If you are undergoing treatment for breast cancer, exercise and nutrition may be the furthest thing from your mind. There are many anti-nausea drugs that are helpful, but even still, just mild nausea can be enough to ruin your appetite, diet, and motivation to exercise.
To regain arm strength after breast cancer surgery, it is very important that you do your exercises every day and gradually extend your reach until you have a full range of motion. Many women recommend doing the exercises in the shower with the warm water running, allowing the muscles to move more freely. Eventually, you can work up to using the arm for more common chores around the house, like dusting, writing, or weeding.
If you live near a warm pool, take a water exercise class. Water provides a different resistance (that you do not get on land), and oftentimes many pools have classes specifically designed for women recovering from breast surgery. Contact the American Cancer Society’s local chapter in your area to find out if there is a class near you.
Try to do a little something every day that is active. Walking and bicycling are shown to work well for many women recovering from surgery. A 30-minute walk daily can brighten your mood and make you strong over time. If you enjoy biking, wait until your arm has healed and get back on the bike for brisk rides.
Many people find that the trick is to convince themselves to work out a little every day. If you aim to work out a set number of days a week, you might find that you forget, and a week or more slips by with no exercise. If you plan to work out every day, and you occasionally miss a day, you are less likely to slip off the program altogether. Just being active on a daily basis can make all the difference in staying in shape after breast cancer surgery.
Getting Good Nutrition
A great way to get some quality nutrients into your diet is by making a smoothie. There are plenty of online recipes available for you to look at and get some ideas. Also, if you are really having a problem eating, a supplement drink like Ensure or Slimfast can be added to your smoothie for added nutrition.
During treatment, many people find that softer, cooler foods are the most appealing, and this is a good time to explore the many products on the yogurt shelf of your grocery store (that may appeal to you). Also, experiment with healthy comfort foods, like mashed sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, or try some oatmeal or a warm cup of soup.
Don’t wait until mealtime to eat. When you feel like eating, take that opportunity to eat. Work your schedule around your appetite as best you can. If you find that you have a better appetite in the morning, make that your bigger meal and then have a lighter snack at night.
Be sure to drink lots of water throughout your treatment, as you need the extra fluids to flush away toxins in your body. If you find that water causes a problem with your stomach, try drinking green tea or iced tea.
It is difficult to eat healthy during treatment, but it is worth your best effort, as you need the nutrients to build your strength and hold up during the side effects of treatment. It has been shown that people with good nutrition withstand chemotherapy better, and you will feel better afterwards as well.