Friday, November 2, 2012

No Cold Weather Hibernation

Good Morning Cancer Patients;
Enduring cancer treatment is difficult enough without adding the discomforts of cold and inclement weather. I found as the weather became colder my body's heat receptacles didn't work as well. I would get cold easily and the dryness in the air made my hands very dry. I needed to add more layers of clothing to stay warm. Since I had lost all my hair from chemo, my head and around my ears were always cold, so I wore a cap to help retain my body heat, heavier gloves for my hands and a small heater in my office. I have always enjoyed the cold weather but cancer treatment turned that enjoyment into a cold annoyance.

I found the combination of cancer treatment, colder weather, shorter hours of daylight and the discomforts of being cold, all contributed to a lower energy level and a less than positive state of mind. As I cogutated about the predicament and state of mind I was in, I realized it was only late fall and I had at least 5 more months to endure the colder weather, shorter daylight hours, extra dryness in my hands, cold hands, feet, ears and nose, as well as six more rounds of a gruelling treatment regime. Compounding the issue further was the holiday season. I needed to put up the outdoor Christmas decorations and latter take them down. I had to put the yard in order and get the leaves picked up, get the snow plow put on the garden tractor, trim down the bushes and put the patio furniture away,...all in the cold weather.

I concluded getting depressed over this was a waste of good energy I needed, and being depressed wouldn't make it any better.  The colder weather would pass and I could adapt for the duration. So I decided to embrace the cold. I knew how to dress warm, I knew how to deal with the dryness in my hands, I knew I had to deal with the cold in my hands and feet and around my head. I knew the decorations and the yard and equipment preparation needed to be done. I couldn't do anything about shorter daylight hours or fewer sunny days but I could adapt and take advantage of them. Cold weather was not going to make me hibernate just because I had cancer and was going through treatment. Hibernation was easy, embracing the cold I usually enjoyed was a challenge.

I found this approach took my mind off the treatment and cancer. It gave me something else to occupy my free time rather than hibernating. I dressed warmer than I usually would and took longer to do my cold weather tasks, coming inside to warm up often. I also began to enjoy the winter sun light and its subtle warmth. I found I appreciated the warmth of a fire, the radiant heat from the oven and a very long steaming shower or hot bath, much more that before cancer.

My message is don't let the change of season cold weather make you hibernate. Decide how you will live with the cold and continue to live your life. Be proactive, embrace the change of season, be active and stay warm. It too will pass.

Stay strong, keep your sense of humor and never ever give up.

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