Living with cancer - keeping the mind and soul active

Hi everyone,

I'm looking after a friend and she has been talking about wanting to stay active. She suffers from fatigue and is getting frustrated. I thought that if she could keep her mind & soul active and perhaps read about how other people have dealt with cancer it would help. Does anyone have any book reccomendations or tips. Any suggestions would be really helpful. I just don't really know where to look for this sort of information. Thanks so much. Josh

11 Replies

  • Hi Josh. Macmillan have a booklet and DVD on keeping active when living with cancer, look on their website and its free.

    On a personal note , I also suffer with fatigue and joint pain from the drugs I'm on but find exercise eases it a lot. I take part in a Macmillan Cancer Rehabilitation programme that involves gentle circuit training with other people living with cancer, I joined a walking group and I brought a Swingball Pro for the garden (just for fun and to keep me moving) and a Giant Connect Four to play in the garden; swimming is another good one as it supports the body and you can go at your own pace.

    I hope this helps.


  • Hi emonty - Thanks so much for reaching out! I'll take a look at Macmillian - They look brilliant. Yes, exercise is key! I think its taking small steps first and then moving on to bigger things. Thanks again Josh X

  • Hi Josh, where is your friend on her cancer journey, post op, pre chemo/radio, as you've put your post on the Penny Brohn forum if this means you are close to the Centre or Bristol, I believe the centre offers Yoga and other gentle exercise for cancer patients, also in Bristol where I am there is a cancer rehab gym based exercise course called Energise, which should be OK for your friend to go on, the instructor is level 4 qualified therefore able to help cancer patients, I wish your friend and yourself well

  • Hi, she is currently on chemo but hopefully its coming to an end soon if everything goes to plan! Fingers crossed. Very useful. I'll take a look at that. She might not be quite up to that at the moment but I think down the line that would be perfect. Thanks for sharing :) Appreciate it. Josh

  • Hi Josh,

    Meditation n study of buddhism is an excellent way to strengthen body n mind. It offers alternative ways to deal with ones illness n its physical n psychological struggles. Not that it cures the fatigue but it helps making progress of some sort. Hope this is helpful. If you like I can give some places to go or books to read.

    All the best to both of you!

  • Thanks will look into it Josh :)

  • Hi Josh,

    Your friend is lucky that you are looking out for her, and want to help. I also suffer from fatigue, even though it is four years after my diagnosis. At first I was determined to carry on as normal, and this lead to many trips and falls and eventually a broken foot. My GP wisely told me to listen to my body instead of fighting it, and I then spent a lot of time sleeping, until my strength started to come back. I worked with a local nurse to find out what times were best for exercise, household chores, cooking etc. I found a local cancer support centre who have an understanding of cancer and fatigue. They offer tai chi, yoga and meditation etc, I guess it depends on where you live as to what is available. There are some times when I accept that I am just too tired to do things. Some tasks I have to break into bite sized chunks and rest in between each part. The thing to avoid is doing too much and getting really overtired, as this can set me back for days. Gradually I worked out how to manage my fatigue, I now work full time and have enough energy to enjoy my free time. There are times when I can get really tired, but I recognise the signals, take time out and ease off a bit. Keeping your friend's mind active is a good thing, there are loads of excellent books available - try the Penny Brohn shop as a starting place. It will take your friend a while to work out what is best for her, but I am sure she will appreciate your support on the way. Good luck.

  • Thanks so much for your detailed post! Very helpful :) I will look into the Penny Brohn shop! I didn't know that existed. I think you are completely right I think its getting to know your own body and limits. Appreciate it X

  • Hi Josh, I've been looking after a friend as well and she has similar needs. I think its all about acknowledging that things are going to be different. In terms of books there are a fair few around. I've hear that the Cancer's survivor companion and crazy sexy cancer survivor are brilliant (I haven't read them myself but its on the list!) I just ordered them from Live Better With (they have a curated collection of cancer specific books you might find helpful:

    It's a long road but Its sometimes the small things that count so make small changes and improvements and it will make a big difference! Keep it going - you sound like a brilliant friend! Claire X

  • HI Claire, Thanks so much for the reply. Interesting I'll look into those books. Thanks for the link - Live Better With looks fantastic! I think another friend mentioned it to me as well I just forgot! alexb123 - this might also be of interest to you also. Have you heard of them? I agree small steps! Thanks for the help. Josh! X

  • Hello Josh

    Overcoming fatigue....I suppose we all have our own ways of dealing with this. . I also suffer with joint pains daily Tai Chi helps me.

    I have joined 'Tenovus' choir ....singing is good for the soul!

    Love to you both......sing for life.



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