Taking care of yourself beyond colorectal cancer treatments
We are here for you every step of your journey because we know tomorrow can’t wait.
Everyone knows the rule when flying with children to put your oxygen mask on first before putting it on your child. The same is true for patients and caregivers. You must take care of you first; otherwise, the whole plane can go down!
- Try to exercise each day. A simple 30-minute walk has been proven in studies to reduce the risk of recurrence by more than 50%. Those with active disease live longer too.
- Eat as healthy as you and drink plenty of fluids.
- Rest. A 20-minute cat-nap can do wonders.
- Sit quietly for 20 minutes, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
- Find good meditation tapes on the internet – some are only 3-5 minutes long.
- Read, do puzzles, color. These activities can lower blood pressure.
- Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, facial or haircut.
- Take up a hobby. Maybe you knitted or did woodwork years ago, try it again!
- Allow yourself to have a pity party when you are feeling overwhelmed. A good cry releases negative energy.
- It’s ok to spend a day in bed but if you are depressed and find yourself in bed a lot, it’s time to talk to your doctor about depression and ways to manage it.
- Be mindful of the good in your life. Write down 3 things each day you are grateful for.
- Try yoga, reike, acupuncture. (many cancer centers now offer these complementary therapies)
- Massage is key to managing stress. This is especially good for single patients who do not have enough human touch in their lives.
- Schedule time with friends and family to have activities on the calendar to look forward to. Meeting for coffee, lunch or shopping can help you feel less alone.
- Take a hot bath with candles.
- Try to spend time in nature as often as you can. Find a good hike, walk around a lake, or visit the beach if you’re lucky to live close to one.
- Find a good therapist who specializes in cancer patients, families.
Working together to improve quality of life
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with a serious illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage, and can be combined with curative treatment. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a terminal diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and family.
Palliative care is provided by a team of physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals who work together with the primary care physician, referred specialists and other hospital or hospice staff to provide additional support.
Although it is an important part of end-of-life care, it is not limited to that stage. Palliative care can be provided across multiple settings including hospitals, at home, as part of community palliative care programs, and in skilled nursing facilities.
The recommendations on this page are based on literature from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.