Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let Your Body Sleep

Good Morning Cancer Patients and Care Givers;
Cancer treatment puts an enormous emotional and physical stress on your body. The physical stress chemo treatment and radiation put on your body are hard enough but when you add the emotional stress that accompanies you on your journey, the stress level is compounded.

I found chemo treatment made me very tired, especially the days I was doing treatment. Coupled with the every day activities of trying to live my life with cancer and treatment sessions, I became extremely tired and run down. The amount of sleep I was getting was not sufficient enough to get me through the day. By default, I found myself going to bed earlier at night and awaking later in the morning. I went from getting 6-7 hours of sleep every day to 10-12 hours of sleep every day. I wouldn't nap during the day because I am not a good napper. I wake up crabby from a nap.

The more sleep I managed to get the better I felt. There were many times while in chemo treatment I needed a sleep aid to help me sleep. Because of thesteroids that I was on to help with the treatment, I would wake up in the middle of the night  wide-eyed staring at the ceiling. During the 5 day treatment sessions, the sleep aids helped me sleep better. I only used the sleep aids on the nights of the treatment days. On weeks that I wasn't in treatment, I didn't need the sleep aids.

Listen to your body. It will tell you it needs more sleep. The more sleep you can get improves your ability to endure the treatment and recover between treatment sessions. I suggest 10-12 hours. Go to sleep when your body tells you it is tired. Let your body wake up on its own when it is fully rested. I found my body would wake up when it felt it was rested. I have continued this practice ever since. I don't need an alarm clock. My body tells me when it is rested and when it should get up.

If you are in treatment or you have completed treatment and are recovering, get as much sleep as your body will allow. It won't make the pain from treatment go away but it will give you the strength to endure the pain better. More sleep will also help your stamina and ability to continue living your life with cancer and treatment.

Sleep more, stay healthy, keep your sense of humor and never give up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Surviving the Flu and Cold Season

Good Morning Cancer Patients and Caregivers;
The news recently announced this year's flu and cold season has begun earlier than in most years and anticipation is it will be worse than previous years. If you are going through chemo and radiation treatment during this period, this is not good news because the flu and colds create another hurdle that has to be overcome if you come down with it.

So, what do you do? Prevention, Prevention, Prevention.... If you haven't gotten a flu shot, yet then get one now. Your immune system needs as much support as it can get while you are in treatment. Even when treatment is completed and you are recovering, your immune system is more depleted and you need to protect yourself from getting the flu or a cold. Eat healthy, stay away from sick people. Small children are germ factories and you don't have the strength in your immune system to ward off unnecessary germs that could make you sick. Wash your hands frequently, especially if you have been in contact with others. You can use hand lotion to add the moisture back into your hands and fingers. Keep your hands and fingers away from your mouth, eyes and nose. Use hand sanitizers if you prefer not to wash your hands often. If you travel or go out, be on guard for people that are coughing, sneezing, have a fever, ache all over .... and stay away from them. If you can't, then cover your mouth and nose til you can get away from them. If you happen to be on an airplane and someone is coughing and sneezing, turn the overhead vent above you so it blows away from your head and could keep the germs from coming closer.

During the flu and cold season, while going through treatment, you must be on guard to protect yourself from getting sick. You don't want to have to stop treatment because you are sick or too run down to continue. Nothing good will come from the delay. Cancer treatment is difficult enough without complicating it with the flu or a cold. The Holiday Season will be tough because many family and friend gatherings occur. So be aware of your surroundings and enjoy the  gatherings. Take your daily vitamines and increase your vitamine C during this period.
Stay warm, stay healthy, keep your sense of humor and never give up.