A woman practicing yoga, She is surrounded by images of fresh, healthy foods

Staying as Healthy as Possible (Part 1)

Cancer beats up our bodies and then we get treated with some type of chemotherapy, radiation, etc. which beats it up even more. It’s hard to tell which is worse sometimes. I watched my daughter Crystal go through her bouts of tiredness, night sweats, and pain before finding out she had Hodgkin lymphoma. Then she started treatments and all the symptoms she had experienced not only became worse, but there were even more. She suffered from neuropathy, nausea, restlessness, depression, mouth sores, and mouth dryness just to name a few. So what can you do to help? It’s a tough question with a very complex answer, but basically, whatever you can.

Eating in a healthy way

I believe the best thing we can do for ourselves is to nourish our bodies with the best food. Having a healthy diet is always important, but after a cancer diagnosis, it becomes even more necessary. I think organic foods should be number one on the list. Some research suggests pesticides can be a carcinogen, so I avoid them. Of course, I eat fruits and vegetables in large portions - I’ve never heard of anyone eating too much of this! Lastly, I try to eat meat, eat ocean-caught fish, and pasture-raised meats in moderation. I think eliminating or cutting down on processed foods, sugar, and dairy is important and also extremely helpful to our bodies.

While Crystal was in treatment, eating certain foods was difficult. Some made her nauseous and some hurt her mouth because of the sores or dry mouth she experienced. For the most part, she did eat a healthy diet, but it wasn’t perfect. All you can do is the best you can.

For me, exercise is a must

Movement is life, I believe we need to move. During and after treatment this may be difficult, but even taking a short walk or just getting out in the fresh air and sun can be beneficial. It will make you feel good by giving your mood a boost and can help you to sleep a little better. Walk with a friend if this motivates you. Keeping up your strength is extremely important. Rest as needed, but move as often as you can. One more tip - I’ve read how walking barefoot (grounding) and connecting to the earth can also be beneficial. If it’s nice out - give it a try!!

Crystal was extremely sick the week after treatments and could barely get out of bed for most of the week. But by the second week, she was usually much better. She got out and took walks often. They weren’t long walks, but they got her out of the house, into the fresh air, and gave her a change of scenery. This helped to improve her mood a lot. She enjoyed having company on her walks when she could and this really helped her to feel better. Movement is necessary and will work wonders as you heal.

During and after treatment

There is so much going on during and after treatment. There are appointments, schedule adjustments, and a totally new way of life you’ll need to adjust to. It can be overwhelming and you may not be concerned about exercise or watching your diet, but you should be. You want to be strong and continue to help your body be the best it can be as you work on ridding your body of the cancer or thriving with it. It will make a world of difference with how you feel.

Check back for part 2, which will include information about sleep and stress.

Wishing you health & happiness!

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