Tips from Your Cancer Care Team – Coping with Treatment During the Holidays

The holiday season can be stressful, overwhelming, and exhausting. This is often even more true if you are undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment. It’s important to still enjoy the holiday season, but without pushing yourself too hard. So, here’s a list of tips that will hopefully allow you to navigate your cancer treatments during the holidays.

Visiting Family

If you have family that will be visiting from out-of-town see if they want to take turns driving you to and from your cancer treatment. It will give you time to catch up and give you or your regular driver a break!

Holiday Treatment Schedule

Most cancer treatment centers are closed only on Christmas Day. If you wish for another day off during the holiday season talk to your oncologist, often they can accommodate this request. Try to discuss this with them as far in advance as possible.

Know your Limits and Be Mindful of Them

Fatigue is a common side effect of cancer treatment so it will be important to get plenty of rest while still enjoying holiday traditions. Don’t let the holidays keep you from getting rest! Make it a priority!

Accept Help

While your family gathers for the holidays you may find them asking how they can help you. Start making a list of things your loved ones can do for you. For example, you may need help picking up medications from the pharmacy, calling the insurance company, or even decorating your house for the holidays.

Indulge a Little

Your appetite may be smaller or you may be feeling nauseous during cancer treatment. But when you feel good, go ahead and enjoy some of your favorite foods. If you are eating mainly soft foods, be sure to let your family know so they can add goodies like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, or any of your favorites to the menu! 

That’s a Wrap

Rely on your cancer care team, we are here for you. Make the most of your time with friends and family. Whether you’re sitting in the waiting room together or driving to and from appointments…make your time together count. Don’t be afraid to celebrate. Sing, dance, laugh, eat, drink, and be merry…do what brings you joy this season. Happy Holidays!

Get more tips and resources in the OncoLink Holiday Survival Guide!

Courtney is a Radiation Therapist at Penn Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Therapy from Indiana University and received her Master’s Degree in Public Health with concentrations in Health Management and Policy and Health Education and Promotion from Benedictine University.  She has fourteen years of experience in radiation therapy, which includes an expertise in proton therapy and pediatrics.  Courtney has worked with OncoLink since 2014, but joined part-time in 2020 as a Global Education Coordinator and is currently developing virtual reality training modules that have been used to train radiation therapists both domestically and internationally.

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