Preparing for Summer with Cancer
Many people look forward to summer – a little lighter work schedule, less traffic, a long-anticipated trip, longer days, outdoor entertainment. But if you’re experiencing cancer, you may not feel like you get a “summer break.” Chemo treatments, radiation schedules, and monitoring don’t stop between June and August. You can still enjoy many of your favorite summer activities and make the season special with a little awareness and advance planning. Read on for some tips!
If you’re typically someone who likes to ride the wave of spontaneity with summer activities, you may want to do your future self a favor and become a planner this year. Cancer tends to derail our day-to-day life, but setting up and maintaining a schedule will help you regain a sense of control over your life and ultimately your summer.
Limiting direct sun exposure and wearing sunblock are important practices for everyone, but particularly those with cancer. For starters, certain chemotherapy drugs, as well as radiation treatment, can heighten sensitivity to the sun. Even if you aren’t on any treatments that put you at an increased risk for sun damage, there is still the general risk of sun exposure that all of us face. If you’re already dealing with another form of cancer, you do not want to add melanoma to the list.
Apply sunscreen often and cover up with hats and light full-coverage fabrics.
Let’s be honest, having cancer while dealing with summer heat is downright terrible. The obvious cheat to this issue is to crank up the A/C, but that may not be a solution for everyone.
Use cotton clothes and bedding as they are more breathable and will keep you cool. Avoid using the stove or oven on particularly hot days. It doesn’t hurt that many foods that can be eaten without cooking (*cough cough* vegetables) are much healthier for you. Water is also your friend, be sure to stay hydrated and never underestimate the power of a nice cool shower.
If, despite your cancer, you are still feeling up to a vacation, then more power to you — but consider staying local. We’ve all heard the benefits of staycations: saves money, light packing, low stress, and so on. Particularly for those with cancer, staying local can be a great way to prioritize your health without feeling like you’re sacrificing your quality of life.
Keep the kids busy
Consider enrolling your children in camp, sports, or recreational classes for the Summer. A cancer diagnosis will often make you want to spend more time with your children, not less, but there are many benefits to keeping your kids a little extra occupied if you have cancer.
For starters, some cancer treatments tend to knock the wind right out of you in regards to energy and strength. So be kind to yourself, and know that it is okay to take a step back and rest — even if it means instead of taking your kids on a hike, you let them tell you all about how great it was when they return with someone else. Furthermore, your cancer diagnosis can be difficult on children, and allowing them an opportunity to let loose and burn off any worry or stress they may be carrying around will be a relief to you both.