"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this."
Henry David Thoreau
Naturalist, Author, Philosopher
I remember how helpless I felt as my oncologist said, "O.K. see you in 3 months!" Three months??? As fears and helplessness filled my head I decided to focus on what I could. I threw myself into reading about survivorship, optimal health, taking classes at the local cancer center on natural living and healing modalities, and talking to other survivors to see what they were doing and what they have learned. I am a perpetual student on all things healing and healthy.
I took advantage of all the resources available to cancer survivors. At the local cancer support center I went to restorative yoga classes, had Reiki sessions, and went to guided imagery sessions weekly. My path to wellness, choosing green and natural living has been continual since my diagnosis. I have read countless books, taken various professional classes, classes from professionals, and am still learning everyday! My best advice is to get support! Especially for mental health. Cancer has a greater toll on mental wellness than one may realize!
Managing Fear and Anxiety about recurrence
Fear and Anxiety is a normal response to a cancer diagnosis and survivorship. Here are tips from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC on managing fears of recurrence.
Mindfulness practice and spending time in nature can help in great ways!
Reducing Recurrence Rate
What can you do to reduce your risk of recurrence or to stay healthy? That is the magic question that oncologists usually don't like to answer. It forces us cancer survivors to do our own research, to be bombarded with great suggestions, but also some quackery in the process.
Johns Hopkins has a great list assembled here:
Exercise has been clinically proved to reduce your risk. Start small! Jumping jacks in your kitchen and a 10 minute walk are building blocks to a regular exercise routine. I used to make lots of excuses why I couldn't "work out". I finally learned that movement of any kind is what is important. You can get movement throughout the day. It doesn't have to be an hour exercise session at a gym. Just get moving! Dance in the kitchen. Do high knees for a few minutes before getting in the car. Any movement gets blood flowing, lymph moving, and helps reduce anxiety and stress. In my household it is a win-win for everyone. Dance parties are our favorite!
Boost your immune system and nourish your body
Many Americans eat the diet known as SAD (Standard American Diet) of processed packaged foods. Think about how much nutrition your body gets each day. Are you fueling your cells or just filling your belly. Our immune systems need to be supported with vitamins and minerals from natural food sources (organic is best.)
Where to start? Just start adding more vegetables. Don't concern yourself with what to take out. Just eat more greens, carrots, cucumbers, whatever vegetable you like! As you add more and more good foods, think about how you feel when you eat healthy and then when you don't. We did an entire food overhaul overnight (which I don't recommend). Small steps lead to great changes!
Harvard Medical School on how to boost your immune system:
Cleveland Clinic article on foods that can boost your immune system: http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/01/eat-these-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/
New York Times Magazine article regarding sugar: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html