I had breast cancer. With this blog, I hope to inform readers that you can reduce your risk of cancer, but what if you already have it?
Healthy lifestyle behaviors – regular exercise, stress reduction, nutritious diet and restorative sleep- have just as big an impact on your health now, probably even more so, since now the stakes are higher. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of recurrence and increases longevity for cancer survivors.
I look at my lifestyle before my diagnosis, and now, in hindsight, it’s easy to see what I was doing wrong. Even though good things have come from my cancer diagnosis, of course, I wish it had never happened.
I have moments where I blame myself. Fortunately, these moments pass. I wish I could go back and make the necessary changes before it was too late, but I know that I can’t. Developing cancer requires multiple elements. While I consider the significant stress I was under to be a major contributor, I know there are many other factors.
It was a revelation to realize I could do something to improve my situation, however. I wasn’t helpless. I could look at my life and make changes, feel grateful for what I have and ultimately be happier. And all those things would improve my health.
Happier and healthier: win-win. That was such an “aha” moment for me, I think others, both cancer survivors and those hoping to prevent cancer, could benefit.
I try to approach all of my patients by first considering their lifestyle and how that is impacting their health and well-being. Often, that is all that is needed to improve, reverse, or even completely resolve their medical issues.
The last thing I want to do with this blog is to cause people to feel guilty or blame themselves for being sick. Like it or not our life circumstances affect our health, but everyone is different, and there are too many unknowns to point to a particular time, incident, or ongoing situation as the one thing that caused your cancer. Don’t feel guilty or blame yourself for where life has brought you. There is no use in looking back and regretting where your life choices may have taken you. Instead, let’s look forward. Let’s take an active role in improving our health and happiness.