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Updated: Aug 13, 2023

If you or a loved one is recovering from cancer treatment, I am sure this image will resonate with you.

Healing is not linear image

After cancer treatment has finished, healing takes time and progress is not usually linear. Many people describe taking “two steps forward and one step back” and will say things like “I was doing so well, what did I do wrong!?”

The answer is that you did absolutely NOTHING wrong, and this experience is completely NORMAL.

Recovery will depend on many factors, including the type of treatment you have undertaken, your age, the presence of other health conditions, and your general level of fitness. I encourage my clients to allow themselves a calendar year to feel more like themselves again. Some side effects may be permanent and learning a ‘new normal’ is common for many.

In addition to eating well, sleeping well, moving regularly, and getting out in nature, here are some tips to enable healing in the first few weeks and months after treatment:

  • Practice self-compassion – be gentle, kind and understanding with yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend who is having a difficult time.

  • Triage and prioritise your activities – accept that it’s not going to be possible to do everything. Decide on a couple of priority tasks and anything else you achieve is a bonus.

  • Pace yourself – a moderate pace is better than rushing through activities.

  • Find ways to reduce your daily decisions and make tasks easier to do – decisions are exhausting! Plan the weeks evening meals on the weekends so you have no decisions to make on the day. Automate what you can e.g., saved lists, recurrent purchases, birthday reminders. Co-locate items together e.g., pens, paper, and planners so you don’t spend energy looking for them. Remember to schedule some time for rest each day.

  • Accept offers of help – friends and family members are often desperate to help, they just don’t know how. Be specific e.g., fetch an item from the shops or pick the kids up from school. This means you get the help you really need.

If you would like cancer nutrition support, advice and encouragement to catalyse your recovery after cancer treatment, please get in touch with us at The Cancer Dietitian for a consultation. I would be delighted to help you.

T: 020 8064 2865

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