Log in or Register to participate in these discussions

Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by MCoaster on Oct 27, 2020 12:48 pm

With winter just round the corner how are caregivers and those with cancer going to spend more time indoors and how to deal with effects on the the mind of chemo?

 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by robegree71 on Oct 28, 2020 11:53 am

I had surgery for lung cancer 6 months today. Retired in Mexico and had it here given all the delays of getting back to Canada with Covid. It was Stage1 so took timing as the first priority. Had a lobectomy the old way not a VAT procedure unfortunately but clear after my follow up CAT and blood work.
Played golf 5 times a week and physically I can’t with the amount of healing right now and the fatigue is the big surprise for me. I am 71 and was always high energy and active. 
Bought a set Tension Bands on Amazon and it comes with a large workout program. No gyms no problem, easy to do at home, comes with accessories and different strength bands. I started a little too heavy so went back to the lighter ones and working my way back up. My energy is coming back up,slowly and training my brain that this is the way it will be for awhile. I can workout whenever I have the energy and In the convenience of my own home.
The set I bought is called Reno Tuff. Learning one step at a time !

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Clarke on Oct 28, 2020 12:02 pm

It is encouraging to hear that one of us has found a solution!
Good for you and good luck.
Clarke Edward

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by robegree71 on Oct 28, 2020 4:36 pm

Thanks Clarke‍ . Are you doing anything or considering something ? I had both knees replaced so walking wasn’t something I was fond of.
Are you recovering well ? Tell me a little about yourself.
Bob

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Oct 30, 2020 7:16 am

MCoaster‍ , with YouTube, the sky is the limit. You can find exercise videos from Aerobics to Zumba and do them right in front of your TV.

For me, I usually immerse myself in the needle arts - knitting, stitching/ embroidery, lacemaking and sewing.

My iPad is a constant source of entertainment - Audio books (Audible, and the Libby app from my local library), video games (LOVE Microsoft solitaire suite, and there is now an iPad version of it. There are also plenty of word games, and for longer spans of time, Angry Birds is a good option), Pinterest, YouTube (Stephen Colbert and Seth Myers highly recommended). 

Two of my friends recently decided to expand their cooking repertoire. One took a nutrition course, complete with homework, and the other just decided to “up their edible game” on her own.

Another easy one is to get a large (11 x 16) sketch pad and a supply of pencil crayons, markers, or crayons and doodle away. For that matter, even adult colouring book might be up your alley.

Of course, there are always the things that we tend to put off — re-organizing the kitchen cupboards, tidying out the pantry, going through the photo albums (I recently have done this in two houses — my own and my parents’), and the dreaded front hall and linen closets.

I hope you find something that suits you!
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Clarke on Nov 1, 2020 6:09 pm

This is my second attempt to answer.  The first sounded too negative!

Retired for 23 years from teaching.  I was a happy couch potato until I got into a walking program at indoor tracks to recover from a stroke.  Not my favourite activity, but walked 3000 steps 3 days a week and felt healthier than ever.
Bladder removal and another major hernia surgery led to 2 months in hospital and rehab.  Now, a year after that, I walk about 500 steps a day with a cane.   No helping with gardening, mowing or repairs.  

I have returned to the reading that fell aside after retiring.  A lot of books from my favourite authors await , along with new authors,  My tablet and phone keep me interested in public affairs, sharing political commentary and jokes with other retirees​​​​​​, and helping people learning to use English.

Yes, there is lots of good life after cancer surgery, just a little slower paced than I expected.

How goes it with you?

