+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
Let's Discuss...Feeling your best
c0a1bd73c294e0b7fd57a95967da5070-huge-le

Trying to live well and stay as healthy as possible can be hard when cancer is part of your life.

A wellness plan can make you feel better and more in control of your health. It is a set of actions that you can take to help you feel your best. It includes actions to help your physical, mental, emotional and social health. Each of these types of health plays a role in your overall health, or well-being.

Just as your cancer treatment plan and experience were unique to you, your wellness plan will also be yours alone. Your healthcare team can help you develop a wellness plan that is tailored to your needs, preferences and fitness level. And it might change over time as you move from treatment to life after treatment.

What’s important is that you understand your wellness plan and that you are comfortable following it. It may include plans to:

Eat well.

Be active.

Live smoke-free.

Be sun safe.

Reduce stress and anxiety.

Discussion Questions:

-What steps do you take to feel your best? What does your wellness plan include?

-With warmer temperatures coming, do you find it easier to be more active and eat well?

21 Replies
Shaggy
3 Posts
Hi everyone! I am 62. I was diagnosed June 2019 with IDC 1.7 cm, no node involvement, PR-, Her2- and slightly Er+, stage 1. I had a lumpectomy with clear margins. Oncotype Score was 27 so I had 4 rounds chemo - cyclophosphamide and docetaxel. I tolerated the chemo with a minimum of side effects. I had 16 radiation sessions which I also tolerated well but had some fatigue a few weeks after my last session. I have been taking Letrozole for just over 2 years.

I have been doing strengthening exercises and walking a lot which has been helping with the fatigue. If it ever stops raining I will get onto my mountain bike!!
And1116
6 Posts

Hello everyone, it’s been around 2.5 months since my diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer. I’m off work and have joined a gym, consider exercise as part of my job now. I’m also running, walking and hiking. It’s important for me to continue with various other activities (music, drawing) but also to indulge myself, here and there, with a book and a quick afternoon snooze.

I find that after dinner I’m pretty much exhausted and can‘t really engage in any satisfying activities, and if I start reading I feel a strong urge to sleep! Anyone else have similar post-dinner fatigue? Maybe this is the ideal time to go out for a walk, meditate (without falling asleep;)

Ariadne
18 Posts

After radiation a couple years ago, l had a plan to exercise regularly, and negotiated for a reduction in work hours (4 day week) to support that. Then the pandemic hit and the gyms closed. I still managed lower-level exercise the first year, but the second year my stress levels took a big toll, primarily due to expectations (real or imagined) from family, and health took a big hit. I really felt during the pandemic people expected me to be highly available for virtual chats, since we were all at home, and that made it hard to relax and unplug. And the virtual chats were mostly me listening, so not very fulfilling.

So for this year - my big wellness focus is tackling stress and underlying anxiety, since that derailed me last year. And moderate exercise.

Right now I’m reading lots of self-help books but I’ll be looking for a therapist soon, I didn’t connect too well with one I tried in the fall.

And1116
6 Posts

@Ariadne A good therapist, one we feel comfortable with, is indispensable … and costly. But hey, you’re worth it!

Essjay
1995 Posts

After completing my trifecta of treatments for early breast cancer (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation), my survival plan is all about doing everything I can to be the healthiest I can. I don’t have help from long term meds to help keep cancer away.

My plan includes regular checkups with my family doctor. She’s young and thorough and anything unusual is checked out. I have annual mammograms and annual breast MRIs too.

Aside from the checkups my plan is as follows:

  • Plant-based diet with dairy, eggs and fish sometimes, and I track my macros to try and get a reasonable balance across carbs, fats and protein. I don’t have too many treats - ice cream now and again, beer or wine at the weekend, cakes for birthdays etc.
  • Exercise - daily. I run, walk, hike, snow shoe, canoe, lift weights, do yoga…I try to exceed 10,000 steps daily.
  • Sleep - I aim for 7 hours a day
  • Stress management - I switch off from work, do things that help me relax, have a massage monthly, take vacations, take time off work if I need it. I use counsellors when things get too much for me - I know the signs my anxiety is overwhelming me and I have a toolkit to help me take action.
  • Community - I spend time with friends and family online or in person, I contribute on this forum, I volunteer in my local community. It helps be feel connected, grounds me and helps me keep my fears about cancer in check.
  • Attitude - I can’t stop myself worrying that my cancer may return or I may have another cancer but I have found ways to accept that this is something I have to live with. I try to enjoy the small stuff and not take myself too seriously so that I laugh or smile daily. I accept that if Cancer does return it’s not my fault and I can do little about it. Attitude is also important for keeping my minor side effects from treatment in proportion. They are not so bad, I can manage them and I’m still alive!
  • Live my life - COVID made this challenging but we try to seize opportunities. Like this weekend - we’ve chosen to go hiking with friends for the shared experience and social time it brings us, the garden work can wait!
cinmngrl
7 Posts

