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Living with Cancer Means Applying Everything I’ve Learned About Health and Wellness

May 7, 2012

I’ve been living with the knowledge that I have cancer for about six weeks now, and it turns out a lot of what I’ve learned to lose weight is also what I need to know to fight cancer.

Check it out:

  • Exercise is extremely helpful: Mentally, emotionally and physically, exercise is a good thing. The stronger I am physically, the better off I will be as chemotherapy and radiation therapy do their thing. Exercise also helps keep me sane and wards off negative feelings about the fact that I’m in this fight to begin with. Positive is always better. I walk, or jump on the elliptical at the gym. I even took a Zumba class last week.
  • Protein, protein, protein: Clean proteins are always a better choice than processed foods. I’ve been making breakfast smoothies with almond milk, Greek yogurt, protein powder and frozen fruit like strawberries, blueberries or cherries. They’re simple to make and delicious. Additionally, we eat lots of turkey and chicken.
  • Less is more when it comes to sugar: I struggle with this one every day. I would like to not eat sugar, but I dig sweets and I want to eat sweets of all kinds. Still, I’ve read that sugar feeds cancer. It also causes inflammation, which can lead to cancer and other illnesses. I’m working on this.
  • Vegetables and fruits are awesome: Vegetables, and lots of them, are a good thing, especially those with cancer-fighting properties, like tomatoes. We also cook a lot of broccoli and spinach. I also eat some fruit, especially bananas, but vegetables over fruit is always the better choice.
  • Listening to my body is important: Paying attention to my body’s signals is how it was discovered I have cancer, and it’s even more important. Am I experiencing any side effects, like mouth sores, blisters on my hands and feet, taste bud changes, gastrointestinal issues? It’s important to track that information. It’s also important to know when I need to rest. After the aforementioned Zumba class, I didn’t do any kind of workout for two days. I was exhausted!
  • Losing weight is off the table: Using what I know about living healthy cannot be about losing weight for the time being. Seriously. The dietician at my cancer treatment center was asking if I had experienced loss of appetite since starting chemotherapy. I said, I had not and it was unfortunate because I have another 20 or so pounds I’d like to lose, which was met with a stony silence. The medical team will evidently freak out if my weight drops by as much as five percent. Actually, I was met by the dietician after radiation therapy when it appeared I’d lost a whole pound. They’re serious about this no weight loss thing. It’s cool, I get it.

Living with cancer sucks. I wish I didn’t have to do it at all, but here I am fighting stage three rectal cancer. My prognosis is great, though, and I’ll have a long life after cancer treatment is over. And, guess what? Everything I know about healthy living also applies to life as a cancer survivor.

Here’s to survival!

From → Uncategorized

  1. Lynda permalink

    Best wishes, lots of love and all the healing/health vibes in the world sent to you. You don’t even realize how many lives you inspired- mine included- and we only met once. Here’s to you -and may you touch a million more lives.

  2. Sorry to hear about this, but seems you are taking good care of yourself. You are in my prayers.

  3. Lisa Wolf permalink

    Awesome post, Michael! All of us can use this perpective. Still cheering for you everyday and praying for your healing!

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