Clarke Edward

 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Dauntless on Nov 2, 2020 7:38 am

This topic is something I have been struggling with for three years since diagnosed three years ago.
I was a nurse, going non stop, very busy as well outside my career. Spent the last six years before retirement flying and working contracts in the North.
I walked, danced, yoga, was on go every day, exploring with my camera, was so very excited to become a grandmother and the first year I did a lot of babysitting and fun things.
Then, whomp, I became very ill, in ICU ten days, hospital for a month and when the dust settled was told my window of time for an operation had closed and I was treatable only. I have NSCL cancer, never ever smoked or toked.
I was supposed to have back surgery, but, was cancelled because of being terminal.
I believe I mentally sunk into a depression, and after being hospitalized four times in first year due to complications from treatments, I tried to find support groups close to me, but, none were available.
I found two sites ,this one and Team Inspire. They have helped me mentally and I have learned so much from both sites.
With the back and knee issues, the side effects from drugs, and mental tiredness, I have found any of my physical activities very painful.
How does someone find interests to pass the long days, as I live alone with my cat.
It's not that I haven't tried crocheting, reading, adult coloring, computer games, painting, etc. The interest is just not there. I try walking, but, so SOB, and painful I can only get ten mins and I'm done.
I have started antidepressants, trying to see friends on days I am not sick from side effects of Tx.
I always looked at the above activities as old lady stuff, I am 69 in body but, not, in spirit.
I do know the importance of physical activity for mental and physical well being.
I know I need to face my reality, my restrictions, and try and stick at something more sedentary, but, you also have to be motivated, engaged and ready.
Its been three years now, and I'm still looking for something, esp on the long winter days ahead.
I may be asking for the impossible, because mental motivation comes from within. Just wondering if anyone went through the same mental struggle to find satisfying, enjoyable activities after life changed so drastically, how long did it take, does it make you feel productive again, and how do you deal with wanting to be active, on the go, clean, garden, entertain, date, etc but a lot of days your luck to make it to your chair by the window and watch the world going by.
I really want to enjoy every moment I can, but, after three years still struggling.
Dianne

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by robegree71 on Nov 2, 2020 2:01 pm

Hey Clarke,
Nice to hear from you again. Sounds like you have some other activities started that you enjoy. They may not be all you want right now but getting started is sometimes the biggest hurtle . My experience is that it keeps getting better each week, not as fast as I want which is new learning for me but is improving. 
I was really depressed about a month ago but finally started very slowly and have leaped from there. You started and it goes exponentially from then on. Somedays I have little set back but good learning to let it go and keep going.
Good luck.
Bob

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Trillium on Nov 2, 2020 8:44 pm

Dauntless‍ - It has been a long 3 yrs for you with all that you have to deal with and not being able to find support in your community. 
Did you just start your antidepressant? I have been taking my antidepressant for a year but even though I started to feel better within a week, it took a few months before my energy level increased. When my son developed cancer in Feb, I had to increase my dose and it again increased my energy level but also my ability to enjoy the things I used to enjoy. 

Unfortunately with your physical stuff you have going on, including the nausea you are between a rock and a hard place. Just brainstorming some ideas. Do you like looking at magazines at all? If you had a subscription coming to your door you might have something to look forward too. My mother had a friend who like to write letters and she always sent me one too with her updates and a funny story or joke that she Found & printed. Would you enjoy writing letters?  Are you interested in genealogy or sewing? Bird watching with a feeder right close by hanging in front of your window? Baking that you can share with neighbours or donate to a local school breakfast/ lunch program. 

There are also other online support groups mentioned on this site but I have to go find them. The more the merrier I say! Other folks will be along soon that have similar concerns to share with you.

Hugs
Judy


 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Brighty on Nov 2, 2020 8:47 pm

Dauntless‍ hi there!! I'm so sorry you are feeling tbis way.   . Maybe you need a friend to you can do things with?.     There are different classes on line that you can join depending  on your interests.     I kbow Wendy Tea‍  and WestCoastSailor‍  both do art classes  on line... my mom just joined  an on line book club by zoom.   There are lectures and classes and just about everything  nowadays  to do by zoom   .   You can also set up zoom meetings with friends  and have game nights with others.....that way you can pass the time doing something  you love and be with others virtually who have the same interests  as you.    Im sure others will come up with suggestions for you too.   Let me know what you decide on or if you find anything  you like.
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Kims1961 on Nov 2, 2020 9:03 pm

Dauntless‍ I am so glad you posted and as they say....69 is the new 49...or something like that.

