Self care is a choice

January 20, 2010

Caregivers of all types do better if they practice self care first. Society and religion teach us to think of others before we think of ourselves or we’re being selfish; to which I say “NO, this is not quite right”. Mums, Dads, sons, daughters, friends, family, and professional care givers, all need to take care of themselves before they can be successful at providing care for others. If people care for themselves, it means they value themselves enough to be their best, so they have more to give to others and to the world we live in.

There’s a big difference between self care and selfishness. Self care means taking care of our needs not our wants. Our basic needs include getting enough sleep, feeding our bodies well, being physically active, and managing our stress. Selfishness is shallow by comparison, and often results from the need to satisfy a large ego. Selfish people don’t care about anything that gets in their way, and my guess is they don’t truly love themselves, or they wouldn’t need to act as they do.

Self love is not about idolizing the way we look, or accumulating toys; it’s about who we are, our imperfections, our values, and how much we appreciate being alive. Even though we’re all on a separate journey we all have similar needs, and one of our most basic needs is to be loved. Many of us go through childhood feeling that no one loves us or that we’re not important, so we have to act in a way that hides the feelings of an unmet need. The only living human being we can count on to be there for us on a 24/7 basis is our own self; we need to be kind to that self.

Years ago when I was recovering from cancer I worked with a therapist for a few months. One day she told me she didn’t want to see me again until I could tell her I had done something nice for myself every day for a month. I was upset at first as I was depending on her to help me beat my cancer. However after some thought, I decided to take up the challenge and made a conscious effort to be kind to myself every day. I was amazed at how things changed after a month of being considerate to myself. I called the therapist to say I didn’t need to see her anymore as I felt so much better, and I knew I was on the road to recovery.

There are many aspects of self care and it takes work to adjust from being selfless to being able to love your self as much as you deserve to be loved; self care covers the mind, body, emotions, and spirit. At first it seemed like a daunting task to change and look after me before I looked after others, but once I got the hang of it, everything seemed to fall into place. I now know that if I want to do a good job of being there for myself and for others on a daily basis, the only way is to practice healthy self care.

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Soy foods for breast cancer survivors

December 9, 2009

Many breast cancer survivors wonder about the connection between breast cancer and soy products, and whether soy is safe to eat once we have a diagnosis.

Soy is in many of the foods we eat whether we like it or not, and the quantity of soy consumed is an issue in itself. Another issue is the fact that soy is genetically modified.

So the jury is still out, but this article from the Globe and Mail provides you with Leslie Beck’s Food For Thought:

Breast cancer survivors shouldn’t shun soy foods

In the past several years, soy foods have been showing up regularly on grocery store shelves. And it’s not just tofu. Packages of soy nuts, burgers, drinks, cereals, yogurt and desserts as well as edamame have become mainstream grocery items.

At the same time, there’s been controversy about the use of soy, especially for breast cancer survivors. The concern is that isoflavones, compounds that occur naturally in soy, could increase the risk of the cancer returning.

But according to a study published in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, enjoying a soy latte or soy burger causes no harm – and can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Foods made from soy beans are high in protein and contain isoflavones, phytochemicals that compete for the same place on breast cells that estrogen does. By acting like weak forms of the body’s own estrogen, some experts have worried that soy isoflavones could possibly promote cancer growth.

That’s because certain risk factors for breast cancer, such as beginning your menstrual period before age 12 or starting menopause after 55, are related to the length of time breast cells are exposed to the body’s own circulating estrogen. It’s thought that estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells.

Women taking tamoxifen, a drug used to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, are often advised to avoid soy foods because soy isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors on breast cells just like the medication does. The fear is that soy may reduce the effectiveness of tamoxifen. (Tamoxifen works by blocking estrogen in the body from attaching to estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells, slowing the growth of tumours and killing tumour cells.)

In the new study, the largest conducted to date on breast cancer survival, researchers examined the safety of soy food consumption among 5,042 breast cancer survivors, aged 20 to 75, in China. Women were recruited into the research effort – known as the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study – six months after breast cancer diagnosis

After four years, women with the highest soy consumption – measured as soy protein intake – had a 29 per cent lower risk of death and were 32 per cent less likely to have breast cancer recur compared with women with the lowest intake.

