Sunday, 27 November 2011

Living Healthy After Cancer

I was approached by a gentleman called Trevor Bradshaw who requested to be a guest speaker on my blog.... Having read his article there seems an almost logical approach to living as a survivor of cancer and I reckon as someone who is suffering from cancer. There is no evidence to say healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle will cure cancer however you will feel a lot better for the suggestions in the article....I am on a health kick whilst resting from chemo (it was hurting me more than the cancer) and I can honestly say I have never felt better so am prepared for what is to come as best I can be.....

A cancer diagnosis and the related treatment can leave many survivors feeling betrayed by their body. Survivors might also live in fear that the cancer will return or that they might never regain their previous good health. It is essential for former cancer patients to live a healthy lifestyle following cancer treatment in order to regain strength, improve mood, decrease anxiety levels, and even reduce the risk of recurrence of the cancer.

Nutrition and eating habits are an important aspect of staying healthy. During cancer treatment, many people are unable to eat a healthy diet and may even have negative reactions to food following months of nausea and vomiting. However, healthy eating is one of the best ways to regain health and restore the body’s lost nutrients.

The recommendations for a cancer survivor’s diet are very similar to the recommendations for the general public. The patient should eat a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. In addition, eating a diet free from chemicals and processed foods can offer further protection from the negative effects of the standard UK/ American diet.

Plant-based diets are shown to be imperative in lowering the risk of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A whole grain, low sugar diet based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is a healthy option. In addition, it is recommended that all people, and especially cancer survivors, research appropriate dietary supplements, including vitamin D and Omega-3 oils.

In addition to diet, an exercise regimen can help the patient regain lost muscle mass and lower the level of fatigue the survivor feels. Exercise can also improve cardiovascular functioning and lower the patient’s levels of anxiety and depression. Because the cancer patient may not have had the energy levels to exercise during treatment, beginning very slowly with even ten minutes a day of light walking can help. Gradually build up to daily exercise of at least thirty minutes each day. Be sure to make exercise fun and motivating by choosing a favorite activity and getting friends and family involved in daily workouts.

Every healthy lifestyle also involves reducing risk-taking behaviors. A cancer survivor should make every effort to quit smoking if he or she smokes, avoid illegal drugs, and lower the level of alcohol consumed. Avoiding exposures to smoke, chemicals, and toxins can also help to keep the body healthy.

Finally, the cancer survivor should make sure he or she has a strong emotional support system. Following cancer treatment, the patient may face depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress. Finding a support person or therapist to speak to, as well as learning stress management techniques can help the patient maintain positive mental health, as well as physical health.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Please support Chemo patients!

Macmillan are putting their weight behind efforts to stop DWP make cancer patients undergoing chemo attend work related interviews. 

Please copy and paste the link above into your browser and if you want to help please fill in your details for this petition....two minutes of your time for this important cause!


Tony xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

CT Scan today

Hi All,

Quick update...

I sort of had my CT scan today and am hoping it works okay. Firstly you drink about a litre of water then when that has passed into your system you are taken to the CT scanner. At Chesterfield they have a portable one on the back of an artic lorry with all the high tech that is needed. Before they scan you they have to put in a big cannular so as to inject some contrast liquid to assist your veins showing up on the picture.

Unfortunately it took about 30 minutes for the cannular to be put in my arm and then when it was time to inject the contrast liquid it went into my arm instead of into my vein so made my arm swell up...

Thankfully some went into the vein so I will have to wait for the scan to be properly reviewed to see if it needs to be retaken!

Oh well, stuff happens... :-)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

Fran and I have been having a chat today as to the decisions I am going to have to make. There is no more time to put them off...

As most of you know I have an ulcer just inside my colon on the site where the previous surgery to join the two areas together. As I am taking a breather from Chemo the side effects have started to slow down a bit so the primary area of concern is the pain in the ulcer. The pain is pretty much under control but it is frustrating for me that had I not developed the ulcer I would be feeling pretty good.

The reason the decision is crucial in my current treatment plan relates to the fact that I shortly will be at the point where I have been off Avastin for 6 weeks, which I need to be before any further surgery can be effected. Avastin prevents wounds healing and new blood vessels developing which are needed for the healing process.

Therefore the decision relates to should I have surgery on the ulcer to remove a reasonably sized section of my large colon, thus removing the ulcer and any further need for pain relief that I am currently taking. The surgery would unfortunately leave me with the requirement for a permanent Colostomy at the same time as removing the current pain and pain relief drug regime.

It all sounds sensible but I still have the memory of the last similar surgery I had in January 2010 which put me in hospital for 7 painful weeks due to complications instead of the usual 1-2 weeks. Also due to a stitch falling out of my colostomy the output came out below the skin line so the colostomy bag leaked constantly leaving the area very sore. However I do understand there are ways to ensure this time things will be better.

I am to have my CT Scan next Weds 16Nov to check progress of the Chemo, we will review the results which will determine how long the rest from Chemo will be, so lots to consider.

I am sure with prayer and Fran's help the right decisions will be made.

Much Love to all

Tony xxx

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The latest - 03rd November 2011

Hi All,

I have returned from my oncologist appointment today...Dr F my usual oncologist was not around so I spoke with a lovely registrar instead. Sometimes when you see a registrar and not the person who sets your mind at ease, your heart sinks a little but today she did a great job!

I took Fran with me today as my mind is a little wobbly and she helps to fill in the gaps :-)

The outcome is as follows...

Due to the fact the chemo is finally started to take its toll we agreed that a breather from the treatment would be in order....we haven't decided for how long..that will be determined after the results of my next CT scan are in and reviewed - The CT scan is due in the next couple of weeks after-which I will make an appt with Dr F via her secretary.

The symptoms I am currently exhibiting apart from the usual are blood in my urine, burning pain when having a wee (could be another infection). Difficulty walking and standing, night sweats (Fran reckons it could be the menopause)...Severe tiredness, multiple occurrences of severe diarrhoea which leaves me dehydrated (I have a supply of diaorylite).

The brilliant Macmillan Nurse H has just called me to let me know that my blood test has come back clear apart from a slight raise in white cell count. I am to call her Monday to get the results of my murky sample I dropped off today....I have already had two lots of anti-biotics ...I will update you on Monday as to the results etc.

So hopefully the rest from the chemo (Irinotecan) and biological warfare (Avastin) will allow me some normality although don't want a rest for too long and allow the nasty cancer to grow!!!

My prayers are with my dear friend Carole who has been following my illness in a similar direction for the past couple of years...unfortunately a cancerous lump (secondary) has been located in her spine which is currently being investigated...she is a brave soldier and quite often shows me the way in this dark tunnel we travel in!

Much Love and Prayers to you all

Tony xxxx