What a life changing event you have gone through .  Your strength, courage and tenacity certainly shines through. My mother at around the same age, went through a very difficult depression when she retired.  She was also used to a busy, engaging, albeit stressful at times, career.  Retiring from this and then getting diagnosed with cancer was hard on her mental health. I'm glad you have spoken to a doctor and hopefully will find some relief on the anti-depressants.

I remember for my mom, she needed more than a "hobby", so she started night classes. Now with COVID restrictions, there are some classes online - even some classes that are free, that might interest you.  You also started volunteering, which may not yet be possible for you, due to COVID restrictions.  It almost sounds like with your professional background you could teach some online courses, or do marking, or consult virtually? Your local college/university may offer some courses that are of interest to you?

There are even online classes for physical health - like gentle yoga, or stretching or strength building.  Even if you started at just a few minutes each week and built from there, it might help.  When i was diagnosed with BC, exercise was my therapist.  Even if it meant just walking outside to sit in a chair - anything to get outdoors, seemed to help. 

It's good to see that many senior groups are far more involved in their community, their environment and their health, than ever before.   We aren't just interested in playing bridge....lol...

You asked about time frames - it may be worth checking in with your doctor if you feel you are still feeling unmotivated or low.  They may also have a social worker connected to their practice, that can be helpful, in looking at any barriers to motivation.

So glad you posted.  Please let us know how you're doing.  Kim


https://www.coursera.org/
https://www.ontario.ca/page/seniors-connect-your-community#section-3


 
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 2, 2020 9:54 pm

Dauntless‍  Hi Dianne, I feel your pain.  To start with, if you cannot get outside into the fresh air, can't hike or walk, or do physical activities like swimming,  then you can't lift your spirits naturally.  I then looked at things I had enjoyed doing and wondered how I could do them and enjoy them without any strength or energy.  I watched and napped to many hallmark movies where I could sleep for an hour and not lose my place. Then I thought about audio books. I looked at other enjoyable activities and scaled them back. Smaller knitting,  crochet projects and painting greeting cards instead of canvas.  Then I spent time on self care. I would research recipes that were healthy and easy, made extra and froze quick meals. I would make lists and congratulate myself if I crossed off an item. My local cancer center offered art therapy classes which I joined in April and I am still enjoying.  Does this help or give you a new direction? 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Dauntless on Nov 3, 2020 10:38 am

Thank you so much for all the input and ideas, there are a few that I will try when my nausea finally settles enough.
I do look around me, am so grateful for all I still have, I know a lot of my problem is mental motivation, and trying to do things in pain makes it worse.
I was blindsided one day when a friend described retirement as ""trying to fill in your days with useless stuff until you finally die"", that stuck with me for a long time ,and when I'd pick up something to start, that insidious voice that is constantly talking to you in your head would repeat that statement over and over.
Hope everyone will have a good day.
Dauntless
 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Runner Girl on Nov 3, 2020 11:31 am

Hello Dauntless‍ , Dianne,

I am sorry for the pain you are experiencing.  It is frustrating to go from always on the move to afraid to move because its going to hurt.  To deal with my bone, joint and muscle pain from being on Tamoxifen for the past almost 2 years I have found relief with acupuncture.  The relief, for me, is immediate and lasts 3 weeks before I need to go in for a tune up.  Just something for you to consider.

Runner Girl
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Cherry on Nov 3, 2020 1:29 pm

Hello Dauntless‍ , Dianne. I am myself looking for ways to keep me busy and interested but its hard to stay focused. -Your post confirms you are a strong lady and I am sure with your kind of positivity, you will eventually find what you are seeking. God bless you . Take care

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by KerriKerri on Nov 3, 2020 1:38 pm

 I am 74 which I guess makes me one of the older members in here. I've been gearing up to slowing down as it were for a few years now.. I've always been pretty active if not necessarily sporty but genetic and injury related arthritis had gotten me off to a bit of an early start on alternative passtimes. I traveled a lot immediately after retirement because I knew the arthritis was going tp start seriously limiting me by about 70 and so it has; then came the cancer surprise with this new year, then the severe sleep apnea on top of that; I am adjusting to sleeping with the machine blowing air up my nose as of last night.

