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Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by ashcon on Mar 11, 2019 8:32 am

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Cancer is a wake-up call and, for many people, it is a motivator to make some improvements to some health and lifestyle choices.

However, when treatment is done, and the normal demands of life return (work, family, etc.) sometimes your good intentions and best-laid plans get deprioritized or even derailed.  You may even find yourself slipping into old (bad) habits.

Have you fallen off the path of well-being, and if so where?
What has helped you to stay, or get back, on track?

 

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by ACH2015 on Mar 11, 2019 12:05 pm

The path to well being can have many pot holes, I keep filling mine in.

My path has been full of recovery from one treatment, then face another. Not complaining, just stating that its just recently (almost 3 years in) that I feel some level of reaching a true recovery stage.

I brought this up with one of my doctors recently. Since this all began in 2016, I have had the thought that "once I am better I will do.... The fact of the matter is, I have come to realize I am where I am going to be, and the improvements in health and well being start from this baseline.

I have fallen off of the path many times, sometimes due to illness, or fatigue, or pain, or depression.Pick one.The important thing is something within me gets me off my a$$ again to move forward Sometimes that process is short, other times its a much longer process. I am coming to the realization that something that took me a few hours to do before cancer now can take all day. So be it, I have come to accept that, and just be happy that I can still do something.

I don't think its realistic to say anyone can stay on that "rigid path of well being" everyday. Many outside sources or forces can play havoc with the best laid plans. For me, the desire to regain strength,keep my brain from turning into mush, and live as normally as I can all contribute to getting me back on track to healthy eating, exercise, keeping a positive attitude.

Finding and fine tuning balance in my life is a focus I am currently paying attention to, and working on.

Balancing self care (as we all have stated many times on this site) with all the other facets of life is an important part of staying on my path of well being. It helps to level out some of the pot holes in the path.

ACH2015

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Brighty on Mar 11, 2019 1:58 pm

ACH2015‍  andy I just want to say how much I admire  you.   Your strength and  courage.    Your bravery ... you fight and fight for what you believe  in.   Your perseverance. . You never give up.    You spend countless hours here helping  others no matter what you are going through.     You are an inspiration  to everyone  here and I'm sure I speak for everyone.   We can't thank you enough for all you do.   

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by LPPK on Mar 11, 2019 3:34 pm

I skipped out the door after my last radiation treatment over a year ago.  I have continued with the things that I put into place during my cancer journey (change in diet, exercise, ways to reduce stress)..
The suggestions in Strategies for Well Being are simple and easy to accomplish. Over the last year I have tried;   Be active  (curl and golf),   Take time to really enjoy your food (new recipes),   Give yourself a challenge you’ll enjoy (family genealogy search), Volunteer at something that’s meaningful to you (in the schools), and Go out in nature (sugar bush, river nearby, farm fields, orchard). This year I am hoping to get back into bicycling, more meditation, go back to something I liked before, help more at a community group, and laugh hard and often.


 

 

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by ashcon on Mar 11, 2019 4:03 pm

LPPK‍  and ACH2015‍ 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspectives. Your responses both suggest a 'mental' decision to get, or strive to stay, on that path of well-being.  I've always thought that fighting cancer is 10% physical and 90% mental/ psychological/ emotional!
LPPK - that link you provided is great!

ACH2015 - I'm glad that you are finally feeling like you are in a place where you can start to act on things that look/smell/act like 'recovery' maneuvers!  It's been a long road of many twists and turns!
And you are right - there is no way that anyone can be expected to stay on that rigid path of well-being everyday. 
Sometimes, like following a path in a beautiful forest, detours, pauses in pace, asking for directions, and maybe even back-tracking are necessary in order to navigate the zigs & zags, rock outcroppings, raging rivers and valleys that you may encounter on the way.   And if you're lucky you grow even stronger in your well-being as a result!

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Kims1961 on Mar 11, 2019 9:14 pm

Hello All...great responses and suggestions.

ACH2015‍ great analogy of "pot holes"....as i see them developing as move from winter to spring...sometimes i can avoid the pot holes and other times - i hit them square on.  Filling them in helps and sometimes i need a complete repavement!  Like being on the path of well-being - during cancer treatments i tried really hard to eat well, exercise to help manage side effects and ease my mental health. Tried to avoid as many pot holes as I could.

Now that i'm done treatment - i'm trying to find my new normal. It may be time for a "repavement"  - looking at my eating habits, trying to eat healthy foods and get back into a more regular exercise regime.

Good goals to set - thanks for starting this topic...has me thinking for sure!  Kim

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Minus2 on Mar 12, 2019 8:56 am

This is a great topic and so relevant to my state of mind these days.  When I was off work, recovering from surgery, the changes were actually easy to make.  Once back at work though, the demands on my time extend well beyond the school day and into the weekends.  Combine being at work with inclement weather and getting outside was not very high on my priority list.  It's time to get back on the right pathway and today the sun is shining - maybe today is a good day for a walk (once I get in a couple of hours on my course 😉.

