- Air out your home! After a winter of closed doors and stagnant air, let fresh air inside. Open windows and doors. Clean and dust.
Use sunscreen at all times. Many of the medication you are taking leave you very sun sensitive. Never leave home without applying sunscreen. Don't forget about your ears, lips, and the tops of your feet!
- If you don't have hair, make sure to wear a hat, turban or head protection. Burned scalps are painful and dangerous. Also, sunglasses are a very good idea.
- Always wear shoes. Chances are you've got some neuropathy and you may not feel things that you're stepping on. Plus, it's imperative to keep your body clean, including the bottoms of your feet. Keep flip flops, slippers or socks with you at all times.
- Practice good hygiene always. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your mouth, eyes, and ears.
- Be very weary of public pools and hot tubs. They are a breeding ground for germs. In fact, you may want to consider avoiding them completely. Discuss with your doctor.
Get plenty of rest. Our bodies heal and repair while we are sleeping so make sure you're getting adequate slumber.
Get fresh air and move! As much as possible, exercise. Many doctors suggest at least 30 minutes a day. Try to take a walk outdoors (maybe in early morning or evening when it's not as hot and the sun not as strong), work in the yard-- anything that gets your heart rate up. Plus, fresh vitamin D is good. Don't forget to wear good shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!
Eat healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies (if you're not neutropenic!) are great options and many have incredible anti-cancer benefits. If you are neutropenic, make sure you understand your dietary restrictions before eating anything.
Have fun! If possible, take a vacation, whether it be big or small. We all need to have healthy distractions from doctor appointments, medications, and dietary restrictions. Get lost in a great book, watch a good movie, or explore a new part of town.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.