How to Make Your Home a Cancer Recovery Zone

A guest article by Craig Meadows

There are more than 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. This invasive disease is treated in a number of ways, from surgery to chemotherapy. Curative measures are often successful at removing cancer cells, but treatment is not easy on the body. Here are a few tips on making your home a sanctuary for a loved one undergoing cancer treatment.

The Big Clean-Out

The first thing you have to do is determine where in your home rest, relaxation, and rehabilitation will take place. Ideally, this is in a quiet bedroom on the first floor. So, start with a blank slate by emptying the room, closets, and, if applicable, attached bathroom. During this process, make sure to gather up any medical documents and organize them. These will come in handy should your loved one need the information for follow-up appointments.

Move all of the applicable furnishings into the garage or, if you don’t have a garage, plan to build a small outbuilding so that you can keep your belongings close at hand and stay organized for everyone’s sake. Depending on the amount of space you need and expected treatment and recovery time, this may be less expensive than paying a monthly storage unit rental fee.

Be cautious when choosing your building materials; depending on where you live, steel may be a better option than wood. Steel is much stronger and can withstand high winds — if you live in a tornado-prone area, this is essential. Wood may better match your home's exterior and might be cheaper if you only plan to be at the home for a few short years.

Next, clean the room thoroughly. This should include disinfecting the bathroom, shampooing the carpets, and wiping down windows, walls, and light fixtures to eliminate dust.

Decor Does It

When you are ready to start shopping for new decor, calm should be your theme. CafeMom asserts that bright lights should be kept to a minimum and the entire space should feature neutral colors. While there is nothing wrong with adding accent color here and there, avoid neons and patterns that might interfere with sleep.

Practical Perks

More than just colors, your recovery room should feature practical amenities that cater to your loved one’s needs. You probably already know that chemotherapy causes a weakened immune system, which is why it’s important to thoroughly disinfect the space. You are likely also aware that hair loss is a probability, but there are other side effects to keep in mind as you outfit their space. For one, people undergoing chemo may bruise or bleed more easily. Further, because of nerve damage, they might experience sudden bouts of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

There are things you can do to offset some of the side effects. Keep sharp corners to a minimum; one idea is to use two box springs under the mattress instead of a bed platform to ensure they don’t hit their shins on wood or metal. You may also use a white noise machine to help drown out tinnitus. In the bathroom, provide plenty of soft towels and washcloths.

Your loved one may be more comfortable sitting up, so make sure they have access to a comfortable recliner; a lift chair might be a more viable option if they are older and have mobility limitations. Water, club soda, and a few light snacks in the room and a dedicated phone/tablet charging area will keep them from having to enter and exit for these needs.

Behavioral Changes

Your family member is under extreme duress. Cancer and its treatments are uncomfortable at best and excruciatingly painful at their worst. You will need to make some behavioral changes to accommodate their delicate state. Ensure everyone understands that their designated space is just that: theirs. Do not allow children to enter without permission. You may need to take steps to reduce noise from overhead if the area above the room is used by running children or pets.

While all of the above may be a minor inconvenience, it will mean the world to the person undergoing chemotherapy. A quiet and comfortable place where they can rest and regain their energy is one of the most important tools of treatment. So, remember to start with a good cleaning and make sure they have everything they need at their disposal.

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Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

Addenda by Healing Cancer Naturally

Many thanks to Craig Meadows for another thoughtful and helpful article! I would add just a few further suggestions:

You may wish to avoid all metal in your bed and its immediate surroundings (such as box springs) and use only natural materials instead including wool, horse hair, latex etc. For the reasons why this can be health-promoting see this site's information on EMFs and geopathic and technopathic stress found in the Energetics section.

When cleaning the room and bathroom, I would make sure to only use natural, non-toxic traditional cleaners such as white vinegar, salt, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, borax, curd soap, and lemons. You are likely to avoid numerous man-made chemicals a number of which have been proven to be deleterious to health. Meanwhile there are several all-natural cleaners on the market as well.

Finally you may wish to add plants and/or pictures of green plants to the room. Plants are well-known air purifiers and studies have shown that hospital patients gazing at leafy trees rather than a brick wall were likely to heal faster, need less pain medication and suffer less postsurgical complications. And even photographs of green landscapes, streams or flowers had a positive effect, inducing a relaxation response (pain, anger, anxiety and stress lessening) within minutes. For more details see Forest bathing.

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