Nutrition, sport/movement and aims - what significance do they have?
Since 1999 I’ve been working on the topic of pancreatic cancer and, since then, have been supporting affected persons and their families. During this long period there has been significant medical development, much has changed in research, treatment and therapy. Quality of life and lifetime have improved significantly. However, we are still not satisfied with the results.
No prospect of healing yet
Unfortunately, and this would be my greatest wish, we have no prospect of a cure for pancreatic cancer at the moment, but research and medicine are not going to stop and perhaps we will have a resounding success in a few years' time. I, for one, believe in that. Since I started dealing with pancreatic cancer, I know that there are three important things in dealing with the disease:
- Sport and Movement,
- Attainable goals,
which are extremely important for patients in addition to good medical treatment.
Again and again I try to convey to those affected in my many counselling sessions that eating and drinking is quality of life.
- Eat what you like,
- enjoy the food,
- feel the taste and enjoy the variety of our food.
- Drink enough, it does not always have to be water, tea or juice.
- A cool beer or a glass of good wine is part of a pleasant meal and can sometimes rouse the spirit.
You should pay attention to the following:
- Avoid kitchen smells,
- Balanced light wholefood,
- High-caloric, high-fat and high-protein,
- Take digestive enzymes properly and sufficiently,
- A, D, E, K vitamins,
- Eat in company,
- Set the table attractively,
- Arrange the plates beautifully, eat with your eyes!
- Small portions, eat several times,
- In the case of diabetes, pay additional attention to the BE,
- Enteral or parenteral nutrition as required,
- Regular BIA measurements can detect defects more quickly.
Food is not always a pleasure! I am well aware that those affected cannot always eat and it is often very difficult for them to find pleasure and joie de vivre in eating; they have no appetite or desire to eat. Their throats are often constricted and every bite is a torture for them. But without the body being sufficiently supplied with food and liquid, it cannot and will not function. This can result in total exhaustion due to malnutrition and other problems such as water in the feet/legs or in the abdomen due to acute protein deficiency.
Those affected should be re-introduced to food:
- Only offer what he/she likes,
- No forcing anyone to eat,
- Small portions,
- Make food appetizing,
- Avoid food odours,
- Do not season too much.
Sport and exercice
Sport and exercise are just as important as eating and drinking and can help those affected to cope better with their everyday lives. It doesn't have to be endurance sports or competitive sports.
Sport and movement aid
No, it can be a very simple movement of legs, arms, head and back while sitting, by stamping the feet, moving forward or simply walking on the spot. Stretch your arms up, to the sides, forwards or downwards. Let your head circle, taking your shoulders with you, and stretch and bend your back. Depending on how you feel, you can climb stairs, walk the dog or walk alone, run, ride a bike, dance or visit a gym. Everyone can move according to their individual possibilities and this will benefit his/her body and soul.
It has been scientifically proven that sport and exercise help and that physical and mental mobility can be significantly increased by moving for at least half an hour daily and going a little beyond your limits. The body should sweat and feel that it is doing something.
I also know that it is not always easy to take a little walk when you feel sick and weak, but it might help you to forget your worries and needs for a moment and distract yourself and make you feel better afterwards.
Perhaps you may also meet a neighbour or an acquaintance and start a conversation that shows you how important you are. Or you simply hug your favourite tree and draw strength from it.
Move as much as you can, but avoid overexertion and never forget: sport and exercise should be fun. He/She who does nothing will rust!
Sport and exercise should be fun. If you do nothing, you rust!
Important: Only do what you can and what is possible in your situation.
Beware, sport is not beneficial under these circumstances:
- The first six months after an operation,
- Nausea, vomiting,
In my experience, beautiful encounters, family celebrations, events, holidays, meals with friends, group meetings, visits and much more are extremely important. Many of our patients report that they have the feeling of being involved.
Pancreatic cancer can isolate, so as long as you can, tackle your personal goals. Take part in festivities, book your holiday (does not have to be a trip around the world, a local place will do too) and enjoy yourself. Give yourself, your partner, relatives, friends and acquaintances the opportunity to spend time with you.
Aims or objectives help you to experience your illness positively and give you the feeling that you are there and right in the middle of it. Yes, sometimes you have to force yourself and mobilize all your strength to put your goal into action. But this is also one of my experiences from all these years and encounters with many affected people; if you have managed to be there, you often have a great sense of happiness or just a sense of achievement, both are tremendously important.
Goals take us further
Aims are there to help us to advance in our development, appreciation and reality. Without aims, life is often sad, the joy of life dwindles and the result can be loneliness.
Set yourself targets and thereby maintain your joy of life!