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by law on Mar 12, 2019 11:03 am

Thank you for your honesty and real-life experiences after recovery. My brain is often mush, depression creeps in on a whim, and I get fatigued every time I try to move!! I try not to evaluate my activities too much (or lack there of)
I am getting out of the horrid tongue cancer pain during my recovery and your reflections motivate me.
Continued good wishes to you,
Lisa

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by WesT on Mar 12, 2019 12:49 pm

ashcon‍ another great topic.  Staying on the path of well being is definitely a struggle. 

Although I personally am doing well physically on my road to recovery, keeping a positive attitude about the future is sometimes an issue.  On top of that simple small things can trigger anger and/or anxiety.  After those triggers and potentially unwanted responses, negative feelings take hold that can last for minutes or even days.  Distractions help, but not always.  Sometimes those negative feelings take hold in a manner that makes one wonder what is the point of continuing.

I just try and push through it knowing that shortly all will be better.  Sometimes it is a friend, a colleague or someone here on this site that will say or do something that snaps me out of it.  Sometimes it passes on its own.  I just try and stay optimistic and wait it out.

I really wish I could get myself motivated to get out and do more physical activities.  Maybe when the temperatures get better and the weather improves I will feel more like doing so.  Right now I just want to stay inside and hide from the world most of the time.... 

Is spring here yet?

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by law on Mar 12, 2019 6:14 pm

Hi Wes T,
Oh Wow---can I relate to your feelings of anger, days/hours of negativity, desire to stay inside and hide where it is safer!!
I am trying to eat better yet I am afraid to cook, shop, fill the fridge, socialize at cafes.
I just keep saying to myself, "Lisa, it is only one day...tomorrow will come soon enough"
Hang in there, get good books, do whatever feels right, and know that negative feelings are normal, annoying, stressful, and uninvited.
Lisa

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by WesT on Mar 12, 2019 7:17 pm

law‍ Lisa I try to focus on my hobby which is a musical instrument and my love of music to try and keep me distracted.  It works most of the time but sometimes not so well.  At this point I work full time and spend about 20-25 hours a week with my instrument.  My wife is patient and understanding, most of the time.  It helps that one of the people I play with is her college roommate and the few gigs we do in the summer months are a reunion of sorts (the people I play with are over two hours away so we don't get together as often as we should).

We also go and see a lot of live music but sometimes the anxiety leading up to going out makes me want to stay home and sometimes puts a serious damper on what would otherwise be a great outing.

Having been though cancer makes me yearn for retirement while I still have my health to enjoy it but that is still at least a couple of years away.  Got to pay the bills!

If you need advice or support, there are a lot of great people here who can help or point you in the right direction.  They have helped me immensely.

Good luck!

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by law on Mar 12, 2019 8:50 pm

Thank goodness for music! I am glad you find it soothing as i also enjoy music. Until 5 months ago, I could still play my clarinet in a group with friends, but the tongue cancer caused such pain I had to stop. The muscles in my mouth and tongue are still mending. Soon I'll pick the clarinet back up again. Little by little I'll get stronger.
Your wife sounds very patient---what a good heart she has to support you .
Best regards,
Lisa

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Mar 13, 2019 1:42 pm

WesT‍ Wrote: “Is it spring here yet?”

Ugh. No. The rain coming down on me this morning - afternoon, oops - is still annoyingly hard and “pingy.”

I wish I was more physically motivated, too. Your hobby is like mine in that they inspire/require us to sit for long periods of time. And, again — the weather isn’t any encouragement to get out there!

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by WesT on Mar 13, 2019 2:02 pm

Cynthia Mac‍ Home safe and sound?

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Kims1961 on Mar 13, 2019 3:42 pm

WesT‍ You made some excellent points in your post. There are days that are easier than others...strangely sometimes when the weather is sunny and beautiful - my mood can be down...weird 😕

Someone mentioned to me that their grandmother's saying was " There is no bad weather, just bad clothing"....ha ha...good old advice from wise grandmothers.   Probably a wise grandmother that wanted the kids out of the house for a while 😉

One thing my oncologist said is to be kind on yourself in that it's relatively "soon" to be feelling back to  a new "normal".  You said it beautifully in that sometimes we need to push through and just "do it" and other times to take a pass.  Sometimes i will push myself to try something but have a back up plan to leave / escape if need be.

Always a work in progress!  Just keep "pumping up the bass"....or is that a really lame saying?  😀Kim


 

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Mar 13, 2019 3:52 pm

Yes, I am, WesT‍ , apart from the “tour cold.”

