Chemotherapy is one of the most popular ways physicians treat patients with mesothelioma, often combined with other forms of treatment for more effectiveness. Once your treatment is over, although the biggest part of the battle is done for now, your body needs time to recover. Although each person’s recovery time is different, there are many things you can be prepared for to make your recovery time as easy as possible.
Feeling Tired After Treatment
Many people report feeling especially tired after undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Feeling fatigue is one of the most common side effects after chemotherapy, and unfortunately, extra rest and sleep doesn’t seem to cure it. The time it takes to get over feeling fatigued will vary from one person to the next, but according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, there are a number of things you can do to help get through this tiring process. Keep in mind that you need to speak with your physician before trying the following tips:
- Exercise and include brisk walks in your daily schedule
- Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and drinking more fluids
- Take nutritional supplements or prescribed medications that can help with energy
- Consider going to physical therapy and occupational therapy
Other tips to help battle fatigue after chemotherapy include:
- Plan your daily activities ahead of time, and try to get exercise during the times when you are the most active and feel the best.
- Accept help when offered. For instance, allow loved ones to help you with cleaning, cooking, and other chores.
- Don’t be afraid to tell others “no” if you do not feel up to activities or social functions.
- Try to maintain a schedule of going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day and night.
Pain After Treatment
Pain is often present after chemotherapy treatment. There are various different kinds of pain you may feel, including:
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Scar pain (if you underwent surgery in connection with chemotherapy)
- Burning feeling to the skin or skin sensitivity
Fortunately, there are medications that can help you deal with pain. Be certain to speak with your physician regarding the pain medication that’s right for your situation. In addition, consider alternative treatments such as natural healing herbs and acupuncture. Physical therapy can also help you deal with pain, especially tingling and numbness.
Mouth and Teeth Issues
Certain types of chemotherapy cause mesothelioma patients to experience a number of different mouth and teeth issues, including:
- Pain in the mouth and gums
- Change in sense of taste
- Dry mouth
- Mouth infections
- Stiffness in the jaw area
Physicians suggest chewing sugarless gum, drinking lots of water, and sucking on ice cubes to get through mouth and teeth issues. Furthermore, always keep your dental appointments and if you have cavities, it’s important to keep them taken care of as soon as possible.
Additionally, use a soft toothbrush only when brushing your teeth, along a with a mild type of toothpaste, such as children’s toothpaste. Some doctors suggest rinsing out your mouth a few times a day with a mixture of 1/4 tsp. of baking soda and 1/8 tsp. of salt. Stir the mixture into a cup of warm water and swish in your mouth thoroughly before spitting the mixture out.
Many chemotherapy patients may also experience difficulties in swallowing. In turn, you may need to change your diet to soft food and liquids until the side effects subside. For example, consider eating foods such as soups, sugar-free ice cream and pudding, applesauce, and soft fruits such as bananas. For solid foods, use a blender to soften them into casserole dishes or soups.
Nausea is one the common side effects of chemotherapy, but sometimes the nausea persists well after chemotherapy treatment is complete. To help battle the urge to throw up, try to avoid strong odors as much as possible, eat small meals, and use relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation. If the nausea is extreme, your doctor may prescribe you something to help control it.
Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
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