About 18 months ago I started a YouTube channel to encourage people not wait so long to get a walker and to take little walks, trying to demonstrate that limited mobility and stamina to say nothing of no car doesn't need to mean sitting at home. It's called Four Tea Two, has a whole 25 subscribers but keeps me out of
mischief. I have had to learn from scratch so the learning curve is steep but not difficult. At any given time I have at least a half dozen videos in the works.

About 5 years ago I started a journal about my growing up in the 50s and 60's in Northern Ontario in the logging industry. It got bogged down; too bad, it's a way of life pretty much gone now.  On the flip side  though, I recently started a Blogspot journal featuring 1-3 photos with journal  entries to explain them with the intention of throwing the journal open to family when I get to 100 photos or so, so they can add their memories.  At this point it's all  scanned photos; some go back to the early 1900's. Last Sat I posted a 1936 ish photo of our mom in a  Hallowe'en costume in Facebook and my youngest brother (65) came back with a story I'd never heard before so I am thinking my idea is sound.

Something else that I want to do, make videos of my 'vacations' and post them on YouTube. There's all sorts of ways to add commentary. For example, in 92 I went on a Windjammer cruise and went snorkeling for the first time. I come back and within 6 weeks was a certified PADI diver. I don't know if I would necessarily scuba again but for sure I would snorkel! YouTube gives great privacy options btw.

I've thought about and even started a photo album of 'Me' photos. I mean, when I die what do my kids know about my life, where I  have been, what I have done; the moments I remember. The day they're making my funeral arrangements is not the day to be looking for a special picture of Mom. It's a great experience in understanding how far you've come too.

I mean, this is just a start. I don't have enough hours in a day.  Or enough energy. But life is not dull even if it's more than a bit scary at times. Change what I can but ride out the rest of it. I'm on the cancer train now; final destination uncertain, moving inexorably forward. No looking glass to the future. It is what it is.

 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Nov 3, 2020 4:43 pm

Dauntless‍ 

I've been struggling ever since I read your post yesterday as to how to answer the question you pose. I know what the answer has been for me but one of the things I realized a long time ago is that one size doesn't fit all. I can share my experience with exercise, with creation (writing and painting), with friendships...

But does that help you? I think not. Because you are you. I can't be you. And while there is a strong temptation to tell you to get off your derriere and figure it out I know that it is not that simple. The search for meaning never is. It is hard work but by starting to talk about it, you are on your way. We are all different and figuring this out is what makes us individuals.

I was sitting in my metastatic zoom group a few weeks ago and one of the ladies pointed us out the window to a funny looking little house and some chicken wire. Her answer to that "meaning" question was to raise some chickens this summer. She has to get up, go outside, then feed and water the chickens. She has watched them grow from chicks to fine young hens, in a suburban environment. She did have to dispatch the rooster when he decided to start helping the sun get up by crowing. Odd. Yes but that is the kind of things that comes out of conversations with other patients.

More than once I've said "I'm more than a cancer diagnosis." I heard somebody describing this challenge as a gravity problem. He went on to say "You can't solve a problem that you aren't willing to have." Acceptance.  I can't do anything about gravity so I better learn to accept it. Maybe the way to explore this cancer challenge thing is to ask "What would I be doing if I didn't have this limitation?" Then go on to explore how you might do those things with this limitation.

In my own realm I can't get out to places that I want to be because of the risk of covid infection. So I have brought those places to me. I learned how to use Zoom. I have written some articles on how to use zoom more effectively and given a couple of presentations on that for folks in recovery and for other lung cancer patients. That was right for me. In a pinnacle experience, mid summer, I had a planned carefully scripted zoom birthday party go from two hours to almost five. My only regret is that I didn't record it. People started sharing stories and laughing. Friends kept coming and going. It was amazing.

