Dealing with the stress of cancer is difficult, both for the patient and his or her family. Aside from the obvious worry and questions about the illness and treatments are the overwhelming details that must be handled regarding health insurance, medical appointments and financial concerns.
For the Patient
It’s OK to not be OK. Your mind and body are reacting to many new challenges, and if you feel sad, tired, confused, angry, lost, or afraid, it’s OK.
You may not think a support group is for you, but connecting with others going through similar situations, whether in person or online, can reinforce the idea that you’re not alone. And your insight might help someone else. Sometimes that is enough to make you feel more positive.
Give your body a break. Don’t push it. Give yourself permission to rest more by simplifying your routine. Treat yourself to massages, eat healthy and exercise as little or as much as you want.
Prioritize what’s really important to you and unplug from anything that causes undue stress.
Remember that your loved one is feeling very out of control, so sharing input in as many details and decisions as possible will keep the paths of communication open and ease stress between you.
Maintain a good support system of family and friends. Don’t become overwhelmed with the stress of caring for a family member with cancer.
Keep yourself healthy and watch for the warning signs of stress and depression – sleeplessness, irritability, forgetfulness and exhaustion to name a few.
Don’t let cancer related stress diminish the quality of life you or your loved ones deserve. The Issels Treatment® uses natural, alternative protocols, individualized for the patient’s health and well-being.
Attitude is everything whether the cancer diagnosis is for a family member, friend or you, the aftermath of diagnosis is often devastating. A range of emotions are soaring through your mind, and you’re wondering if you have what it takes to beat this disease. Fortunately, when you equip yourself with the right attitude, used in conjunction with traditional or alternative cancer treatment programs, you can build the strength necessary to fight with all you have.
Changing your attitude about any situation is difficult, and you’ll want to make sure to surround yourself with people who support your cause. Build a team of support whether it’s through family members, your church group or all of your best friends from college. Positive attitudes can have a profound effect on you well-being. Once you have found that group, you can also begin to focus on what it is that you are fighting for.
You might be fighting to live longer for your children, or you may be fighting because you don’t feel as though you’ve completed your journey here yet. Setting a goal and giving you a passion for the journey are two powerful tools. This positive attitude can also be tied to religion or spirituality. By connecting yourself to God or a higher power, you can tap into a powerful force that helps you to retain your positive “I can win” attitude.
Incorporating religion or spirituality of some type into your “I can win” attitude lets you know that you are not alone. Prayer and meditation can also be a part of your plan as you work to enhance attitude.
Consider using immune boosting programs to get your mind, body and spirit all in line with one another. No matter what your treatment plan is be sure to discuss all of your goals and ideas with your doctor first to ensure that you are moving in the “right” direction.
Last year Science magazine hailed immunotherapy as the medical “Breakthrough of the Year.” After decades spent trying to cut cancer out, poison it with chemicals and bombard it with radiation, cancer researchers are discovering that your body knows best! Increasingly, practitioners of Western medicine are joining Issels’ experts in integrative immunotherapy in recognizing the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer and heal itself.
Today, immunotherapy is being used successfully as both a primary cancer treatment and in conjunction with traditional Western treatments. When used as a primary treatment, integrative immunotherapy offers cancer patients an improved quality of life both during and after treatment. When combined with traditional treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy has been found to decrease the length of treatment and reduce toxic side effects.
For cancer patients, including integrated immunotherapy in their cancer treatment plan is a win-win scenario. Immunotherapy boosts the body’s natural defense system which helps your body fight cancer. But it also improves immune system strength and health, giving your body the resources it needs to keep cancer from coming back.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a traumatic event. Many patients experience extreme stress and anxiety and may succumb to depression as they struggle to deal with their diagnosis and subsequent treatment. While the effect cancer can have on the mental health of cancer patients is known, such issues seem to be considered peripheral and may be paid scant attention by many traditional practitioners.
Western medicine’s cancer treatment model has been criticized for having too narrow a focus that concentrates medical attention and resources almost entirely on the cancer treatment protocol while ignoring as secondary other important aspects of the patient’s health. Cancer patients pay a greater price than previously believed for this attitude.
The value of taking such a holistic approach to patient care by addressing the patient’s mental health during cancer treatment is the subject of a broad new study being funded by the National Cancer Institute.
“We can give people the best chemotherapy (and other treatments) in the world; but if we’re not checking in to see how they’re doing as people, we may not get the best results,” Georgia Anderson of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute, one of 18 facilities participating in the study, told USA Today.
For more than 60 years, Issels has taken such a holistic approach to cancer treatment. You are more than your cancer at Issels.
Yoga may help recovering breast cancer patients fight the fatigue and inflammation that follows surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Exercise is known to help alleviate post-treatment symptoms, but many cancer patients are simply too exhausted to participate in regular exercise. For these cancer patients, one option is low-impact hatha yoga which boosts strength and flexibility while enhancing mind-body awareness without taxing the body.
In a recently published study designed to test yoga’s benefits for cancer patients, Ohio State University researchers tracked 200 breast cancer survivors. According to a report on Boston.com, cancer patients who participated in 90-minute restorative yoga classes twice a week for 12 weeks following cancer treatment reported a nearly 50% reduction in fatigue. Blood tests of yoga participants also revealed a 15% reduction in three proteins that are markers for inflammation.
Interestingly, the study found that yoga continued to benefit cancer survivors even if they stopped participating in yoga after the initial test period. After six months, fatigue and inflammation continued to decrease with those who continued practicing yoga realizing the greatest benefits.
Yoga participants also benefited from improved sleep which study leader Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at OSU, linked to the decrease in inflammation. “Part of the idea with yoga and related kinds of practices is it may make people less stress-responsive overall. If you can turn down the thermostat in terms of reacting to stressors, you may be able to lower inflammation,” Kiecolt-Glaser told the Columbus Dispatch. Inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of cancer recurrence and spread.
Issels Integrative Oncology embraces a comprehensive strategy of non-toxic cancer treatment that encompasses body, mind and spirit to restore the body’s own immune system. Visit our website to find out more about our integrative immunotherapy cancer treatments.
When living with cancer you may find yourself too preoccupied to take part in activities you normally enjoy. It’s important to focus on taking time for yourself and improving your quality of life. Even small pleasures can make a big difference in maintaining a positive mental attitude.
Defining quality of life is highly personal. Only you can say what factors go into your ideal blueprint for living. Are you a social butterfly who loves spending time with family and friends? Maybe you’re more of a homebody who enjoys curling up with a good book.
No matter where your bliss lies, taking care of your emotional and physical well-being boosts your quality of life. Here are some helpful ideas that can be easily incorporated into your schedule.
Stress can greatly impact your health. Find a method that helps you relax and free your mind. Meditation is particularly effective because it teaches you to live in the present rather than deal with regrets of the past or fears of the future.
Keep your energy level up by including some moderate exercise in your daily routine. Walking and bike riding are fun activities that won’t even feel like a workout.
Challenge yourself to become educated about nutrition and try out what you learn in the kitchen. The Internet makes it easier than ever to find healthy, simple-to-prepare recipes. Take some cooking classes at a local community center and make some new friends along the way.
No one else’s story is the same as yours. Write it however you choose and continue finding joy in every day of the journey