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.