Maybe what I'm trying to say is that you have choices and the trick is to discover them.

Thanks for sharing your heartfelt plea and for helping me to re-examine my own journey. We are here to walk with you in this so let us know what you are doing and how it is going.

Angus
My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by IamJay on Nov 4, 2020 9:02 am

Since I can't see grandson in person easily even though he lives 5 minutes away.....Video chats and visits with 3 year old grandson. Play blocks together on video. Make playdough while he watches, then he and his mom come pick it up! Play playdough with him via video. 

A small fee for fun variety of online classes at Udemy:
https://www.udemy.com/

Wellspring Canada: wellspring.ca 
Has emotional support and fun online classes like art and how to make a Christmas pot for your porch!

Free app called  Insight timer. Has stories, meditations, talks.
Make a calendar or photo book online.
Make a jigsaw puzzle....on your kitchen table Or on an app on your tablet

Try to have some small bits of fun.
Judy
 

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 5, 2020 8:03 am

Dauntless‍ , when you wrote this:

a friend described retirement as ""trying to fill in your days with useless stuff until you finally die"", that stuck with me for a long time ,and when I'd pick up something to start, that insidious voice that is constantly talking to you in your head would repeat that statement over and over.

You reminded us that no matter how old we are, we can still absorb and play back negative thoughts. There’s some bald guy on TV who says that it can be very hard to erase a negative internal dialogue, and he’s right. I got around a lot of mine by listening to and reading Louise Hay’s books and working through other types of meditation and affirmations, and even gratitude journals. I also did The Artist’s Way, which is a journal-based “workshop” to help you rediscover your creativity.

Another thing I’ve learned is to “give myself permission” to do various things: if I’m tired, I will “give myself permission” to have a mid day nap. If there’s an object that no longer “speaks” to me, I will “give myself permission” to donate it or throw it out. Sometimes, we just need to have someone remind us that it is OK to take a certain action, even if that person is our own self. I suppose this ties in to WestCoastSailor‍ ‘S comment about acceptance. 

You already have your positive thoughts. Perhaps if you can augment them with affirmations and giving yourself permission to say - oh, for example - “Today I give myself permission to do whatever I can within my physical limitations,” or “Today I give myself permission to achieve A, and B, and if my physical limitations will allow it, C,” you can end your day feeling good about whatever progress you make.

PS to WestCoastSailor‍ : Your comment about gravity reminded me of a character in an animated movie. It was an accident prone bat, voiced by Robin Williams, and whenever he hit the ground, he would say, “gravity works!” Can’t even remember the name of the movie, but that has stuck with me.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 5, 2020 8:11 am

KerriKerri‍ , I really enjoyed your post, and can relate to some of the things you said in it. I can think of more than a couple of projects in which I got “bogged down”: the genealogy project I started in my 30s, the book I started to write about my childhood home this summer, and countless knitting projects that just weren’t working out. Again, sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to let those things go. Someone once said (and again this could be a line from a TV show or movie,) “They can’t all be gems.” Sometimes, we just start into these things at the wrong time, or for the wrong reason, or because something else comes along which causes us to go “Ooh, shiny!” And we move on to something new.

Thanks for stirring up these thoughts.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Other activities to do when cancer takes away what you previously did?

Posted by Dauntless on Nov 5, 2020 9:14 am

Good morning, well its 10 days since chemo, and I seem to be finally able to eat a little, I can move a little more because my Oxygen Sats are slowly coming up. 
I am even venturing out into the world on this sunny but cold day to have lunch with friends, not sure what I'll eat.
I had been looking at everyone's comments, and they are all helpful, but, every time I tried I was nauseated, fatigued, itching and burning like crazy, O2 very low on standing.
Hoping the rest of the week will find me productive in some manner, and maybe restart the many projects already started, maybe even finish them.
I had no idea the down period with chemo would be so long. I knew you kinda flumped the third or fourth day, for a few days but this has been long and rough.
Hope everyone enjoys their day.
I'm gonna do my best to enjoy mine,
Take care all,
Dianne