During Chemotherapy our bodies experience so many changes. That is why is so very important to focus on staying healthy and strong.
At Be Uplifted Inc, our volunteers are breast cancer survivors, who have themselves experienced the hardship of Chemo. They appreciate firsthand the grueling impact breast cancer treatment can have on your body.
Co-Founder and President Wendy put together these tips to help others during this stage of a breast cancer journey.
Stick to a healthy diet
While many of us lose our taste buds during chemo, it is still important to eat and drink.
Try to follow a nutritious and balanced diet, like the Australian Guide To Healthy Eating and get plenty of fruit and vegetables, lots of grains and lean proteins like chicken, eggs, fish and meats, and some reduced fat dairy products.
It is common during breast cancer treatment to lose your appetite or experience other problems eating.
A healthy, balanced diet is your best protection against heart disease and diabetes. So if you are struggling with your diet, ask your doctor or breast care nurse to refer you to a dietitian for advice.
And although it may be tough, try to limit intake of those foods high in energy, saturated fat, sugar or salt. That means foods like biscuits, cakes and pastries, chocolates, lollies ice-creams, chips and fried foods and commercial takeaways.
Also, try to avoid alcohol and drinks containing added sugars such as soft drinks. Extra tough we know!
As part of a healthy and balanced diet, protein-rich foods are the most important for good nutrition. These foods contain the all the essential amino acids our body needs to repair damaged cells and make new ones.
While you may not be hungry, aiming to eat a small meal that is high in protein is the best way to ensure you are offering your body the nutrients it needs to work through the damaging effects of chemotherapy.
Sip on water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and also use electrolytes to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
Keeping up your water intake has many nutrimental benefits for the body, and there so much research that shows us that staying hydrated can influence cognition. Mild levels of dehydration can produce disruptions in mood and cognitive functioning.
And not having enough to drink can lead to problems like headaches and constipation, especially for those with chronic disease, like breast cancer.
Be kind to yourself
At times when you are low it is so important to do nice things for yourself, so remember to take some “Me Time”.
Whether this is getting your nails done, having a shoulder massage, or reading your favourite magazine with a coffee, taking time out to be pampered and be nice to yourself is vital during breast cancer treatment when your body is going through so many changes.
Focus on family and friends
Enjoy your time with your loved ones. Schedule short and practical outings and visits that you know you will be able to tolerate. Involve your family and friends as much as you are comfortable in your treatment, and try to continue your life as before your diagnosis as much as you can when you are feeling well – go out for lunch, meet up for coffee and enjoy your life. Take it day by day based on how you are feeling, not on your diagnosis.
Try to spend at least 20 minutes each day outside in the sun and fresh air.
Get your daily dose of Vitamin D for stronger bones from the natural sunlight. And of course, the sun is known to boost our levels of serotonin, a mood-lifting hormone triggered by sun exposure.
Go for a walk if you are up to it, lie out on a sunbed, or sit in your garden on a chair or blanket. Find the best way for you to feel a connection with the outside world and get your daily dose of happy.
Accept assistance from those who love you. During periods of illness, it is normal for our loved ones to want to show us that they care. Let those closest to you show you that they are there for you. Accept their gestures of love and support, and allow your family and friends to show in their own ways that you are important in their lives.
Be Uplifted Inc Co-Founder and President Wendy’s favourite act of self-love during her breast cancer treatment? Watch this video and find out!
Remember, if you are feeling low during your breast cancer treatment, the volunteers at Be Uplifted Inc are always available. Be Uplifted Inc is a unique breast cancer charity in that our volunteers are mostly breast cancer survivors, or family members of breast cancer patients, so they appreciate firsthand the breast cancer journey.
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