Whether you’ve had a serious illness or are simply going through a challenging time, everyone experiences lows. Some days, your whole world seems to be crashing down around you. You might feel like there’s nothing positive in your life and that everything will be OK, eventually. Doctors often give chemotherapy because it kills cancer cells effectively. However, it can also have a big effect on your mental health. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help keep yourself sane during your treatment, from boosting your immune system and fighting fatigue to reducing stress and giving yourself some much-needed positivity. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of chemotherapy – including how it can help you fight cancer… and maybe even save your life.
What is chemotherapy for?
Chemotherapy is a treatment used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is part of an overall treatment plan, including surgery, radiation, targeted therapies, and immunotherapies. It’s a highly effective treatment for many types of cancer, most notably breast, ovarian, and lung cancers. When treating cancer, doctors often have to choose between radiation, which can cause more side effects, and systemic therapies, which are more expensive. However, many oncologists choose to use combination therapy, which could mean using radiation and systemic therapies.
Why is chemotherapy necessary?
Chemotherapy is a highly effective treatment for many types of cancer. These include breast, cervical, ovarian, lung, skin, sarcoma, and brain cancers. Your doctor might recommend chemotherapy if you have cancer that has spread to other parts of your body, such as your lungs, bones, or brain. You might also choose chemotherapy if you have a high risk of recurrence, such as if you are over 60 years old or have had cancer recently.
When does chemotherapy take place?
Chemotherapy is usually given in a hospital setting after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. The first treatment will usually be given in the hospital while you’re under general anesthesia or receiving intravenous (IV) fluids. Once you’re stable, your subsequent treatment will most likely be at a different hospital. Some chemotherapy drugs are given as a single infusion, others are given every two weeks, and others are given every three months. If you have a certain type of cancer and are getting chemotherapy, your doctor will talk to you about the schedule.
5 ways to stay strong during chemotherapy
– Boost your immune system – The immune system is an essential part of fighting infections and repairing damaged tissue. When you get sick, it responds by creating antibodies to attack the specific pathogens (or harmful organisms) that cause your infection. Chemotherapy, however, weakens your immune system, so you’ll need to boost it with natural supplements. – Eat well – You need to nourish your body and keep up your energy levels. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, eat plenty of complex carbs throughout the day, and consume protein-rich foods like fish and meats at dinner. Also, make sure you’re drinking water. – Exercise helps strengthen your immune system, keep your stress levels in check, and keep a positive attitude. When you’re tired and having other bad side effects from chemotherapy, it might seem counterintuitive to relax, but it can be very helpful. Many people find that journaling, doing yoga, or meditating helps them relax and get some sleep. – Stay positive – Remember that today is not the end of the world, and cancer is not bad. Try to be grateful for the people and things in your life that can help you stay happy and strong.
2 effective strategies for beating fatigue
– Take a nap – Staying up all night is exhausting, so make sure you get some rest during the day. – Seek help from the outside – If you have a significant other, a family member, or a friend who can help you get through the fatigue, that’s even better. You can also hire an in-home healthcare aide or a virtual care team to help you manage your health.
3 ways to regulate stress during your treatment
– Stay positive – Nobody likes to be reminded of the bad things in life, and you’re probably most worried about your health right now. Try to avoid letting bad thoughts take over your mind. – Talk to your doctor – If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask your doctor for stress-reduction strategies, such as breathing exercises and herbal supplements. – Get active – Find an outlet for your stress, whether going for a walk, playing a sport, or doing something creative.
4 ways to build positivity into your outlook
Journaling: Journaling is a great way to process your feelings and get some perspective on your life. – Get out and socialize – Socializing is a great way to relieve some stress, relieve boredom, and make friends. – Give – Giving is one of the best ways to boost your happiness and make lasting connections with other people. – Be kind – Be kind to others, even when feeling cranky. Try treating others with the kindness you would treat your friends and family.
5 ways to help you recover faster after your treatment is over
– Get plenty of sleep. – Lack of sleep can make you feel fatigued, which can delay your recovery. Sleep is also essential to your immune system, so rest to boost your immune system. – Get physical – Physical activity helps to boost your energy levels and regulate your stress levels. – Eat healthily – You need to nourish your body and keep up your energy levels. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, eat plenty of complex carbs throughout the day, and consume protein-rich foods like fish and meats at dinner. – Sweat it out – Try to sweat out toxins by doing moderate exercise. – Get active – Find an outlet for your stress, whether going for a walk, playing a sport, or doing something creative. – Get help – If you have significant others or family members who can help you recover, that’s even better. You can also hire an in-home healthcare aide or a virtual care team to help you manage your health.
Chemotherapy is a highly effective treatment for many types of cancer. It’s given in a hospital setting after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and might include surgery, radiation, targeted therapies, and immunotherapies. The goal is to kill cancer cells, but chemotherapy can also negatively impact your mental health. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep yourself sane during your treatment, from boosting your immune system and fighting fatigue to reducing stress and giving yourself some much-needed positivity.
Dr. Ronald Bissell is a retired surgeon, author of 6 books on Personal and Spiritual Growth, writer of numerous articles and facilitator of workshops. He has been giving talks to help people with life-threatening diseases for the past 10 years. After three years of chemotherapy he recently had a bone marrow transplant to treat Multiple Myeloma. His work now involves helping others with life-threatening diseases as well as teaching people how to live their best lives without fear or anxiety.