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by WesT on Mar 13, 2019 6:58 pm

Kims1961‍ thanks!  There NO lame sayings when it come to the bass!  It is ALL about the bass!  😎

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Dielle on Mar 15, 2019 12:18 pm

What a great topic.  There are so many feelings here that I recognize and points I agree with.  Like some others I found that while I was off work I was make improvements in my lifestyle.  I think it helped that I had already been trying to live healthier before cancer.  I was able to keep exercising and eating healthy through chemo and after surgery.  I backslid pretty bad during radiation though.  I just found that trudging there every day for almost 7 weeks really took its toll emotionally and physically.  I didn't feel like doing anything and would stop off for a brownie or cheesecake after treatment to to cheer myself up.  After radiation I started getting back on track and then started work.  I found I wasn't able to juggle the demadns of work with my self-care care goals and backslid again.  There was a lot of experimenting to figure out a routine that worked.  

I sometimes get discourage but I try to remind myself that even though I backslide I usually don't fall as far back as I have previously.  I am slowly building strong habits that are becoming part of me.  

I am also a work in progress - as human beings are we ever finished?  I guess that would make life boring, wouldn't it?

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by Elsie13 on Mar 16, 2019 8:34 pm

 ashcon‍   When it comes to healthy eating, I never stay on that path for long. I have this attitude, you see, I used to teach ballet, so if I eat junk food well, I figure I can just exercise a bit more and burn off a few calories. 
When all my cancer treatments were over, it was summer, so I was buying frozen treats and Rocky Road ice cream and visitors from Ontario would  bring us pies from The Big Apple restaurant. My weight at that time was down about 5 pounds from the previous year, and I thought, "Well, poor me, I had cancer, so now I'm going to eat my favourite stuff!" Now my weight is up about 3 pounds from my pre-cancer days, but I figure, "Well I could lose that if I tried."
    For snacks, I sometimes have a half avocado, and 3 Dad's Oatmeal Raisin cookies.  Or some cashews, an orange, and a chocolate bar. I do try to keep my meals the right size, so the meat is the size of a hockey puck. 
     Going to the gym, (walking there and back) - well I don't have the energy that I used to,  but I still think it's really important to go.  Zumba class trains your brain as well as your body, trying to figure out the combinations.  Sometimes I'm out on days where it's very windy with mixed precipitation, so I feel good about myself that I don't 'chicken out' too much.

Re: Staying on the Path of Well-Being and Health after Treatment Ends

Posted by ooogra on May 23, 2019 6:02 am

It's been 5 years since I finished a successful-unorthodox treatment. I had a rare head cancer, and I had a few weeks to gain a minimum of 20 lbs, preferably 30 lbs to survive the treatment. Then I was told to maintain the weight in case the cancer came back or the treatment started a cancer.

My radiologist was told to send his patients to this new service. The chaplain encouraged me to go, because I'd learn things that weren't in handouts. The first thing they wanted to do was for me to eat kale and lose weight. They publicly told me to lose 30 lbs at a seminar.  So we had a public screaming match, and they didn't know that some radiation patients have failure to thrive-even years later.  Anyway they wanted to know my doctor's name and said they'd file a complaint against him. They did, and they went to his office and had another screaming match. Somebody then explained radiation and the possible failure to thrive issue, and kale isn't that good.   

Meanwhile, I hope that the skill level improved in the different specialties. My opinion, at that time was unemployed people took a 6 week cancer course to be certified. I was wrong about the 6 weeks, as it was a 90 day course.  About the only cancer covered was breast cancer, because there are so many BC survivors.  

I don't expect the medical community to know anything about a rare head cancer, but I do expect them to know about the failure to thrive from head/throat radiation, and the need to carry the extra weight. I finally have a family doctor that did talk nicely to my radiology oncologist, and she doesn't lecture and harass me about it.  It took me months to be able to pull on a pair of socks without splitting headaches. It took me about an hour or so to get socks and shoes on.  I'd go get my breakfast with one sock on, and on down the line until I had 2 socks and 2 tied shoes.  I tried to explain this, and they told me to do chair yoga and drink shiliajit tea (interesting articles related to those https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/chair-yoga-for-seniors#1 and https://purblack.com/moomiyo-extract-super-yogis/) --- I did try once-  you know head radiation affects people's ears--

It sounds like this is yet another area where care can be, but isn't always, evidence-based, and where the "weight is at the root of every problem" refrain -- which isn't evidence based -- is out in full force, at least in some cases.  Much of it, I'm sure, is well-intentioned, and some of it, I suspect, is based on the fact that weight is such an easy metric to obtain, and to track (much easier than understanding the complex interactions of various factors that lead to actual well-being and quality of life in people with serious health issues).