Exercise, Diet and Sleep Patterns during Cancer

When it Isn’t All about Exercise, Diet,  and Sleep

Advice, admonitions and instructions for healthy living are well meant, and sometimes helpful. Those who care about us like to remind us to exercise, avoid junk food, maintain a healthy diet, and get enough sleep.

However, when dealing with cancer and treatment, these standards are rarely easy, and sometimes impossible.

One wise nurse told me to eat anything that sounded good, when I could, no matter what it was. Considering the treatment I would  go through, it was good advice.

I tried normally healthy foods but was unable to tolerate most. For a while I lived on thick milkshakes my hubby made with real ice cream, whole milk, and vanilla flavoring. Between bites, the shake stayed in the freezer and throughout the day, he offered me the thick mixture. I ate what I could, and the rest was returned to the freezer for later. On my best days I eventually ate an entire eight ounce shake. Exercise? To put my socks on was major. And sleep? There were days I couldn’t stay awake. Other days and nights, it was literally impossible to sleep. There was no pattern or solution. Resting comfortably was a rare treat.

Articles about healthy living through cancer saddened me. I wanted to have the optimism the writers had, but could not.  And I often listened to well-meaning advisors, knowing they simply didn’t understand.

When you are down, and others say you should be more proactive in matters of health habits, don’t allow it to frustrate you. If you can’t do as much as you or others want, be thankful that you are managing to carry on.

It may seem impossible that you will ever get back to normal. But some of us do return to a new normal, myself included. There are many survivors who have come to a new normal and love their life more than ever before.

Celebrate the small things. And plan for a better day, when you can move toward the healthy lifestyle you choose. Do this gradually. Let good be good enough for now, and build up toward your personal goal of healthy living when you are able.