Summer. In my younger days growing up in Virginia, I spent almost every weekend in Virginia Beach. As a young adult, in Ohio, we took our children to the beach almost every week for a day filled with sun, food, and fun.

Humidity Makes Everything a Little More Difficult

But now...not so much, and it is for a variety of reasons. Reason Number ONE:  I have lung cancer. Because of this, my outdoor activities are severely limited. I am not allowed to sit in the sun - even with sunscreen as my immunotherapy drug interacts with the sun's rays and cause a rash on my exposed skin. The humidity in Northeast Ohio is miserable. For example, this past week was in the 80's but the high humidity makes it feel like the 90's. One step out the door and I feel like an elephant jumped on my chest.

As a lung cancer patient, air conditioning is my best friend. Just walking to the car can get me winded on these hot days since I only have one lung.

Now, how do I handle this weather?  Very carefully, especially this summer as I actually moved twice. Once temporarily for two months while waiting for my permanent home to complete remodeling. Then, finally into our new home.

Combatting the Heat & Humidity

If you find yourself doing strenuous activity on these hot days,  I have found a few ways to help combat that awful chest tightness, exhaustion, and fatigue the heat can cause:

  • Drink a lot of water in the morning prior to going outside.  Continue to drink water throughout the day.
  • One step at a time - literally.  No rushing.  Walk at a pace your breathing is comfortable and you can still talk while walking.
  • If participating in strenuous activity, rehydrate with water every few minutes.

I really stress the WATER and keeping hydrated. The first day I was moving, I got dizzy, hot, sweating profusely and out of breath.  Day two, I guzzled water all day - and I mean guzzled.  An 8 oz. bottle of water every 45 minutes to an hour.  The effects were amazing.  I was still tired, but there was no dizziness and my breathing was a bit easier.

As cancer patients, we are told to listen to our bodies, but what happens when we have things we have to do on certain days?  I had to move on a particular day.  It was HOT...88 degrees.  Who would have thought something so simple could make a change in my entire day and how my body felt.

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.

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