Top Tips for Thanksgiving With Kidney Cancer
While it’s important to make some adjustments for your health when you’re living with kidney cancer, it’s also important that you enjoy and celebrate your abilities and potential, rather than focusing on your restrictions. Learn to balance good dietary choices, social activity and rest to get the most out of this year’s Thanksgiving celebration.
Stay Healthy During the Feast
When you have kidney cancer, eating right is important for maintaining strength, keeping up immunity, and protecting kidney function. When you’re undergoing cancer treatment, a healthy diet is absolutely essential to give your body the strength to endure and the power to heal. Although Thanksgiving is an occasion to indulge, you’ll feel much better if you stick to healthy dishes and avoid ingredients that could cause trouble:
- Load up on veggies – Natural sources of vitamins C and A can be particularly helpful when you’re battling cancer, and both can be found in a range of fresh vegetables. Choose carrots and sweet potatoes for a dose of beta carotene (the source of vitamin A), and get your vitamin C from broccoli, tomatoes and bell peppers.
- Cut out harmful foods – Oxalate compounds are commonly found in a variety of seasonal foods, from leafy greens and beets to nuts and tea. Too much of these compounds can cause kidney stones and complicate your cancer treatment. Animal proteins (which can lead to uric acid buildup) can also be problematic, as can potassium-rich foods, like dates, figs, bananas and squash.
- Eat small portions for a happier stomach – Cancer treatment can bring on nausea, loss of appetite, and changes to taste, which can all interfere with your vital efforts to gain and maintain weight. It might help to eat a little bit every two or three hours during the day, which will keep your energy up without stressing your stomach.
- Bask in the simple pleasures – Although moderation is key, most kidney cancer patients can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer without any health issues, even if they’ve had a kidney removed. Once cancer has changed your life, simple pleasures can become more meaningful, and a small indulgence can bring a big dose of comfort and appreciation.
Managing Pain and Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most challenging symptoms for cancer patients to live with, and it can certainly interfere with holiday get-togethers. Although you may feel like you need to push ahead with the preparations, make sure to rest when you need to – in fact, schedule regular breaks the day before, and throughout the day of the Thanksgiving celebration.
- Go easy on yourself – Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t keep up with the rest of the party. Adjust your expectations of yourself, and prepare a dialogue for socializing. You may not feel like divulging all the details of your cancer, so think about what you’re comfortable saying and how to be concise and polite when conversation begins. It may help to divert the conversation from your cancer: ask about what’s happening in other people’s lives to ward off exhausting questions about your symptoms and treatment.
- Take a walk – A short tour in the brisk air can do wonders for your attitude and energy. If you can, get out for a stroll before the meal, and try to go out again after the meal. If you can’t walk, have someone push you in a wheelchair, and enjoy the fresh air, sounds of nature, and uplifting surroundings.
Celebrate the Occasion as a Survivor
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, and many cancer survivors feel a surge of gratitude when surrounded by family and friends for the holidays. Take the time to express your thanks for everything and everyone that has helped you through the year.