The protective effect of soy was observed for women with either early or late stage breast cancer and in women with estrogen-receptor (ER) positive and ER negative breast cancer. (Doctors test breast cancer cells to determine whether they have hormone receptors. If breast cancer cells have estrogen receptors, the cancer is said to be ER positive. If they do not, it is called ER-negative.)

Soy food consumption was associated with improved survival regardless of tamoxifen use. Among women who consumed the most soy, both users and non users were 35 per cent less likely to have breast cancer recur.

Women who consumed the most soy and did not take tamoxifen had a lower risk of cancer recurrence and death than tamoxifen users with low soy intakes. This suggests that high soy intake and tamoxifen use may have a comparable effect on breast cancer survival.

A daily intake of 11 grams of soy protein offered the most benefit, an amount found in about 11/2 cups of soy beverage, one soy burger, 1/2 cup of edamame (young green soy beans) or 1/2 cup of tofu. Higher intakes did not offer greater protection.

Only one previous study has explored soy intake and the risk of breast cancer recurrence. The Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study, published in November, followed 1,954 northern California early stage breast cancer survivors for six years and found that postmenopausal women with a high soy isoflavone intake – compared with none – had a lower risk of their cancer returning.

Findings from the LACE study also revealed that among postmenopausal women treated with tamoxifen, those who consumed the most soy were 60 per cent less likely to have their breast cancer recur compared with women with the lowest intakes.

Soy foods may protect from breast cancer in a number of ways. Isoflavones may decrease circulating estrogen levels and increase its removal from the body. Soy also contains folate, calcium, fibre, protein and many phytochemicals that, individually or together, may help combat cancer.

While it appears that moderate soy consumption is probably safe for breast cancer patients and survivors, keep in mind these findings are confined to soy foods, not soy supplements.

In fact, research suggests the effects of soy foods and supplements differ. In one study, soy milk reduced circulating estrogen levels but isoflavone supplements had no effect. And we don’t have data on the long-term safety of these supplements.

In addition to adding soy to your diet, the following strategies may also help reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Soy protein in foods The study published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming 11 grams of soy protein per day reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence and death. Higher intakes did not confer extra protection. Soy beans, canned, ½ cup 14 grams Edamame, ½ cup 11 grams Soy nuts, roasted, unsalted, ¼ cup 11 grams Soy beverage, unflavoured, 1 cup 8 -9 grams Soy yogurt, 1 cup 5 grams Soy nut butter, 2 tbsp. 7 grams Tofu, firm, ½ cup (125 g) 20 grams Tofu, regular, ½ cup (125 g) 10 grams Soy ground round, 1/3 cup 10 grams Soy burger, 1 patty (14 g) 14 grams Soy hot dog, 1 (46 g) 10 grams Soy frozen dessert, ¾ cup 1 grams

Eat more vegetables and fruit

Strive for at least seven servings a day. Studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower) and leafy greens are especially protective from breast cancer.

Reduce fat

Research suggests it’s prudent to reduce your intake of dietary fat, particularly if you’ve been diagnosed with ER-negative breast cancer. Choose lean meats, poultry breast, legumes and non-fat dairy products. Use high-fat spreads and salad dressings sparingly.

Control your weight

Breast cancer survivors who are overweight or obese are more likely to have cancer recur compared with leaner survivors. Women are advised to keep their body mass index (BMI) in the range of 21 to 23 and limit weight gain and increases in waist circumference.

Be active

Moderate to vigorous exercise has been shown to improve breast cancer survival; the evidence is strongest for women with ER-positive tumours and those diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Regular exercise helps reduce breast cancer recurrence by preventing weight gain and reducing levels of circulating hormones.

Breast cancer survivors are advised to get at least 150 minutes (21/2 hours) a week of moderate intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise (running, elliptical trainer, cardio machines).

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based dietitian at the Medcan Clinic, is on CTV’s Canada AM every Wednesday. Her website is lesliebeck.com.

Mammography guidelines

November 25, 2009

Article re mammography guidelines in today’s Guelph Mercury newspaper by Vik Kirsch:
Long-term breast cancer survivor Lynn Roodbol couldn’t disagree more with a new panel’s conclusion that women don’t need mammograms in their 40s.

While living in British Columbia in the mid-1980s, Guelphite Roodbol, 64, found a lump.

