Helping yourself when you're having chemotherapy
There are things you can do which may make your course of chemotherapy treatment easier to cope with.
People often talk about having a positive attitude. This doesn’t mean being cheerful and happy all the time. When you’re coping with a serious illness, it’s normal to feel worried and low sometimes. Accepting that you’ll have days when you don’t feel positive is part of coping with the cancer.
Knowing more about the cancer and the side effects of your treatment may help you feel more in control. You may have questions about the effects of chemotherapy on the cancer and your life in general. Getting information and answers to these questions can help to reduce anxiety.
If you don’t understand the explanations given to you by your doctors or nurses, then keep asking questions until you do. Most doctors and nurses are very willing to answer any questions and to keep you up-to-date on your progress.
Keeping a journal or blog
You may find it helpful to keep a diary, journal or blog (online journal) of your treatment. This can have a practical use, as well as letting you express your feelings. If you record any side effects you have, this will help you to tell your doctor or nurse how things have been for you in between your appointments.
It’ll also help you to see how things change when different medicines are used. Changes to reduce side effects can often be made by using this kind of information.
As your journal develops, you may find it encouraging to look back at how you coped during previous difficult times. A private diary also allows you to write down anything that may be difficult for you to talk about. Sometimes it can be used to help you prepare to speak to someone about a problem, or it can be used to describe anger or sadness that you feel you can’t express in any other way.
You can create your own blog, chat to people and watch videos on our online community.
Taking some gentle exercise, such as walking, or more if you feel up to it can give you more energy and reduce stress. It’s something positive you can do with family and friends.
After chemotherapy is over it can help with your recovery and reduce the risk of some late effects of chemotherapy.
We have a section about physical activity and cancer, which you might find helpful