As Autumn gives way to winter, many people in the U.S. take this time to enjoy the holidays and reflect on the past year. In late November, Thanksgiving often involves cooking indulgent meals, enjoying good wine and counting one’s blessings.
For cancer patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as their caregivers, this may be a challenging time, both physically and emotionally. However, at Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley, we’re committed to helping you adjust to life with this condition as much as possible – and that includes keeping up the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving dinner is cause for careful consideration for both mesothelioma patients as well as their caregivers – but for different reasons.
For example, those in the latter group may be looking to keep their energy levels up throughout the hustle and bustle of the holiday in order to continually care for their loved one. This is when a few tweaks in meal preparation may come in handy.
For instance, health experts say that a Thanksgiving dinner plate should be half vegetables in order to stave off the lethargy that comes with consuming too much turkey. The antioxidants in these foods, such as vitamin C and beta carotene, can help caregivers feel their best. Delicious choices include peppers, baby carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and beets. The healthiest plates will be light on butter, cream and sugar.
Additionally, brining a turkey in water, salt and seasonings the day before Thanksgiving can help add flavor without the use of fatty, fatigue-inducing ingredients.
Meanwhile, mesothelioma patients may worry about the effects that medical treatment can have on their eating habits, including a loss of appetite, a modified sense of taste, dry mouth, nausea and more.
For patients with no appetite, high-protein and high-calorie products – such as cheese, muffins and dairy – may help. The trick is to eat them more often throughout the day, but in smaller portions.
Individuals with dry mouth or oral sores may also want to consider eating moist and soft products, such as mashed potatoes and gravy.
Of course, the flavor of any Thanksgiving dish can be intensified with spices or sauces.
Enjoy time with your loved ones
As Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are grateful for, it is important for you to enjoy spending time with your friends and family. This is a good opportunity to play catch-up or discuss the challenges you may face every day. Talking to your loved ones and bringing them up-to-date on your situation may also allow them to understand the help you may need.
If you need to reach out beyond your social circles, there are many cancer support groups available online and in person. Hospitals and organizations such as the American Cancer Society are usually able to provide wonderful referrals.