“My doctor refused to give me a mammogram. He said I was too young to have breast cancer.” But her persistence paid off: she was ultimately diagnosed as having breast cancer — despite being only 41 at the time.

“That’s why I believe in mammography starting at 40,” said Roodbol, a member of the Guelph Wellington Breast Cancer Support Group who is — ironically — a Guelph and Kitchener mammographer by profession, recently retired.

There’s increasing public debate about a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force panel of experts concluding routine mammograms aren’t needed for women in their 40s. They found little evidence survival rates are better than for women tested in their 50s. Current American guidelines recommend screening every year or two for women in their 40s. But the task force noted a high number of false positive results for women in their 40s leading to unnecessary removal and sampling of tissue.

In the face of concern in the U.S. that the task force is attempting to cut costs for health care providers, President Barack Obama’s administration is assuring the public the government would continue to fund mammograms for women 40 and older, the New York Times reported last week.

The task force recommendations dovetail with what’s the norm in Canada: routine testing of women starting in their 50s.

Canadian Cancer Society senior manager of prevention Gillian Bromfield said periodic testing of women 50 to 69 years of age and of average risk “has been shown to save lives.”

Evidence it would benefit women in their 40s “hasn’t come to light.”

The exceptions include women in elevated risks, such as those in families with histories of breast cancer or those who have had previous exposure to radiation. Such women should have discussions with their doctors about when it’s appropriate to begin mammogram testing.

“They should start those discussions early,” Bromfield said, adding that could begin even before they’re in their 40s in some circumstances.

But Bromfield acknowledged there’s ongoing debate in the public about what’s best. Some people assume that if regular testing is beneficial to people in their 50s, it should be helpful at an earlier age. But among the issues is the fact women younger than 50 have denser breasts, so mammograms may not be as revealing. There are also more false positive test results in younger women.

But Roodbol says she’s living proof women can get breast cancer in their 40s and should be proactive.

By the time her cancer was confirmed, it was in the second stage of development, had grown to a significant size and spread to her lymph nodes. She underwent surgery, received whole-body chemotherapy and made lifestyle changes in exercise and diet.

Roodbol urged women in their 40s to have a healthy respect for the threat of breast cancer. If they have legitimate concerns, they should see their doctors about having mammograms as a precaution.

They shouldn’t wait until they’re 50, Roodbol concluded.