I'm curious about this question as I've never been offered any services or been made aware of a wellness team. That aside, when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer I tried to look at things that I could control and to find balance, both for my mind and body. Specifically I took up a mindfulness practice which includes daily meditation along with speaking with a psychologist. Additionally I started a daily 20 minute MBSR Yoga practice using a free youtube video and trying to go outside for 30 minutes a day for a walk when my treatments allow for it.

Otterjam
100 Posts
Hi there. First off I am impressed with all the discipline and positivity I am reading in these posts. I am not there at all even though I want to be and try to be. Steps I take to feel my best: being clean and maintaining a clean home. Nail care, hair care, foot care, face care. Dressing nicely. Eating foods that are easy on my body (low fibre; no gluten; no greasy stuff), like wild pacific salmon, rice, freshly made masticated juice, etc. Sleep/rest. No drama. A good book. Films. Speak with friends/family. Prayer. Meditation. Netflix. Playoffs. I don’t really have a wellness plan. I am literally living each day at a time trying not to feel too overwhelmed or down. Warmer weather definitely brings me out to the beach and sea. I would say I am more active when it’s warmer out, but I’m not cycling or running or doing all the things I loved to do before (horseback riding, tennis, jogging) because of the long term side effects of treatment to my pelvis/groin area. Mostly I’m just trying not to feel really really sad. Everyone seems to be doing great and I don’t know why I’m not. I’m trying. Sorry for being the ‘Debbie downer’ here. Sending you all good energy and wishes for full health, healing and recovery.
Mosi
117 Posts
Otterjam‍ I can certainly relate to your goals of maintaining the basic house and personal hygiene. I am still in the midst of treatments and trying to figure out next steps and that is more than enough these days. I envy you having a beach to visit. I lived on the water in PEI and would cart my kayak out and then just float. I like to think I would be doing lots of floating with all this time off work but there was always the long paddle home. 😊
I am sorry you are feeling so sad. Sadness is hard to escape when you experience the losses that cancer brings. Let’s hope they don’t have to be permanent losses just activity set aside because it is not their season right now.
Otterjam
100 Posts
@mosi thank you I guess I should explain that treatment decided for me that I would not be having any children or grandchildren. It decided the course of my career I worked so hard to build after grad school. It’s like I’ve been in a coma for 5 years, waking up to learn my career pathway has disappeared. I don’t have the same drive or energy I once had to compete with bright chirpy competent happy people operating from places of health privilege. Or worse, stand up to people judging from a place of pure ill-intentioned ignorance. Cancer treatment, and in parallel, treatment-induced menopause decided how quickly my face and body would age. It decided there would be no more intimacy for me. It decided I would lose social connections too uncomfortable to deal with my cancer drama and mood swings and altered life circumstances. Cancer decided I could no longer manage things financially and needed to let go of beautiful things and stability. Yes, plenty of permanent losses. I gave all my furniture and possessions away to be by the beach so the move came with heavy sacrifice - I could not do both and I needed to be by healing water more than keeping everything I owned because I was in a very very dark place a year and a half ago and scared out of my mind of myself and what I might do. I will never be able to eat the same foods. I will never be able to do the same things I once loved doing - horse back riding. Kayaks are too heavy and awkward for me to lift and sitting in one is painful as I learned the hard way, dealing with bleeding and pain for days after going out one single time for a short while on the water after being encouraged by my advisor to slowly get back to the things I love to do. Adventures (too afraid of going somewhere now and having a health crisis). I am still dealing with (new) health issues. I am grieving many things but mostly the woman I used to be before cancer. I am basically starting over from scratch. Think ‘first time out of your parents house’. Right before my cancer diagnosis I lost my dad who was my primary caregiver. He raised me and I have never properly grieved this loss. I did not get to see him before he passed. I was in 100 percent denial thinking I could go back to normal with a fake smile and fake it to make it attitude. Right now it is a one-day-at-a-time battle to find a single moment each day that doesn’t feel like a nightmare. This lengthy description is where I am at on my health and wellness journey. I try to hide it the best I can but I take advantage of this space to share my truth rather then let it poison me. I appreciate the healing intentions behind your words and your smiley face. I wish better things for you as you navigate this difficult journey ahead. I pray Creator gives you health healing and full recovery.
Mosi
117 Posts
Otterjam
There are no words to express my sorrow for you. Even if I did have the words they don’t help with those losses. I hope you find some semblance of peace.
Otterjam
100 Posts
@mosi thank you - any suggestions for a health a wellness plan is welcome. 🙂 I’m willing to try anything!
Ariadne
18 Posts

