Advice for thriving during cancer treatment.
For most people, change isn’t easy. And if you or a loved one has ever received the news of a cancer diagnosis, you know it can turn your world upside down. When everyday life seems to revolve around treatment, appointments, and medication, it’s easy to feel discouraged, frightened, or overwhelmed.
But it can also be a reminder to live life to the fullest and make each day special. That’s why we asked the experts — Kettering Health Network’s Patient Advisory Council, everyday people who have faced cancer diagnoses—to share their advice for navigating cancer treatment and life after cancer. The council was involved in every stage of planning for the new Kettering Cancer Center. Here’s what they said:
- Give yourself permission to say no to the people or the things that drain your energy or drain your soul. Everything is an exchange of energy. Learn to say no to things that don’t fulfill you.
- Give yourself permission to feel anger, joy, peace and frustration.
- Manage your stress by setting aside time to focus on peace, energy and healing.
- Enjoy nature. Studies show that being in nature, or even the perception of being in nature, helps the body relax and heal. Get outside if you can, or enjoy indoor plants and flowers.
- Get plenty of rest. Treatment can take a toll on your body, making you feel more tired than normal. Give yourself time for breaks.
- Regular light exercise can help you feel less anxious and fatigued and improve your appetite.
- Treatment can affect your tastes and appetite, but it’s important to get a protein- and calorie-rich diet to help your body recover.
- Include intentional moments of joy in your day. Find things that you like, that make you happy, that give you peace—whether it’s reading a book, taking a bath, calling a friend, going for a walk, or just looking at nature. Whatever it is that brings you joy, incorporate it into your life each day.
- Treatment may be long and difficult. Celebrate each day and each treatment as an accomplishment.
- Remember that you are not alone. There are people who have gone through cancer before you and will help you through this journey. Draw on those who will energize you and give you that love and support that you need.
- Your family and friends go through a cancer diagnosis with you. Be honest with them. Let them help you.
- Turn to a Higher Power or people of faith to find comfort and encouragement.
“We are mind, body, spirit,” says Jennie Stockslager, a five-time ovarian cancer survivor and a Patient Advisory council member with the Kettering Health Network. “At first, I didn’t nurture all three. Learning to do that made the difference.”