New guidelines for breast cancer detection

November 19, 2009

The new mammography guidelines are shocking because they cloud the issue of breast cancer, and move us backwards rather than forwards to a cure.
If we want to discover breast cancer early, we need to practice early detection.
If we follow the new guidelines, more women under 50 will have advanced breast cancer before it’s treated.
It seems the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has a mission to increase the incidence of breast cancer in young women where the impact on women and their families is greater, and more expensive treatments are required after diagnosis.
It seems to me like a plot to ramp up big business, and to create more money for companies with an interest in chemotherapy drugs, cancer treatments, etc.
You can read more about the guidelines at: http://breastcancer.about.com/b/2009/11/16/mammo-guidelines.htm?nl=1
In light of the new recommendations, we need a grass roots movement to protect ourselves from the curse of cancer. Here is a good article with advice on what individuals can do to prevent breast cancer:
Integrative Medicine Approaches to Reducing Breast Cancer Risk
-Practice monthly self-breast exams.
-Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, preferably raw
-Limit your intake of animal fats, particularly red meat.
-Eat lots of fiber
-Avoid drinking two or more glasses of alcohol per day
-Increase your intake of superfoods high in antioxidants, such as kale, beets, carrots, beans, collard greens, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. If you’re not good about eating your veggies, try Sun Chlorella.
-Drink green juice. It’s a great way to alkalinize your body, and cancer likes acid, not alkalinity.
-Avoid dairy or use organic butter, cheese, and milk, as they are less likely to be contaminated with human growth hormone or estrogen, which is sometimes used to stimulate milk production in cows.
-Use extra-virgin olive oil, raw flaxseed oil, and cod liver oil.
-Expose yourself to the sun. High levels of Vitamin D help fight cancer.
-Exercise. It helps detoxify the body and decreases the amount of estrogen that reaches the breasts. Women who exercise regularly have a 30% lower risk of breast cancer.
-Apply loving energy to your breasts with daily massage. Massage your breast tissue and the area under your arms while you’re soaping yourself in the shower. Close your eyes and visualize healthy breast tissue. Release all fear of breast cancer through a release valve at your root chakra. Dump the toxic energy of fear into the earth’s core and allow the golden light and radiant healing of the Universe to enter through the top of your head. Close your eyes and imagine healing energy extending from your heart, through your arms, to your hands.
-Talk to your doctor about when you should begin mammography and/or breast thermography.
-Be aware of your family history. If you have a first degree family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause, consider talking to a genetic counselor.
-Limit alcohol intake, and if you do drink alcohol, make sure you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet. If not, take a supplement that includes folic acid.
-If you are at higher risk for breast cancer, talk to your doctor about supplements you can use to reduce your risk.
You can find the whole article at: http://www.owningpink.com/2009/11/17/owning-our-boobs-thoughts-on-the-new-mammography-recommendations/
Women need to unite and fight back against the new guidelines.
We need to stand up for ourselves, and protect our health so we stay well rather than raise our risk of getting cancer.
Cancer is a despicable disease – my breast cancer advanced to Stage II because I hadn’t done screening mammography or Breast Self Examination (BSE). My doctor was doing cursory Clinical Breast Exams on a yearly basis, but breast cancer can grow rapidly, between visits, in young women. Women who are taught how to do proper BSE on a monthly basis do not increase the number of false positives.
Breast Self Examination helps women to take charge of their health.
This website will show you how to do BSE: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6x_How_to_perform_a_breast_self_exam_5.asp?sitearea=
I used to do mammography, so I support annual mammograms and I think it is good advice to do BSE consistently and well:
Keep a journal of what you find – each month, when you do BSE, draw a picture of your breasts and date it. Draw in any lumps, ridges, thickening, skin changes, etc. Measure areas you want to watch and record the size; you can equate the size to a grain of rice, pea, grape, walnut, etc. In this way you have a record which you can show your doctor. It will increase your confidence if you practice BSE properly. If you have a controlled record of what you find, there is less chance of worry over lumps that are not changing. New changes and visible changes such as dimpling and thickened skin should be reported immediately.

Cancer treatment decisions

November 11, 2009

One of the toughest decisions that people with cancer have to face is whether or not to take drug or other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. The amount of information and misinformation takes a lot of work to sort through and be able to make a conscious decision. It’s a daunting task for even the most seasoned researchers, and unfortunately many people get lost in the shuffle due to overwhelm and confusion.

People with cancer and their loved ones can research the internet, read books, and hear stories from others which may be helpful or not. Some people have good advice from doctors and they’re comfortable with what they hear so it’s easier to proceed. I’ve heard a number of people say they are not comfortable with their doctor’s recommendations, and would like to do things differently, but they’re afraid to make the wrong decision when their life is in the balance.

When coping with cancer in 1987, I took advantage of everything I was offered except one treatment that my gut instinct told me to refuse. Fortunately for me, when I asked my doctors, they told me the results would give me a 50/50 chance of improving my outcome so it wasn’t too big a risk. It can be much more difficult decision when people are given higher percentages on the benefits of a certain treatment.

There are always personal factors which enter in to the decisions people face with cancer treatment. I remember the fear I had when making decisions in case I chose something which would create side effects I couldn’t live with, or chose not to take something which was supposed to make me well. I didn’t want to do anything which would increase my risk of recurrence.

I will always be grateful to my health care team for guiding me and supporting me to make my own decisions. I believe that whatever treatment we take has to feel right for us as an individual.

For example, it’s common to feel some fear and concern when starting a course of chemotherapy. The important thing is to take a look at the risks and benefits and to work with your head and your heart to get to the point where you’re reasonably sure you’re making the right decision for you. This way you will get maximum benefit from the treatment.

If something is screaming at you to take another direction, then you need to pay attention and explore other options until you find something you can tolerate. The mind body connection will guide you to the right place if you allow it to take place.

My health care team encouraged me to use visualization and guided imagery to engage the mind-body connection; this helped me to make decisions, promote healing, and get my thoughts working for me rather than against me. These new ideas added to the steep learning curve of living with cancer; however, I’m convinced my recovery was a combination of Western medicine and complementary therapies which is now referred to as integrated medicine.

It’s not an easy task to overcome cancer. It takes energy and effort to pull in all the tools and skills we can gather so the decisions we make will help us on the road to recovery. People can tell us what they think, but we are our own best experts and the decisions we make are ours alone.

