The breast cancer experience can be a powerful incentive to reorder priorities and see life from a different angle. To make a point of finding something enjoyable in every day, in every task. A reminder to stop and smell the roses.
Breast cancer can also be a liberating experience. You may decide to do something you always wanted to do—write poetry, travel, or spend more time with your children.
This may be a good time to adopt healthy habits. Good nutrition may speed your healing after surgery and help you during chemotherapy. Later on, balanced diet, with proper amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins will help you feel younger and stay healthier. Currently, there is no evidence that breast cancer can be prevented by a low fat or any other type of diet, although certain diets may affect the incidence of other cancers, such as colon cancer.
You may have done arm exercises as part of your post-surgical recovery. Physical activity will strengthen and energize you, so don’t neglect the rest of your body. A regular exercise program will help you stay stronger and feel younger. There is also evidence that moderate physical exercise can improve the work of the immune system.
As a breast cancer survivor you may be at an increased risk for other types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer, lung cancer, or skin cancer. This may be an excellent reason to stop smoking and to take better protective measures when you expose your skin to the sun.
Other lifestyle changes, such as relaxation or meditation, may help you in your personal and professional life as well.
As you regain your physical and emotional strength, consider the needs of your fellow breast cancer survivors who may be in earlier, or in more difficult stages of their recovery, and could greatly benefit from someone to guide them through the experience. Many organizations listed in the Resources section need volunteers who can help other women in their struggle with breast cancer.
Whether as a patient advocate who helps mold breast cancer related policy in Washington, a moderator in a local support group, or a helping hand for a friend, you will find that contributing to the cause is an enriching and uplifting experience. A few survivors have started their own breast cancer support organizations to meet a variety of needs faced by women.