There’s no greater sense of victory than having conquered cancer. This horrendous disease that sought to devastate your body and jeopardize your future is no longer present in your recent scan. While cancer patients feel a tremendous amount of relief in having completed treatment successfully, that treatment can have damaging effects on your overall health.
Chemotherapy, radiation, or other approaches can leave your body feeling nowhere near the norm that you were used to prior to that treatment. However, you can now create a new normal, coming back stronger and healthier than ever before.
Chemotherapy can leave you feeling weaker, and unable to carry out simple physical tasks. However, experts encourage a structured regimen for cancer survivors to get back to working out. Workouts should become a part of regular activity, with most specialists recommending at least 150 minutes of some form of physical activity per week to help not only rebuild muscle strength and improve cardiovascular health but combat mental health issues like anxiety and depression. This includes a regimen of strength training at least two days out of the week that can help you rebuild post-treatment.
Of course, running or going to the gym is further complicated by COVID-19, with mask mandates requiring face coverings in public and the need to social distance. A breathable mask for running is paramount to protect you from contracting the coronavirus while keeping things lightweight, so that you may breathe easy and not have to deal with too much discomfort.
Compared to cloth masks or surgical masks, breathable face masks made from bamboo allow for comfort through layers of fabric that make running around the neighborhood as easy as a jog to the grocery store. Be sure to invest in masks with adjustable ear loops that won’t slip off and force constant fixing when you’re trying to focus on exercising.
Keeping up with overall health after cancer treatment includes maintaining a better diet going forward. While it’s not known if any particular foods or nutrients can prevent the recurrence of cancer, studies show low-fat diets and diets rich in fruits and vegetables have definitely benefited survivors in the long run.
Beyond fruits and vegetables, be sure to choose healthy fats and carbohydrates. Healthier fats include fish and walnuts, while legumes and whole-grain promote healthy carb consumption. Be sure to also select proteins that are low in saturated fat, including eggs and lean meats. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a treat every now and then, but of course, everything in moderation.
After dealing with radiation and chemotherapy, it’s important to talk to your doctors about a treatment plan going forward. The goal of this treatment plan is, above all else, to monitor recurrence.
Be sure to evaluate the best options with your primary care physician and oncologist that will keep you on a regimen of regular visits, shortly weaning those down as your overall health improves following cancer treatment. Medical professionals will encourage regular blood evaluations, as well as EKGs, or electrocardiograms, to monitor cardiovascular wellness and test results.
With fears over the spread of COVID-19, in-person visits are not as frequent as usual. However, cancer care telemedicine provides the opportunity to talk with your doctors from the comfort of your home. You can receive medical advice and have a virtual visit during a telemedicine appointment. Most insurers and insurance companies have allowed patients the use of telemedicine during the pandemic, with the important thing being that survivors get the care they need.
Telemedicine appointments can be conducted via computer or smartphone, and video conferencing and telehealth services can be provided by a variety of medical professionals, including oncologists.
You absolutely should be proud of your victory over cancer, but diligently taking care of yourself afterward is vital to regaining control over your life.