Life After Chemo: Overcoming the Challenge

chemoBy Dr Suresh Babu

Cancer can be a life-changing moment and getting back to normal may take some time. Ideally, it’s best not to expect too much straight away. To begin with, it’s common to feel less positive or are still coping with treatment side effects.

A better understanding of Chemotherapy helps the patient cope up with the treatment. Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It can be given alone or with other treatments.All types of treatment can have different side effects. Know what to expect to help you find the best way for you to handle them.

Gradually, you may find you are get back to the routine you had before cancer treatment. Some people may have on-going physical effects following cancer treatment. In this case, you may find it takes some time to adjust to a new routine.

It is good if you decide to make some positive lifestyle changes after finishing treatment. This may include eating healthily, being more physically active, etc. Some people find that they can lead an almost normal life during chemotherapy. But others find everyday life more difficult.

You may feel unwell during and shortly after each treatment but recover quickly between treatments. You may find you can get back to your usual activities as you begin to feel better. If you are taking chemotherapy tablets at home, you may notice very little change to your everyday life. You may be able to work and carry on your usual social life. Some people manage by working part time or only between treatments. You may find that working helps you to cope with your cancer and distracts you. Or you may prefer to stop working while you are having your treatment. Some treatments are harder going than others, and everyone is different. So it is best to do whatever you feel is right for you.

As well as feeling unwell physically, it is not unusual for people to have ups and downs emotionally. It can be difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer and having treatment. So you may find you have good and bad days. Remember that there isn’t a right and a wrong way to be.

If you normally have a lot of energy, feeling tired all the time can be difficult. We know it isn’t easy, but it is worth trying to make a few changes to your daily life so that you don’t get too exhausted. If you are over tired, you may be more likely to feel sick and you will probably generally find it more difficult to cope. Listen to your body and rest if you need to.

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