How to Cope with Chemotherapy

Living with cancer is often stressful and difficult. There are many treatments available, and one of the most common is chemotherapy. Learning how to cope with chemotherapy and its side effects is very important in keeping your mental and physical well-being strong during such a sensitive time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you face chemotherapy cancer treatments. Senior man with doctor, nurse, therapist

Practice patience. Every chemo patient undergoes different levels of chemotherapy for different conditions and cancer types. Some may be on a small dosage of chemo for a short period of time; others may experience more exposure to the treatment. It’s important to understand what chemotherapy is and why its being administered. Everyone reacts differently to the treatment as well as side effects. Practicing patience can keep your mind calm and focused while receiving treatment.

Monitor fevers and infections. Because chemotherapy lowers the white blood cell amount, your immune system isn’t as fortified as it normally would be. The treatment may spark some fevers or mild infections. It’s important to pay attention to any changes in body temperature, pain or other symptoms. Keep a thermometer at home to take your temperature. If a fever does develop, contact your doctor immediately.

Prepare for hair loss. Many people prepare for this differently. Some may purchase a wig immediately while others cut their hair short so the visual transition is gradual. If you are purchasing a wig for the first time, it may be upsetting or stressful, so take a close friend or family member with you to help make it a positive experience. You can also be creative with hats and scarves.

Conserve your energy. There will be days when you are very tired, and you will learn to anticipate them. Try to schedule important activities on days when your energy level will be higher. On your low-energy days, take it easy and get plenty of rest.

Practice good nutrition. You may not have much of an appetite, but it is important that you feed your body. You may tolerate bland foods–such as crackers, bread, and rice–more easily than spicy or sour foods. However, be sure to incorporate protein so you stay strong. Ask a friend or family member to help you shop and cook meals ahead of time.

Find support. This is a very stressful time that may invoke bouts of anxiety and depression. It’s incredibly vital to have a strong support system to help during this period. Keep your friends and family close to you. Seek out local support groups for people going through the same type of cancer or treatment as you. Also reach out to survivors as sources of optimism and hope during your time of treatment.

Coping with chemotherapy can be a challenge, but remember that help is available to you. If you have any questions about treatment or support, you can contact our staff online at Plaza Medical Center. Should you need a question answered immediately, please contact us by phone at (817) 877-5292.

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