My name is April and I am an almost 3 year breast cancer survivor! When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was overwhelmed with all of the information presented to me. Making sense of lab reports and attending doctor’s appointments while establishing a plan for my treatment and ultimate recovery proved to be a daunting task.
As a newly diagnosed cancer patient, you tend to get fixated on the immediacy of what life has thrown at you. So much so, that it is hard to see what is important down the road too. After my head stopped spinning full of information and impending decisions, I chose and implemented a treatment plan forging my way into recovery—my journey into the future. This should be the easy part, right? As I distanced myself farther away from the immediate dangers of a cancer diagnosis, whispers of fortitude began to surface. What was I going to do now? I have had the surgery, the first step to a cancer free life. I am now taking the hormone therapy, America’s conventional medical answer for keeping hormone- positive breast cancer at bay. Still, the farther I delved into my newfound cancer free life; I started to wonder what other kinds of preventative measures I could instill into my life in order to ensure my continual good health I have worked so hard to achieve.
There are numerous studies out there, asserting how and why diet and exercise are essential in our every day lives. They become even more important when you have a history of cancer. People who exercise have lower incidence of breast cancer. Many holistic practitioners maintain that by eating the right foods you can actually decrease your risk for cancer by avoiding foods that fuel cancer growth and promote poor eating habits. By extension, poor eating habits can lead to obesity, which in turn also increases your risk for breast cancer. These are all valid reasons why a preventative philosophy is key to safeguarding a healthy life after cancer. As for me, for the most part I adopted a healthy lifestyle including moderate exercise and reasonable eating habits from a young age. However, my cancer diagnosis has only reinforced the need for continuing those conscious health choices today more than ever.
In my personal time, I volunteer on a breast cancer helpline that focuses on providing, women and loved ones affected by breast cancer, help in finding resources and emotional support they need during their journey through breast cancer. Often times topics of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal treatment come up in conversation but nutrition is often overlooked. Eating healthy can be an empowering experience in your life that can positively impact not only on the present, but the future too.
I have decided to take life’s challenge of becoming a healthier me by eating right and exercising, making better health choices along the way. No matter whether you are a cancer survivor or not, I hope you will join me in a healthier tomorrow too.