Staying Strong during Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can can save your live, but it can take a toll. Learn how to manage it.

Maybe you're nervous about starting chemotherapy soon. Maybe you're in the middle of treatment and you're struggling to hang on. It's no secret that chemotherapy can produce some trying side effects. Don't give up hope! Whatever you're struggling through, there are ways to stay strong.

Decrease in Appetite
Has your desire for food completely vanished? This is a common side effect, but remember that you still need to eat. Your body needs fuel to fight! You can't stay strong if you're skipping meals. Try eating six small snacks a day instead of your usual three meals. A few bites here and there are easier to tackle than a plate full of food. Staying hydrated and at least mildly active can also help bring your appetite out of hiding.

Unusual Bowel Movements
It can go either way; some chemotherapy patients struggle with constipation, and others get hit with diarrhea. If everything is getting stuck, trying drinking more water, eating more fiber, and getting more physical activity. Diarrhea can be triggered in chemotherapy patients when they eat big meals, or consume dairy, fried foods, spicy foods, broccoli, or cauliflower. Foods that are easier on your stomach include bread, bananas, rice, applesauce, peanut butter, oatmeal, eggs, and potatoes.

Don't let chemotherapy put you on permanent bed rest. Yes, you will need extra time to recover and recuperate throughout the day, but you also need at least a mild exercise routine to keep you strong and relatively energized. Try going for a walk, riding a stationary bike, or taking part in a gentle yoga class.

The St. Petersburg General Hospital health library can teach you more about what to expect from chemotherapy treatments. If you have additional questions, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5122. Our lines are always open.

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