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KateTheGreat's avatar

How can I build up my frail, sickly immune system?

Asked by KateTheGreat (13635points) December 21st, 2011 from iPhone

I’m the queen of sickness! I haven’t had a moment this season where I’ve been completely healthy. I just finished up chemotherapy and I know my immune system should be a bit weaker for a while, but how can I help my body build back up? I’m taking tons of vitamins and drinking tea, but unfortunately, I still rely on medicine and other chemicals to nurse me back to functionality.

How can I ween myself off of all this allergy and cold medicine? How can i be less susceptible to all of these colds and viruses? I’m sick of being sick. I want my pre-cancer immune system back.

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22 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Granted I was a chunk older than you when I went through chemo and radiation, but I found that the process just took time. Eat absolutely right, do everything right and it will still take awhile. Sorry, Sweetie, but it’s a long drive back to normal. The good news is that hopefully whatever you had the chemo for is gone and won’t be coming back. Exercise gently but regularly, have gallons of healthy soup, and try to be patient. I’m sorry you’re going through this…

KateTheGreat's avatar

@JilltheTooth Sorry to her you went through it as well. I miss feeling young and active. I used to work out obsessively, 3 hours a day, and now I can’t get through 20 minutes without feeling like my body is going to fall apart. Soup really has helped though. It just gets so boring after a while!

bongo's avatar

Being ill will get you down which will make your immune system take a further knock too (although not as much as the chemo). Happiness goes a long way in making you feel healthier in my experience and feeling healthier makes you happier! My advice is don’t work too hard and make sure you are having plenty of time to enjoy things that you like. Making sure that you are happy and have time for yourself goes a long way when being healthy and is pretty underrated. Glad to hear you’re off the chemo, congratulations on getting through that. I cant even start to imagine the difficulty in going through that. Its going to take time but make sure you have time to relax and enjoy things. It may be tempting to jump back into life with both feet and getting back to work or whatever but make sure to make time for yourself! My only experiences of people with cancer have gone in the opposite direction to you so I really am so happy to hear that you are out the other side. Well done Kate (you are great!)

JilltheTooth's avatar

@KateTheGreat : Don’t push too hard, you’ll set yourself back. I speak from experience. I don’t know if you had a weight loss during chemo that has you needing more calories, if so, it’s good for your morale (which is very important and often underrated) to indulge in things you would never normally have, but love. If you gained weight, like I did, (and how unfair was that?) the occasional indulgence is still a good plan…

AmWiser's avatar

I too am sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time with your health. Take time a do lots of research. I would suggest you look into slowly incorporating a raw food regimen into your daily diet. You may be a great candidate for such a diet and it really does guarantee energy producing benefits. Though its hard to start, if you’re dedicated you will see definite improvement within a month. Research, research, and more research. I wish you well….you deserve it.
Another great site

KateTheGreat's avatar

@JillTheTooth yeah, I gained a little weight. I used to be a stick. Not fair! I’ve tried to rest, but I am still in college and have a pretty taxing job, so I’m always busy! From past posts, I heard you used to smoke. Did you smoke post treatment? I am a smoker, so I was wondering if that was a reason I wasn’t progressing as well as I should?

Judi's avatar

Zinc lozenges like cold eaze and Zycam can help keep virus’ away. I know of some essential oil blends and lozenges that are all natural that can help. I don’t want to spam here so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll PM the to you.
You might also want to add Acai juice to you’re diet. it is full of antioxidants.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@AmWiser Ah! I am a vegetarian, so I do eat tons of raw food already. Does the entire diet cater to vegetarians?

marinelife's avatar

Please use the sanitary wipes on grocery carts and avoid public places for a while. Take care of yourself. Doing some yoga if you are up to it could help.

Take good care of yourself. Try to get some laughter back into your life. It boosts your immune system.

tedd's avatar

Well one way to look at it…. if you’re getting sick frequently, your immune system is working at least.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@marinelife Oh I do that all of the time. I sanitize my hands frequently too.

AmWiser's avatar

@KateTheGreat, not necessarily. Vegans do eat cooked foods which still destroys many of the nutrients and vitamins. Raw food is just that…raw. And I must admit the recipes are delicious.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Garlic and yogurt, not necessarily together.

Jude's avatar

Are you getting a lot of rest? Try not to overdo it.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@KateTheGreat : I was vegetarian when I went through treatment, and it was recommended by the vegetarian oncological nutritionist that I incorporate more animal protein into my diet. Not meat, but more egg and dairy products for the concentrated protein value. I did and it helped a lot.

SuperMouse's avatar

We recently picked up a copy of Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I am usually pretty skeptical about these things, but what he writes makes perfect sense and he has awesome, reputable, and verifiable references. He explains the science to back up his claims and the book has some great and easy recipes.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Other than the diet, it’s going to take a long time to recover, so patience. I had mono a long time ago, which I’m guessing doesn’t even come remotely close to what you went through. My ass was dragging for the next six months. I could work a regular 8 hour day, but anything else was a major struggle. Take your time.

CaptainHarley's avatar

As you know, I can definitely empathize. You might want to try this:

It helps my immune system greatly.

Coloma's avatar

I can’t add much to what’s already been suggested, other than, do everything you can to keep your stress levels down.
Emotionally as well as physically.
Keep difficult people and situations out of your life whenever possible.
Do your best to address any emotional issues asap so you are not carrying around anger or upset.

I am a huge believer that emotional stress IS one of the WORST factors in damaging ones health.

Happy holidays Kate! :-D

zenvelo's avatar

Quit smoking. Smoking is a heavy toll on the body. Your body is coping with all the poisons from the smoke, it can’t respond to occasional cold viruses that go to the areas of your body most affected by smoke.

Sleep, eat well, wash your hands, stop smoking, get fresh air and exposure to the Sun for vitamin D, drink no more than a glass of wine each day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Get as much sleep as you can…

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