Menu

Reconditioning in Response to Being Deconditioned

May 5, 2013 | AONN+ Blog | Side-Effects Management
Featuring:
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Administrative Director, The Johns Hopkins Breast Center; Director, Johns Hopkins Cancer Survivorship Programs; Professor of Surgery and Oncology, JHU School of Medicine; Co-Creator, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they are informed of the various “expected” side effects they will likely experience as they travel through their cancer treatment experience. Whether it is fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, weight gain, cognitive functioning problems, sexual dysfunction, hair loss, etc, patients are expected to accept these side effects as part of the hand they have been dealt. Initially a newly diagnosed cancer patient is very willing and accepting of any and all side effects. This is usually due to the patient and their family being so frightened and focused on survival that they will put up with virtually anything in order to live through this experience. And sure enough, the side effects come, some one at a time and others in bunches. As acute treatment comes to a completion some months later, and these side effects continue to linger on, the patient’s tolerance is grown smaller than it originally was when first hearing those words “you have cancer.” Perhaps the fear of death has now passed so the clinical sequale is no longer acceptable. Additonally patients are making it increasingly clear to their oncology providers that the goal of treatment is not limited to just surviving; they want quality of life as well.

So what can be done about all of these side effects?? Usually what happens today is that as the treatment is completed the patient will be referred to rehab medicine or a sexual counselor, or someone else to work with this deconditioned tired, overweight, depressed, feet tingling patient (survivor) to get them reconditioned again back to their original baseline, if that is possible. This requires a lot of effect on therapists’ parts and on the survivor too. It is far from easy. But it raises the question of why did we let this patient get this way to begin with when it wasn’t actually necessary?? Habit. Plain old habit. It has always been done this way. Well, its time for a change. Time to be proactive. Making a referral to your rehab medicine dept early on can do a world of difference for the patient. Maintaining their activity level has proven to reduce fatigue from happening. Doing cross word puzzles has shown to improve cognitive dysfunctioning symptoms. Keeping one’s weight in check reduces risk of recurrence of their cancer. Even peripheral neuropathy today can be positively impacted by having a certified cancer rehab therapist work with your patient.

Give thought to this as you proceed in navigating your next newly diagnosed cancer patient. The only thing you really can’t proactively address and prevent is, well, hair loss.

Related Articles
Realistic Resolutions for the New Year
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
January 5, 2021 | Navigation and Survivorship News | Insights into Navigation
As we leave behind the stress of 2020, it’s important to encourage patients with cancer, survivors, and ourselves, to create realistic New Year’s resolutions.
Staying Healthy and Happy This Holiday Season
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
December 22, 2020 | Navigation and Survivorship News | Insights into Navigation
This holiday season, we may need to forego our usual traditions to keep our friends and family safe. Here are some ways to take your holiday plans virtual and how you can practice gratitude this season.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Advocacy Organizations
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
December 7, 2020 | AONN+ Blog | COVID-19, Policy & Advocacy
The COVID-19 pandemic has financially impacted organizations that have provided support for patients with cancer.

Report Broken Links

Have you encountered a problem with a URL (link) on this page not working or displaying an error message?

Help us fix it! Report broken links here.

Report Broken Link

Thank You to Our Corporate Sponsors and Alliance Partners!

  • Silver Corporate Sponsor

    Silver Corporate Sponsor

  • Silver Corporate Sponsor

    Silver Corporate Sponsor

  • Silver Corporate Sponsor

    Silver Corporate Sponsor

  • Silver Corporate Sponsor

    Silver Corporate Sponsor

  • Silver Corporate Sponsor

    Silver Corporate Sponsor

  • Industry Relations Council Member

    Industry Relations
    Council Member

  • Industry Relations Council Member

    Industry Relations
    Council Member

  • National Alliance Partner

    National Alliance Partner

  • Health System Partner

    Health System Partner

  • Health System Partner

    Health System Partner

  • Health System Partner

    Health System Partner

  • Industry Relations Alliance Partner

    Industry Relations Alliance Partner

  • Industry Relations Alliance Partner

    Industry Relations Alliance Partner