Thursday, June 2, 2016

Quality of Life

I don't know why this took a research study to figure it out. One of the key factors in determining health outcome is health related quality of life for cancer people.  A recent research paper was published which analyzed quality of life factors in multiple cancer trials.

"Of the 30 trials included in this analysis, 3 trials assessed a total of 321 breast cancer patients of any type or stage. After accounting for multiple variables, physical functioning, emotional functioning, nausea and vomiting, and global health status were all predictive for survival among breast cancer patients.

Physical functioning, as assessed by the questionnaire, includes the ability to perform various degrees of effort, such as walking or carrying heavy loads, as well as basic functions such as eating, dressing and washing." 
At my second cancer diagnosis, physical functioning was not an issue. Now, its a different story, walking any distance or carrying things is much more difficult.
"Emotional functioning includes attributes of depression and mental well-being, such as difficulty sleeping and often feeling worried, tensed or irritable."
After one cancer diagnosis, I knew better and made sure I took care of this part. 
"Often feeling nauseous and vomiting were also found to be predictive of worse cancer outcome."
Nausea was my 'frenemy' during chemo. I spent more time feeling nauseous (but that didn't mean I lost any weight). And I'm still here so the jury is still out.
"Global health status includes attributes of both functional and emotional well-being, as well as the effect of disease or treatments on family life, social activities and financial situation."

Family and social stuff took a back seat during treatment because they were less important to me. I did what I could but my focus was on getting through treatment. It was a bummer that I got laid off two weeks before my diagnosis so there was a financial issue but I did get a part time job during treatment that helped.

Back to the emotional part. At my second cancer diagnosis, I knew what it was emotionally like to go through a cancer diagnosis, not cope with it, ignore it, and waste a lot of time on it. I also knew because of how I didn't deal with it, that it took a long time for me to learn to accept it. 

But at my second cancer diagnosis, this was one area where it I was in control and I could make a difference. So I did. 

One of the most important things in my life to this day is my quality of life. This has lots of components but (in the words of Donald Trump) it is HUGE! Why? Because it is in my control. 

The components include everything from where I live, what I do, who and what I include (and exclude) in my life, how I handle my treatments, what doctors I see, what I do to make me feel better. I make a point of getting rid of any one or anything that is toxic in my life. Stressful situations are avoided if possible. Making sure I do anything and everything I can to make me feel better emotionally, which is tied very closely to how I feel physically.

So, my advice is that if you feel like crap or are facing any kind of crappy diagnosis, focus on your quality of life.

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