You go through months of chemo, and you have a follow-up scan which show’s improvement. Hooray!
So now what?
An oncologist’s primary purpose is to slow the progression of cancer and improve your outlook. There are a few different treatments that you may continue with.
Yes, these treatments can help prolong your life. The bad news is that these treatments also cause side effects that can make your day-to-day life difficult.
Common side effects of metastatic breast cancer treatment include:
increased risk of infections
joint or bone pain
loss of appetite
nausea and vomiting
numbness or tingling
There are the obvious tips that can help with side effects from all cancer treatments, such as making sure that you get enough rest. The simplest tasks can wear you out very quickly. Drink fluids often. Drink even more water when you have any type of infusion.
Other tips to keep in mind.
Up your fiber intake –
Bowel movements might not be at the top of your list of concerns right now, but when you ‘can’t go for days at a time, ‘you’ll feel bloated, crampy, and miserable. Cancer treatment will most likely leave you constipated.
Add more fiber in your diet from fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods or take a fiber supplement. Stool softeners can also be helpful.
You most likely are not going to feel like but a ten-minute walk will help you feel better and actually have more energy.
This will help you sleep better as well as improve constipation. Start small when it comes to exercise.
Divide up your meals –
I have found eating smaller meals more often has always been helpful. You may have learned this when trying to control nausea.
Treatments can affect your appetite and cause mouth sores that make eating more difficult and painful. Because you need proper nutrition to help your body heal, try to eat smaller meals that are high in nutrients and protein. Include foods like peanut butter, whole-milk yogurt, milkshakes, and granola. You can also add nutritional drinks and snacks throughout the day.
Keep a notebook –
There is always an App for that! Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, the best way to be your own medical advocate is to keep track of your side effects. Honestly, it is difficult at times to determine what is a side effect of your treatment as well as your possible progression. By keeping track of what is going on with your body, you will have a better discussion with your oncologist.