Saturday, November 29, 2008
I had the pleasure of having lunch today with several friends from my Nordstrom days. Despite the fact that we have not worked together in 8 or 10 years we still try to keep in touch and get together at least once per year. It was great to see all of them and get updates on what is important in their lives these days. They asked me what has changed in my life since my diagnosis and I told them there are several things. My perspective for one. My utter amazement at my friends and family for another, and the way I view my "job" of keeping cancer at bay.
I have done most of the heavy lifting that I can medically now and feel like it is my job to construct the best defense possible against a recurrence since I am now at a greater risk than someone who has not had cancer.
To be sure, there are people who are overweight, smoke their lives away, drink like fish and spend all of their waking hours at McDonalds who never get cancer in their lifetime. There are also people who eat organically, carry very little extra weight, exercise like fiends who are diagnosed with cancer. Look at Lance Armstrong for instance-a healthier specimen would be difficult to find. There are people who carry the breast cancer gene who are never diagnosed and people like me who don't have a history but are diagnosed anyway.
There are no sure fire ways of preventing cancer. But there are ways to decrease your risk. I have spent a lot of time researching, talking to doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths and anyone else I can think of to help me decide on the defense that is right for me. So for Inga, Fabi, Helen and Michelle', here is my plan of attack. It is what is right for me and it is constantly evolving. It is not necessarily what is right for anyone else. Everyone has to do what works for them....
Calcium supplement with Vitamin D
No processed sugar or sugar substitutes
No corn syrup of any kind
1 cup of green tea 5-6 times per week
Limited red meat
Lots of fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors
Limited flax and soy (this is because I am estrogen positive-in general, these things are very healthy)
Lots of whole grains and fiber
Water, water and more water
Exercise 4 1/2-5 hours each week
Try to limit stress
READ LABELS!-I try to choose things with as few ingredients as possible. I also try to not choose items that have ingredients that I wouldn't eat on their own. Would you put Yellow #9 on a plate and eat it by itself??
Buy organic produce whenever possible
Get 10-15 minutes of sunshine a couple times per week
Reduce my body fat (this is a work in progress!)
Listen to my body and talk to my doctor with any questions
Get regular mammograms
Be mindful of my environment-plastics, pesticides etc.
Will this guarantee that my cancer won't return? Nope. If there was a guarantee, I would be the first in line to get one. Lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) can reduce my risk of a recurrence by up to 50% which is more than I got from chemo and radiation. Is it worth it for me to skip the candy bar? You bet.