@And1116 we used to do after-dinner walks, those were good, even short ones. These days I aim for at least some mild puttering around the house after dinner, and save reading for bedtime. If I fall asleep right after dinner I don’t sleep as well - tempting as it is 😊

Ariadne
18 Posts

@Otterjam I’m glad you’re near the water - it is so soothing and healing, whatever it’s daily mood. And I’m sorry for all you have to grieve and that our culture isn’t supportive of grief generally, that we’re sold on faking it. I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer four years ago and was bewildered - that first Christmas afterwards, only 4 months later, relatives seemed to have forgotten him already. And after my own cancer treatments the next year - relatives again, a few months later, expected and wanted me to be my old self. Very isolating to feel they can‘t love or support the person you’ve become with or after cancer, that you’ve become a stranger to them.

I’ve heard something about “grief yoga” I’d like to try (haven‘t yet) as I’m becoming aware of unprocessed grief in me.

There‘s a sort of hymn I remember sometimes when by the water’s edge - “come to the waters, stand by my side, I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied; I’ve felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried”

Wishing you peace by the waters that connect us -

💚🤗💚

Otterjam
100 Posts
@Ariadne thank you. Your deeply understanding and compassionate response moved me to tears. Thank you for these healing words. I welcome them. I will head to the water today to reflect on this. Thank you. You made me feel a little less alone in my cancer story. 💚💛💚🧡❤️💜🤍
law1
716 Posts

Howdy Do and Hello Everyone,

Wellness---what a cool topic, @Lacey_Moderator. I do have a plan for one…but haven't put it into use at all! I have discovered that much of my stress and worry came from my own head most of the time, so, deciding to maintain better control of needless anxiety has been the healthiest wellness choice I have made.

I try to eat a healthy diet, but eat way too many carbs and too few veggies. All fruit takes like a salt lick since my head+neck radiation 4 years ago…even adding sweetener does not change the taste at all….but, I don't worry about it anymore.

I prefer to live the “Alfred E. Neuman” lifestyle, “What…..me worry?”

Love the topic.

For me it boils down to a couple of things (one of which hasn't come up yet.)

  • Eat well - variety and moderation.
  • Get exercise - can't believe how many people discount the importance of this.
  • Sleep well - Get that sleep routine down and it will stand you in good stead when all sorts of anxieties come along.
  • Stay socially connected - many folks discount finding your tribe but research shows that folks that have others that they enjoy being around do better.
  • Reduce stress - if this means finding a counselor or journaling or meditating - do it.

A lot of this comes down to developing habits. A radiologist our in Nova Scotia is becoming well known for his practical approach to this matter. The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network recently invited him to give an overview of his approach.

There's actually a bunch of good work on the CSSN.

And one last tip - have fun.

