Managing Through The Holidays During Cancer Treatment

The holidays season is here! From shopping, cooking, decorating and gathering with friends and family, this time of the year is emotionally and physically exhausting for even the healthiest of people. It’s a time of celebration and connecting with loved ones, but the whirlwind of activities and expectations can be exceptionally difficult for those who are coping with the effects of cancer treatment. While it’s nearly impossible to skip the season entirely, there are many things that cancer patients can do to minimize their stress and fatigue.

Evaluate what holiday activities you can tolerate this year and communicate that to loved ones. If you’ve traditionally hosted the big family dinner, consider having a potluck or give someone else the opportunity to take on hosting duties. If going to the mall and shopping for hours is not feasible, then stay home and shop online. Establish new, less exhausting holiday traditions with close family and friends such as going to a restaurant or seeing a movie. Know your signs of physical fatigue and build in plenty of rest time.

Ask for help. Even if you want to be active and engaged in holiday activities, your energy level may not allow it.  Ask those close to you to assist with shopping, wrapping gifts, or preparing meals.  If you are struggling emotionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist. Speaking to a counselor or support group can help you deal with the overwhelming emotions and feelings of anxiety that may surface during this time of year.

Communicate with your medical team. Check your calendar to see what treatments or appointments you have during the holiday season. You may find that your health care professionals will try to work with your treatment schedule to facilitate your holiday plans. Informing your doctor about holiday plans can also help provide guidance and support in managing side effects appropriately. Your doctor may make dietary suggestions, offer advice on pain management or suggest counseling to deal with stress.

Prepare yourself and others if you are concerned about your appearance. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can cause hair loss, weight loss, or other side effects that may drastically alter your appearance. If you are worried about alarming someone who hasn’t seen you during your treatment, you can prepare them with a phone call or email. “I’m looking forward to seeing you for the holidays! I want to let you know that I may look a bit different during my cancer treatment, but I’m the same person!”

Practice self-care.Take plenty of time to rest, recharge and tend to your own needs.  Slow down the pace, take naps when you need to and maintain a healthy diet.

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12/19/18 | 0 comments | in Chemotherapy Wigs

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