I’ve been absent for a few weeks while I underwent my second big surgery to remove the remaining cancer tumors in my liver. Fortunately, the surgery went very well, and I am on the road to a good recovery. All the docs, nurses, and staff at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville are nothing less than fantastic, and I am very grateful for their amazing talents and outstanding care.
It certainly is a relief to know that the cancer we had detected at diagnosis is now all gone. After some rest and then a few more chemo treatments, I’ll be doing my best to stay healthy and do my part to prevent recurrence as best as I can. I know that three things are key: physical exercise, healthy eating, and a good attitude. From what I have read in books like “Anticancer: A New Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber, these three things are extremely important, not only for preventing recurrence, but for reducing fatigue, pain, side effects from treatment, and increasing quality of life.
I mention these three things because I have seen so many cancer patients struggle with them. Luckily, as a former athlete, I have experienced the benefits of exercise when I don’t feel well. I have found that just getting up and moving a little bit, even taking a brief walk, helps me to feel better. I have also been a vegetarian by default since getting married as my husband is a vegetarian and likes to cook. However, we do eat fish and eggs, and I’ll eat some chicken from time to time. So, my diet doesn’t need to change too much. We have been eating organic vegetables, reducing processed sugars in our diet, and introducing other “anticancer” foods and herbs like turmeric, yogurt and green tea. I believe my attitude is pretty good as I am able to be present with what is going well and what I appreciate in life. I have had moments of dark thinking, of course, but I am able to move myself out of that and spend time with more positive thinking. Belleruth Naparstek has some wonderful cancer-specific guided imagery recordings that you can download and use to help improve your state of mind. Of course, on AllAboutDepression.com there are also guided imagery exercises, the CBT Workshop to help with more positive thinking, and the Stress Management Workshop.
I strongly encourage any of you that might be struggling with cancer to do what you can to get regular exercise (check with your doctor about this), feed your body healthy foods it can use to help you get better, and remain aware of how your attitude impacts your mood and behaviors. When it comes to cancer, we must do all that we can to help our bodies fight off and recover from this disease.