it can help to embrace the treatment and lessen the impact of those side effects.
If the mind and body are prepared for and can embrace chemotherapy treatment before it is administered, the outcome of the treatment will be better and more effective in the long term.
The simple truth is that people with cancer need chemotherapy, chemotherapy works; it shrinks cancer tumors and saves lives, however, the cost of chemo when we consider a person’s quality of life is very high. The side effects of chemotherapy treatment range from uncomfortable to debilitating both mentally and physically, anyone who has had chemo or who has witnessed a loved-one go through the treatment knows this to be true.
For some people, these unpleasant side effects may result in them not seeing their full chemotherapy treatment plan through; they may miss their appointments as they feel unable to face the treatment. And if a person does not complete their course of chemotherapy, they may decrease their chances of recovery…
But if there isn’t an alternative to chemotherapy what can a person do to minimize or at least manage the unpleasant side effects of the treatment? Immersive healing, either face to face or online via skype can help you to prepare for chemotherapy mentally, physically and emotionally, enabling you to create a state within your mind and body for the chemo to work its specific form of healing.
If you are undergoing, or you are about to undergo chemotherapy, it may be helpful for you to schedule a hypnosis session a day or two before each treatment. If this is not possible for you, you can use my cancer self-hypnosis CD before treatment; this can also be listened to while you are waiting for your chemo treatment, helping you to get into an optimum frame of mind for the treatment and helping you to heal as you go through the process of treatment.
Chemotherapy while proving highly successful when it comes to attacking cancer cells in the body comes with a number of side effects. Side effects which can be uncomfortable, debilitating and emotionally distressing.
Many people undergoing chemotherapy reported experiencing digestive disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux and also extreme fatigue, weakness and feverish or achy flu-like symptoms.
Then there are the symptoms that can have a profound psychological effect such as hair loss, weight loss or gain due to medication, changes in body image and loss of libido.
To suggest that this must be difficult for anyone undergoing cancer treatment is an understatement. A person undergoing cancer treatment often notices changes in thoughts patterns, self image and quality of life in general.
This dramatic level of change can be overwhelming, it is therefore vital that the individual does their very best to facilitate their own healing process.
There are several ways in which this can be done. Firstly taking care of the physical body is paramount. Any prescribed medications need to be taken as discussed and the aftercare advice given by your oncologist adhered to as best.
Secondly taking care of the mind at this physically and emotionally taxing time is also a vital part of the healing process. This can be achieved in a number of ways and of course hypnotherapy can help to keep your mind calm, focused and positive during your treatment.
I have also blogged previously on the subject of the benefits of another powerful mind-body healing tool.
Support is also an important part of your healing process and this can come from various groups of people including but not exclusively friends and family.
Many people find support in the form of cancer specific support groups, social organizations or religious/spiritual groups with which they can relate to.
A recent study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that a strong social support system improved outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer, especially in the first year.*
Staying strong both physically and emotionally during chemotherapy is challenging but achievable – letting others help you do so is also a good idea.
Most importantly of all is for you to use this time to find out what makes you happy.
This may sound over simplistic: “Be happy at a time when I’m battling a potentially life threatening disease, are you crazy?” And the notion that being ‘happy’ during this difficult time can enhance the healing process may feel like extra pressure. It’s very hard to force happiness.
However re-evaluating your situation and focusing on what is good in your life can help you to remain strong through your treatment program.
Self-nurture is a key factor in healing, being with the people you love, doing what you love whether it’s work or play and allowing yourself to follow creative or spiritual pursuits is the key to your happiness.
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About Avinoam Lerner
Avinoam Lerner is a Trauma Recovery Coach specializing in Cancer, Addiction & PTSD, TEDx Speaker and the author of The New Cancer Paradigm.
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