Optimism and Quality of Life

October 27, 2009

Positive thinking seems to be in the news a lot lately thanks to the new book by Barbara Ehrenreich called Bright Sided; I haven’t read this book, but I’ve read articles about it and heard the author interviewed on the radio. Although there were times after my diagnosis of cancer in 1986 when I had similar thoughts to the author, I’m happy to say that I’m long past that mode of thinking. I believe I would not have been cancer free for the last 22 years if I continued to think along those lines.

I agree with one of Ms. Ehrenreich’s statements which is that “artificial positive thinking” doesn’t work. In order to think positive, we need to let go of negative thinking and BE positive. I spent many years with depression and negative thinking, so it wasn’t easy for me to make that switch. After cancer I spent time with a psychiatrist, and did a course in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help me change my unrealistic, destructive thoughts to those which are constructive and life giving. I will always be grateful to my support team for helping me to stick with it when the going got tough.

I know people who mean well when they say “Think positive” to someone facing a life threatening illness, but it’s unreasonable to expect people to smile when they’re feeling down. It doesn’t make sense to pretend that cancer and cancer treatment are positive experiences when we’re feeling miserable and facing an uncertain future; I had a huge range of negative thoughts and emotions when I was going through surgery and chemotherapy. I now know this is a normal reaction, but at the time I felt alone with my fears.

It’s important to recognize and respect the way people handle their individual journey and support them in the best way we can. When I faced my mortality I put myself in a pine box; it was the people around me who helped me to get out of it as I didn’t have the energy at the time. With help I learned to take one day at a time and with baby steps I gradually regained the strength I needed to turn my life around.

It helped me to live in the moment, to find something positive every day, no matter how small, to be able to look beyond cancer treatment, and see something to live for. My family and friends helped me a great deal as I learned to think about me and my purpose in life.

I know my life has improved as a result of the valuable work I’ve done to become more optimistic and resilient. Some people may choose to resist positive thinking but I’m happy that I changed; my quality of life is so much better.

Genes vs. environment

October 26, 2009

Here are some excerpts from an article about nature vs. nurture written by Andre Picard in the Globe and Mail today:
“Your genes do not – except in rare cases – condemn you to heart disease, or protect you from its ravages.
Rather, the environment you live in, your lifestyle choices and the treatments you take can override genetic predispositions, one of the country’s top researchers says.
‘Environment often trumps genetics,’ Robert Hegele, director of the cardiovascular genetics laboratory at the Robarts Research Institute in London, Ont., said yesterday.
……He said about 5 per cent of people are ‘exquisitely susceptible’ to heart disease because they have a genetic mutation.
At the other end of the scale are people who do seemingly everything wrong – smoke, drink, eat badly, remain inactive – and live well into their 90s in seeming good health. He pointed to former British prime minister Winston Churchill as a poster boy for this group.
However, Dr. Hegele said, the other 90 per cent of the population ‘fall somewhere else on the bell curve’ and they have a lot more control over their heart health than they realize.
…… ‘While genetic testing is increasingly providing valuable information, clinicians and patients themselves already have the tools to act,’ he said. ‘No matter what all the high-tech stuff reveals, the answers are still simple for most people.
Those simple things include classic lifestyle choices, such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Not-quite-so-simple matters like a person’s income, education, housing status and physical environment matter too,’ Dr. Hegele said.”
In other words, if your ancestors all died of heart disease, it could be the gene that was transferred down the line, but the disease could also have been caused by the lifestyle choices and attitudes that were learned from parents and other family members.
I think it’s important to take a look at the choices we’re making so we’re not just doing things because they’ve always been that way. These choices form our environment to a certain extent for good or bad and it takes awareness to change them if they need improvement.
Listen to your gut when making decisions as the issues are complex and you have to do what’s right for you.

Survivorship

October 13, 2009

Talking about survivorship is a good thing – it means not everyone is dying from cancer; talking about survivorship allows us to talk about how people are living.

Survivorship issues depend a lot on what stage the cancer is at when it’s discovered. In 1987 I felt as if my body had given itself up to cancer, and I had to figure out a whole new way to live; I was convinced I would die if I didn’t change the “soup” or the “terrain” of my body.

