It can be tough for patients to know what, exactly, to do for themselves during and after breast cancer treatment. What makes a difference? What doesn’t? In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we asked our Facebook fans, including many cancer survivors themselves, how patients can best take care of themselves while battling breast cancer. Read on for their insightful, helpful tips, and share your own in the comments below.
1. Being a nurse as well as a breast cancer survivor, I can’t stress the importance of being positive and continuing to live life as normal as possible. Don’t succumb to the diagnosis and think of it as a death sentence!
2. Keep organized. Get a binder and a hole punch and document all test results, med changes, appointments, etc. Also, take your own stuff to chemo. Comfy blankets, slippers, snacks, books, tablet, anything for boredom, candy to suck on to help nausea and bad tastes. Spice up your food. Spicy/tangy foods may taste better and cut down on the metallic/cardboard taste. Carnation Instant Breakfast tastes better than Ensure and Boost. Mix your own with the powder packets and use whole milk. Makes it taste thicker and creamier. Hope my tips and tricks help even one person, but hopefully more! Good luck and God bless! A positive attitude makes for better healing!
—Karrie Pletz Hockenberry
3. Do not neglect your soul. And accept the support of friends and family. This is for all cancer patients.
4. Be your own advocate and always, always, always make sure the nurse verifies with you that it’s the correct chemo. And any changes make sure you tell the nurse because the doctors don’t always!
—Dennise Giliberti Geiger
5. One of the things that helped me most during my battle with cancer was coming to understand that it was okay to be the patient. It is okay to not be the nurse all the time, and accept not only medical care, but also emotional and spiritual comfort from others. I didn’t have to be the “strong one” every minute of the day. It was okay to let medical staff help me instead of me trying to take care of everything such as making my bed every day I was in the hospital, waiting for staff to come in the room before asking for pain management even though I had been in pain for hours, etc.
6. Nutrition and rest; if you can’t eat organic fruits and veggies, juice it and drink it. Do whatever possible to get the best nutrition. Ask for and accept help. Stay positive and try to live life as best as you can.
7. Take time out for YOU. Make sure you get enough sleep so that your body has a chance to rest and restore.
—Paula Shackelford Peppers
8. Plenty of rest, positive thoughts and supportive people, and never put yourself down. You are human and you are loved.
What advice would you give patients, family and friends about taking care of themselves as cancer patients?