Thrive During Treatment Continued

Nurture—and heal—yourself

Find new and better ways to take care of yourself—mind, body and soul. This is where true healing begins. Here are some ideas:

  • Visualize your chemo goal: Picture your cancer cells shrinking down to nothing and your normal cells springing back to full-color health.
  • Get a friend to power walk—or talk—with you three times a week.
  • Go to the movies, a concert or a show at the end of each chemo cycle. Celebrate every treatment step that brings you closer to great health.
  • Laugh, laugh, then laugh some more—it strengthens your immune system.
  • Get as much sleep as you can—and get plenty of hugs, too!
  • Try to exercise, especially if you were active before undergoing chemo.
Make fitness fun

A little aerobic exercise, some stretching and some resistance training (under supervision, of course) can keep you strong, fit and flexible, plus help speed your recovery. But what if you’ve never enjoyed exercise that involves laps, reps, mats or circuit training?

Well…what about dancing around your living room to some vintage Metallica, strategically planting chrysanthemums to create a huge smiley face on the lawn, or taking a whirl around the block on your kid’s dirt bike—in full leather regalia? All of these enjoyable activities are “exercise” in their own right. If you indulge on a regular basis, they’ll keep you feeling healthier and stronger throughout your chemo treatments.

The fact is, plenty of fun activities qualify as exercise. So shape an exercise program around things you enjoy. After all, if you’ve always loved dancing, you’re more likely to stick with a salsa class. To get started on fashioning a workout program that will actually work for you, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I enjoy social and/or vigorous workouts?
Then consider: Team sports, dance classes, martial arts, skiing, running, rollerblading.

Do I crave solitude and/or calm?
Then try: Yoga, exercise videos, walking, hiking, gardening, swimming.

If you like other activities that didn’t make this list, add them! Then pull together your top three or four choices, start plugging them into your schedule and go.

Look good, feel better

There’s nothing like a wolf whistle from someone you love—or just knowing you look good—to get you feeling better fast.

So if chemo side effects—hair loss, for one—are making you feel blah, know there is a lot you can do about it. A makeover, and all the attention that comes with it, can really lift your spirits.

That’s why the Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB) program was founded in 1989. It’s run by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation and enlists the services of cosmetologists across the country to offer free online cosmetic guidance at lookgoodfeelbetter.org, as well as in group settings nationwide.

If you want to explore the realm of wigs, scarves, hats and turbans, LGFB can provide great styling tips. The program’s cosmetologists also offer step-by-step skin care and makeup advice—online or in person.

Note: Your health insurance may even cover the cost of a wig if your doctor prescribes a “skull prosthesis.” You may wish to discuss this with your oncologist or oncology nurse.

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  Every Day Made Easy

Cancer and Your Career
You Survived Cancer…Now What?
Thrive During Treatment
7 Ways to Cope With Chemo
Accept Help with Open Arms
Your Online Cancer Network

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