Angus

Otterjam
100 Posts
@westcoastsailor - thank you for mentioning this resource! Quite helpful. I didn’t even know this was available. Eating well, exercising, sleep care, connecting with friends/family, stress reduction all super important for sure. I love my job and find the work incredibly rewarding and my leaders are inspiring, so for me that remains a big part of my mental health and wellness. My job keeps me engaged, interested, inspired, motivated, etc. It’s challenging and meaningful work and I feel very lucky to be doing what I’m doing in the health industry. I think you are onto something about having fun though and it got me thinking this is an area I need to work on! Also I visited the CCSN and will be recommending a few YouTube videos to my oncologist! 🙂
johannes
3 Posts

Fairly new to this forum and still getting familiar with everything it offers. Was reading through peoples responses and it made me realize how there is no one size fits all… we are all individuals, unique and we have to figure out what will work best for us whether this means for our treatments or wellness… I myself are still trying to figure out a path forward.. Newly diagnosed, poor-ish outlook, understanding diagnosis etc. Currently going through chemo… What has worked for me so far….found a way to accept the diagnosis( “gave it a place”)…learned everything there is to know about my cancer and treatments, advocated for a caring oncologist, focussed on “what can I do for myself to better deal with treatment side effects”, for me this meant…taking a leave of absence from work ( to 100% focus on treatments, healing and recuperating) . Lack of sleep is a big “side effect” for me, so not having to worry about getting up to go to work is a big help. NOTE: For some folks “going into work” might actually be helpful!!

On a daily basis I focus on exercise( for me this is going for a strenuous walk for at least 1 ½ hour/day with a goal of going for that pain free bike ride before the end of the year), nutrition( I am convinced that if I strengthen my immune system…this will help keep the cancer at bay so to speak, so I eat proven “cancer fighting” foods, check out Dr. William Li to get an idea…) I also started to act on long thought of hobbies… for me this is learning how to paint …I love it!

Sipsi
122 Posts

Ariadne:

but the second year my stress levels took a big toll, primarily due to expectations (real or imagined) from family, and health took a big hit. I really felt during the pandemic people expected me to be highly available for virtual chats, since we were all at home, and that made it hard to relax and unplug. And the virtual chats were mostly me listening, so not very fulfilling.

I hear you! It’s not just our own expectations that hit …everyone else expects us to go back to normal almost overnight, especailly if we’ve been the ‘strong’ one for them in the past. Who is it we turn to, to listen to us…….?

Sipsi
122 Posts

Otterjam:
Hi there. First off I am impressed with all the discipline and positivity

. Mostly I’m just trying not to feel really really sad. Everyone seems to be doing great and I don’t know why I’m not. I’m trying. Sorry for being the ‘Debbie downer’ here. Sending you all good energy and wishes for full health, healing and recovery.

Gosh you could have written this out for me. Trying to do doing all the right things as all the reading tells you to, but there are times when it just doesn’t cut it for you. Or for me even after those 5 yrs NED for which I am very grateful. I am a bit of a solitary type though, so talking about it is hard. I try putting on a brave face and going out to talk with visitors here and share their joys which I find uplifting. It is a one way communication but at least it does help me knowing I’ve contributed to making their day enjoyable. I wish you joy each day in some small way 🙂

Sipsi
122 Posts

It was only after reading others replies here that I really gave much thought to my own well -being plans.


I certainly appreciate the value of positive thinking and settling into workable routines. I keep a watch on my personal ‘grooming’ maintain a tidy environment - I.e. Housework YUK and gardening YEY.
I manage a minimal amount of exercise with support from the Excel program, or I would not do it 😆.
I slowly have kept up with things I enjoy for myself - playing piano, writing, a bit of sketching,- and then things I do with my other half, mostly going for a walk, eating ! going for drives here and there just for fun, travel now Covid is less problematic.

I try to let outside stresses to a minimum. I go to my medical appointments and only think about them on the day of, if they are not on the daily diary then I try not to let them enter my consciousness.

Business problems are thought of once and dealt with immediately or rescheduled - for someone else with any luck.

I keep an eye on this sight which offers so much support to so many of us

I hope to give back a little with small fundraising efforts in our winery and in my garden.

Sounds like I’ve got it covered right….

What I feel I lack is social support which is why I started using this forum. There is no immediate family here and only very few personal friends, only one of whom I really share my thoughts with.

It is time for me to get braver out in the big wide world and I am working on that. Behind my public persona there is a timid me……@WestCoastSailor posted a link to CCSN which I have found very helpful in finding ways to help lift you up and do away with things that drag you down.

Wishing you all a chance to find joy in each day.

Marion.

+ Reply