Unfortunately we all know people who appear to do everything right and still die of cancer; there are no easy answers and there is no single answer. Cancer works in mysterious ways and it’s no wonder there’s so much fear surrounding the big “C”. I believe this fear is a huge part of the problem. When I was living in fear, I felt helpless and hopeless; the emotional roller coaster flung me around on a 24/7 basis, and my brain was too paralyzed to make sense of what was happening.

My health didn’t improve until I allowed other people to help me focus on the present moment. I began to accept the idea that the past was over, nothing could be changed, and not to think about the future because it was too scary. Focusing on the present day seemed to be all that I could cope with, but that felt good once I got used to it.

Working on one day at a time, my health became my number one priority and the fear of cancer diminished. My survivorship skills have kept me well, and those single days have added up to 22 years post cancer now.

I believe there must be a way to beat cancer; we can each do our part if we put good health high on our list of priorities. We can make smart choices about nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management which will help us to reach our best possible state of wellness.

If we all stand up to cancer we can win!

Cancer prevention is a reality

October 7, 2009

The Go Public cancer forum in Ottawa had many high powered, interesting speakers; most of them talked about the prevention of cancer as well as cancer control.

I’ve attended many cancer conferences, and I’ve never heard so much talk about cancer prevention. The figures are amazing; in general they range from 30% to 50%, with someone saying that 95% of cancer is preventable.

Why are so many people dying if we know that cancer can be prevented? Cancer rates are rising not falling – if we continue as we are, then 1 in 2 males and 1 in 3 females will have cancer by 2050. Today most people know someone who has cancer and we are all affected by this; imagine what it will be like when the rates are so much higher. Our thinking has to change if we’re serious about preventing cancer and reducing cancer deaths by half in the next generation.

It’s amazing we haven’t figured this out yet with all the money that goes in to research, but I know the fact that we’re human beings is a big part of the problem. For example, we all know about the foods that are bad for us; but as Dr. Andrew Weil said on the Larry King show, people eat what’s cheap and accessible. It’s easy to expect the health care system to fix the problems we bring on ourselves by over eating bad chemicals in food, and being a nation of people who love the taste of fats, oils, salt and sugar.

Changing habits can be difficult if we’re not committed. I know – I faced my mortality in 1987 with breast, colon and skin cancer. I would be dead by now if I hadn’t made a commitment to get well, and worked hard at improving my diet, exercise, relaxation, and stress levels.

I think one key factor is that I had a coach to help me. I wanted to change, but I didn’t believe I could do it, and I know many people who struggle with the same issue. If people are serious about wanting to change, and they partner with a coach, either a professional or a friend, they can achieve so much more than they can achieve alone.

Preventing cancer involves making healthy choices for what we eat, how we exercise, how long we sleep, and how well we manage our stress levels. These are the main factors, but many other issues are involved. I believe it’s important to let go of what gets in the way of us living a healthy life; the past is over and cannot be undone. We can all start now – right here – right now and go forward to a healthy future where we love ourselves enough to take good care of the mind, body and spirit we were blessed with when we were born.

Take action now so that you and your loved ones will not be surprised with a diagnosis of cancer. Start from here to go forward and find your own way to build a healthy life. The time to act is now!

Support the CBCF Run for the Cure

October 3, 2009

I have been a CBCF volunteer and a fan for many years because I think the CBCF provides people with the energy to take action and do whatever it takes to overcome breast cancer.
I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 1986 & skin and colon cancer in 1987. I had the 3 strikes and you’re out mentality, and I felt my life was over.
Fortunately I had great support from family, friends and my health care team; I also had a supportive husband who coached me to regain my health.
I made many lifestyle changes:
I replaced all the junk and high fat foods with fruits, and vegetables etc. I ask myself “Is this good for my health?” before making food choices.
I make sure I walk every day; having a dog helps to get me out the door.
I practice deep breathing, deep relaxation, and good sleeping habits.
I manage my stress levels and work through negative emotions, so each day I can feel positive and hopeful for the future.
One day at a time I have managed to be cancer free for 22 years and I appreciate life so much more than before my diagnosis. I hope that people who have not had cancer can learn from those of us who have, and make healthy lifestyle choices so they will stay well.
Authorities are now saying that 30% to 50% of cancer can be prevented; add to that the 25% of cancers that can be cured if they are detected early, and we can really have an impact on reducing this disease if we choose to live well.