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Best Way to Approach New Years Resolutions for Mesothelioma Patients

new-yearsFacing a disease such as malignant mesothelioma means tackling some major changes in life. At Kazan, McClain, Satterley, Lyons, Greenwood & Oberman, we want you to know that just because you have this illness doesn’t mean you have to forget about annual holiday traditions, such as making New Year’s resolutions.

Admittedly, this may be a tricky venture. Most people’s resolutions are related to improving their health: better diet, smoking cessation, weight management, and so on. When you have cancer, such as mesothelioma, such resolutions are wonderful ideas.

The pitfall with resolutions is people’s tendencies to break them. Some individuals are not bothered if they fall into this trap, but others may get down on themselves and feel their self-esteem wear down.

There are several ways to avoid this and look forward to the new year with your head held high.

Self-reflection can do you a world of good
Making promises is the easy part. Keeping them is a whole other story.

Experts from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center point out that keeping a New Year’s resolution requires more than willpower. In fact, it takes some prep work before a resolution is even made.

In order to avoid the emotional fallout of not being able to keep a resolution, it may be helpful to do some self-reflection about why your goal is so important and whether it’s worth the trouble. After such a reflection, you may realize you are not ready to make this resolution, and that’s okay. But if at some point you feel you are ready, you have to consider whether you have the skills and social support to follow through.

What resolutions should you make, and how do you keep them?
For those living with mesothelioma, the usual resolutions to live a healthier life – nutritious food, more exercise and smoking cessation – are classics for a reason: they make you feel better. Eating more fruits and vegetables will help manage your weight and deliver vitamins that support your immune system. Physical activity may keep your muscles functional while helping your body to take in more oxygen.

And when you have a respiratory disease, giving up smoking is a no-brainer.

In order to improve your success in keeping your resolution, it helps to be as specific and realistic as possible. Instead of saying, “I’m going to exercise more,” tell yourself, “I’m going to go walking after breakfast for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.” Remember that beginning new habits takes time, and seeing results may be a slow process. Start out gradually, and try to keep a positive and patient attitude.

Also, you should make sure you’re doing things you enjoy. If you want to consume more vegetables, make sure you’re eating produce that you actually like.

You can also boost your success by scheduling a day to start your resolution, and making preparations before that day. For example, if you’re going to quit smoking, take the time to get rid of all of your cigarettes and talk to your doctor about nicotine cessation aids.

It can be easy to get derailed by changes in your schedule caused by illness or a vacation. You can plan ahead for such situations, though. If your resolution involves dieting, keep healthy meals on standby in the freezer so you don’t have to cook. If you’re trying to exercise more, try to schedule a workout session during your vacation ahead of time

Nutritional Information for Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer Patients

healthy food choicesHaving mesothelioma or lung cancer can be exhausting at times, and so is caring for a family member who has either one. Still, you can rest easy knowing that you have untiring patient advocates waiting for you at Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley.

In our nearly 40 years of experience helping people make informed legal and medical choices, we have learned that there are many ways to approach cancer care. Whether you’re a patient or a concerned caretaker, one thing that can help keep your body strong and your spirits high is good nutrition.

When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, it is easy to let their (and your) diet go out the window. Here are some of the things we’ve learned over the years about keeping up the nutritional end of care.

For caretakers:

If you’re going to care for a friend or loved one, you’ll need to take care of yourself too. Eat three square meals a day. You may want to eat slightly more than usual (especially extra fruits, vegetables, whole grains or protein) since you’re probably burning more energy now. If you spend long hours in the hospital, skip the snack machines in favor of a good half-hour in the cafeteria. You might be surprised how refreshing it is to eat a real meal.

For patients:

In a way, our advice for you is almost no different. Dealing with illness is taxing on your body and mind, so eating wholesome foods can help you stay optimistic and energetic.

However, keep in mind that having mesothelioma or lung cancer can change your body’s needs.

To start, being diagnosed with the condition may leave you feeling sad or stunned. For a while, your appetite may drop off. During this time, lean on your friends a little. They may bring you hot meals or casseroles to show you that they love you. Try eating some. You’ll probably find that you’re hungrier than you thought.

Mesothelioma and lung cancer can also hit your appetite hard even before your diagnosis. These illnesses sometimes cause what’s called “cachexia,” which is loss of appetite, thinness and exhaustion, all rolled up into one. Cachexia can be a early sign of mesothelioma or lung cancer.

While you’re being treated for your illness, your appetite will probably stay low for a while. This is because chemotherapy, radiation treatment and recuperation from surgery can all make it hard to want to eat anything.

Tips for getting nutrition during treatment

  • Eat many small meals instead of three big ones.
  • Take little bites. This can help you digest food and keep it down.
  • If you’re nauseated, wait a while before trying to eat.
  • Drink plenty of water, but don’t overdo it. If you fill up on fluids, you’ll have little room for any food.

Related articles:

Strategies for Coping with a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Mesothelioma and Pain: What to Expect and How to Manage It

Mesothelioma and Exercise: What Patients Should Know About Physical Activity

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