6 Tips for MPN Cancer Patients to stay healthy during Coronavirus

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6 Tips for MPN Cancer Patients to stay healthy during Coronavirus

couple working during covid

by Lou Ann Donovan

As states begin to reopen businesses and stay at home orders become less restrictive, people are starting to venture out in public more.  Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) cancer patients are more vulnerable to the coronavirus because cancer and some treatments can weaken the immune system reducing the body’s ability to fight off infection.

While many of us are continuing to stay at home, doing fewer social interactions and physical exercise, the following six tips can help MPN cancer patients stay healthy during the coronavirus.  Learn simple ways you can boost your immune system and stay active while staying safe at home.  And always give yourself permission to do things differently than usual during this time to stay healthy!

Get Moving!

couple working during covidYou can get up and move just about anytime, anywhere.  Each time you stand up and do something, you’re taking a step in the right direction.  The benefits of physical activity can help you stay healthier, maintain a good weight, and feel better too!

Play music that inspires you to get up and move instead of always having the TV on.  Get the whole family moving and dancing too!

While walking outside and keeping a social distance from others, do a few lunges and short one-minute intervals at a faster pace to boost the intensity.

Play actively with your pets with a game of fetch in the yard with the dog and use string for a game of chase around the house with the cat.

When watching TV do some floor exercises to strengthen your glutes and abdomen.  Your core will thank you!

Nourish Your Body

Nourishing your body means giving it the nutrients and fuel it needs to help the body run at it’s best.  What we consume is going to affect our body from head to toe.  And we are all unique individuals with different responses to the food we ingest.

Eat the Mediterranean way, a diet rich in plant-based foods, a good source of antioxidants, olive oil, fish, poultry, beans and grains that may help reduce inflammation in your body.

Stay hydrated drinking at least eight – eight-ounce glasses of water a day, and set an alarm on your phone if needed.  As a reminder, some daily medications can often dehydrate the body.

Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about your appearance, it is a reflection of your overall health.  Balance your plate with small portions of lean protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.  Choose healthy low-calorie foods for a daily snack.

Eat the rainbow by adding colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal.  They are high in vitamins, minerals and low in fat and calories and may help prevent chronic diseases.

Wellness for MPN cancer patients

 A cancer diagnosis is never easy.  Be proactive and use a wellness approach and be your own patient advocate during your MPN cancer journey.mpn patient advocate

Be your own patient advocate by asking questions from your healthcare team, doing your own research, and maintaining records of your lab work and appointment discussions.

Remember to take your meds, ask for a 90-day supply for medication you take regularly from your healthcare provider, and schedule mail delivery with your pharmacy.

Immunizations for cancer patients are especially important because cancer treatments can weaken the body’s immune system.  Check with your healthcare provider on when would be a safe time to schedule during the coronavirus.

Request a telehealth appointment as a safer option for your medical care.  Virtual appointments have surged during the coronavirus helping to reduce transportation time and medical care costs.

Maintaining a Schedule

Being at home can be frustrating and stressful because we are out of our normal routine.  Creating a schedule can help you cope while staying at home.

While working from home get up, get dressed, set office hours, and work at a desk or table to help stay productive and organized.

Taking self-care and alone time can help manage your stress during tough times.  Practice mindfulness using a relaxing breath to help stay calm and tune out distractions around you.

Schedule moderate exercise time on your calendar daily.  Mix it up by working out to a new exercise video, yoga stretches, and get outside walking or biking while keeping a social distance from others.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule to allow your body to recharge every day.  Sleep helps the immune system function, promotes emotional wellness and is critical to overall physical health.

Stay Connected

As the world waits out the coronavirus, here are some ways that people are creatively keeping social distancing social and helping others do the same.
Send an online e-card to friends and family who live in others areas to brighten up their day.

Attend a virtual event or tour from your local museum, art gallery, and zoo.  Most attractions are being offered digitally for free.

Schedule regular video chats with friends, family, and grandchildren using FaceTime, Zoom, or similar mobile phone apps.

Virtual acts of kindness by making an online donation to help support the non-profit organizations that are closest to your heart.

Have Fun!

While continuing to stay safe and healthy at home as businesses begin to reopen, take some time to unwind and have fun!  Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Download a fun game app on your mobile smartphone or tablet, like Candy Crush and Hay Day.  Play with your friends while you are all staying at home, even make it a competition.

Relax and unwind while listening to your favorite tunes as you begin each new day.

Join a virtual book club to stay connected and engaged.  Some book clubs even include a different book every month to discuss.

Working on a puzzle can be quite soothing.  Get the board games out, like Monopoly and enjoy some family time.

Take Care of your Body and Mind!

Taking care of your physical health and emotional wellness is important with a cancer diagnosis.  So, you should continue to stay at home whenever possible during the coronavirus.  And when you need to go out, wear a mask, continue social distancing from others and wash your hands frequently.  Make time to do something you enjoy every day.  Think about what makes you happy and helps you feel recharged.  Maybe it’s time spent in nature, quiet meditation, reading a book or exercise.  Always take care of your body and mind!


Lou Ann Donovan, MPN Patient Advocate

Lou Ann Donovan MPN Patient Advocate


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