6 Tips for Pushing Through the Pain During Cancer Treatment

A cancer survivor shares six helpful tips for getting through the difficulties of cancer treatment.

Treatment, surgeries, symptoms and side effects… Along the cancer journey, there will inevitably be moments where you’re fighting through discomfort. And not just physical pain, you’ll also need to find ways to manage difficult emotions, like depression, frustration, impatience and boredom.

Over the years, I’ve acquired plenty of experience. Here are some tips I’ve picked up to help navigate these scenarios:

1. Take the drugs, track the drugs

For a while, I was scared off by all the addiction stories and held off using prescribed painkillers for as long as possible. But once I let go and embraced the meds, life got better. Just be sure to track how much you’re taking and work out a plan with your doctor. You can also try ice and heating pads or cannabis after checking with your doctor.

Caution: Watch out for unfiltered texting and posting. Oxycodone, for example, would hit me like five cups of coffee… It’s not quite the same as drunk texting but prepare yourself and remember, not every thought needs to be shared with the world.

2. If you can make it outside, do it

Sunshine. Nature… Soak it all up. Listen to the birds chirp, breathe that fresh air. Get out of the house! Your brain will thank you for the change of environment.

3. Enjoy your coffee

Not only do I love the taste, but the caffeine boost helped get me through the morning. Sometimes you’ve just gotta push through one chunk of the day at a time.

4. Keep entertained and distracted

Track down all those TV binges you’ve been meaning to get to, and if you’ve already run through everything, think outside the box: documentaries, classic rewatchables, or broaden your horizons with travel, cooking and history shows. Live concerts on YouTube really did the trick for me— music is magic!

5. If you’re lucky enough to have one, lean on your support system

Let your family, friends or caretakers know you’ll need help getting around and with basic functions like water refills, food prep, clean up and getting dressed.

6. Go easy on yourself

It’s easy to feel cranky and beat down when you’re not fully dependent, but self-compassion and patience are key during these periods. You may not have the attention span to keep up with your “to-do” lists or “should” lists… That’s OK. You need to rest up and recover before anything else.

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