How to Recover from Chemotherapy
Many cancer patients think harder about chemotherapy than they do about cancer itself. However, the type and severity of any side effects will depend on the type and dose of chemotherapy you receive and how your body reacts to it. One thing you mustn't forget is that chemotherapy is your ally, it's your friend, and can save your life. Here are some tips on how to recover from chemotherapy and its side effects.
Aside from medical treatments, there are innovative complementary therapies which can help give relief to the patient. Although further, better treatment methods are still being investigated, serotonin antagonists, corticosteroids and inhibitors of NK-1 receptor are currently used.
Other complementary therapies can also help the patient, but they DO NOT REPLACE other medical treatments. Their clinical effectiveness is not fully proven, although they can help to relieve symptoms that derive from treatments, such as with acupuncture, acupressure (similar to the previous but with pressure from hands or elbows), relaxation techniques, music therapy or therapeutic use of cannabis (adopted by certain countries or regions).
When it comes to diet during chemotherapy and cancer, it is recommended you eat certain foods, but always follow the supervision of your doctor or nutritionist. To suppress feelings of nausea, it is advisable you drink cold and fizzy drinks as they can help slightly, particularly when taken in small but frequent amounts. Keeping properly hydrated helps to reduce this unpleasant feeling, but an excess of fluids tends to cause the opposite effect.
Chemotherapy can make you more prone to infections. This happens because most anticancer drugs affect the bone marrow, making it difficult to produce white blood cells (WBC), which fight many types of infections. Your doctor will check your blood cell count often while you are receiving chemotherapy. There are medicines that help speed the recovery of red blood cells, shortening the period of time that your white blood count is very low. These medicines are called colony stimulating factors (CSF). Raising your white blood cell count greatly lowers the risk of serious infection.
When it comes to emotions, it is important to know that when you talk about it with others, you'll definitely go through a grieving process. You'll probably reach a stage of resentment or hatred, where you simply don't have the energy to do things. However, you should consider being with your family, lean on them and those who make you feel good. People who surround cancer patients should cheer them up.
Fatigue - tiredness and lack of energy - is the most common symptom reported by cancer patients. The exact cause is not always known. This may be due to your disease, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, low blood counts, lack of sleep, pain, stress, and poor appetite, along with many other factors.
The fatigue from chemotherapy feels different to fatigue from everyday life. Fatigue caused by chemotherapy can suddenly appear. Patients with cancer have described it as a total lack of energy and describe their feelings of fatigue as they are 'worn out', 'exhausted' and 'wiped out'. Rest does not always relieve it. Not everyone feels the same kind of fatigue. You may not feel tired, while someone else does, or your fatigue may not last as long as someone else's. It can last days, weeks or even months. But severe fatigue does gradually go away as the cancer responds to the treatment.
Physical exercise will depend on each individual's circumstances. A qualified physical therapist can help you decide on the ideal exercise for your own circumstances. It's good to take a rest to improve any symptoms of fatigue, nausea and vomiting, but if it feels good, physical activity can be beneficial and can take the form of light walks, swimming or water aerobics which are highly recommended.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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- Other alternative therapies that have not been scientifically proven include hypnosis, aromatherapy, ginger (a highly traditional medicinal plant) and exercise. The mere fact that some of these therapies help relax the body after chemotherapy show they are highly beneficial.