Living with a cancer afflicted parent — A Series — Part 3

Ease out the physical and mental fatigue through head massages

Now, this one habit is something that provides temporary comfort and relaxation. Cancer treatment makes the patient’s body susceptible to any sort of infection, but on a daily basis that pans out as constant fatigue. Any sort of extra work, can make the patient feel exhausted. My Dad often complains of headaches and weakness, and general sleeping does not take that away. Even going for a walk drains him sometimes, and he loses his appetite, further weakening his body.

Physical fatigue is also one of the main causes of mental fatigue. Cancer can make a person go into an over-thinking mode, driving their thoughts into negative zones of fear, trepidation and worse depression. The idea of life’s fragility can deter motivation to run into the patient’s veins. And often its effect can be seen on the entire family too. The efforts to revive positivity can go in vain, if the mental and physical exhaustion sticks to the afflicted person.

Although, proper diet and routine can drive away physical fatigue, one aspect that I’ve experienced helps Dad feel and think better, is impromptu head and feet massages. Last Sunday morning, Dad was feeling tired for lack of good sleep, and the first thing I did, while he was having breakfast was bring some hair oil. As he munched on his food, I rubbed my oily palms in his bushy head, congratulating him on the healthy growth post chemotherapy. He then pointed to me where his head hurt the most and I made sure that I act as a masseuse, relieving pain from his temples and crown. Post the 10–12 minute massage, he got up and said, I feel a little better, will go fix the car’s tyre or wiper, whatever it was. I did ask him to take some rest again, but he blatantly refused. The massage, I guess, provided the temporary relief that he needed.

More than the physical comfort, massages also relax the mind. Sometimes, Dad falls asleep as my sister is rubbing his feet. It soothes his pressure points, and enables him to feel that his body is still under his control. Moreover, he gets pretty emotional with his kids scuttering around him like this. Although he’s shed a few tears over this, but more or less we’ve diffused them by poking fun at each other and telling him that we’re learning a new skill, for days of unemployment. It’s silly and pretty lame, but sometimes such moments act like glue, easing out the tense environment at home. A little dash of humour never harmed anyone.

Above all, massages act as healers for the noisy mind. The monkey in the brain is given a quiet spot for some time, to sleep and not worry about the multitude of affairs, the permutations and combinations of a dicey future. Massages help, and if done daily, maybe more.

Picture credit — Google images

Hi, I’m Mariyam, thank you for reading my post. This is part of my series on finding positivity and decoding the ‘be positive’ attitude as my father fights through aggressive oral cancer.

If you liked it, you can read other posts on http://mariyamrazahaider.com.

You can also follow me on twitter @MariyamRaza for more. Much love 🙂

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