Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Listening To Your Body

Next to losing hair from treatments, the hardest thing for a cancer patient to deal with, is the loss of control. We expect to live our lives as we have done every day before the diagnosis. After all, the fight is going to be internal, not external. Therefore, we should be able to go through our daily activities as normal. If only that were true. And it can be, to a certain degree.

Once the conversation with patients goes through all the stereotypical questions, the next question I get asked is will I be able to do things? Of course you will. But you are really going to have to listen to your body. Whether chemotherapy or radiation treatment, a patient is likely to experience some form of fatigue. And it is important to recognize two things about fatigue. It will get better, and it is only temporary, though temporary as long as the treatment and perhaps a little bit further past the conclusion of the treatment.

But once the fatigue kicks in, it is important that you give your body the break it definitely needs. The fatigue is letting you know that it needs rest.

Simply put, if you feel you have the energy to put a new roof on your house, go for it. But if you do not have the energy to get up out of the chair to change the channel on the television (boy am I dating myself with that statement), then do not. But if you push yourself, you will put yourself at an even greater risk of much more severe fatigue, but also driving down your immune system, and possibly having an impact on your treatment schedule. We will all agree that is something that we do not want to see. The fatigue is temporary.

But listening to your body does not just apply to cancer patients, but anyone really. If you are not feeling well, by all means, get some rest. Do not wear yourself down.

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