Since 2005, NCCS has been a partner in Breakaway from Cancer® (BFC), sponsored by the Amgen Tour of California. As part of this year’s partnership, NCCS developed a blog post series, written by cancer survivors and experts, focusing on health and wellness during and after treatment. Whether you are a patient, survivor, or family member, we hope you find this series helpful and ask that you share it with your networks.
Post by Shelley Fuld Nasso
NCCS Chief Executive Officer
Each week throughout May, NCCS published a blog post written by cancer survivors looking at the significance of physical and mental health, exercise, and nutrition during and after cancer treatment. The authors all varied in stage of life, type of cancer, and years since initial diagnosis. What they had in common however, was the passion and thoughtfulness to share their stories with the hope of helping others.
We hear often from survivors and advocates that one of the most difficult aspects of their cancer journey were the associated feelings of isolation and loneliness after their diagnosis. That the patient, and often their family as well, felt as though they were on a deserted island forced to face this incredible challenge alone and without knowing where to turn for information and encouragement.
It is my sincere hope that this blog series was one small way for anyone touched by cancer to realize that they are not facing this challenge alone. In fact, others have navigated these difficult waters successfully and that there are often ways to find hope, clarity, understanding, and personal growth if we’re willing to adjust our perspective.
Each author brought their own experiences, lessons learned, and vulnerabilities so that others may learn and gain strength from their insights. And for that, I want to thank each one of them for taking the time to so carefully think about and articulate these incredibly valuable lessons.
If you are interested in sharing your own survivorship story, or want to learn more about how you can get involved in improving survivorship care, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, I want to thank all of our authors for participating. We hope to do this blog series again next year in partnership with the Breakaway from Cancer initiative.
Shelley Fuld Nasso, MPP
Wellness and Survivorship Series Blog Posts
I recommend those diagnosed with cancer consider living life as if they are a professional cyclist. Ok, not racing 100 miles and climbing 10,000 feet of elevation, but attending to their minds and bodies as if preparing for the Amgen Tour of California. Find a decent activity and sleep tracker, and watch yourself improve. It doesn’t matter where you start, or at what level. Celebrate all victories, be it taking the stairs instead of the elevator or perfecting your downward dog.
Wendy S. Harpham, MD – “Finding Healing Hope”
Let’s discuss “hope.” After a cancer diagnosis, few topics are mentioned more… and discussed less. That’s a problem because what you hope for may mean the difference between enjoying life or feeling miserable. Maybe even between life and death. So how do you find hope? Not just any hope, but healing hope, namely hope that helps you get good care and live as fully as possible. Hope that helps you live your best life. The good news is there’s always something good to hope for. That said, finding the best hopes for you can be hard work.
Chris Bordoni – “Cancer at 30: Reflections on Post-Traumatic Growth”
Cancer may have added new constraints to my life, but it also offered a chance to let go of old limitations. It gave me a chance to create a new future. As it turns out, my experience largely reflects what psychologists call post-traumatic growth. According to work first conducted by Tedeschi and Calhoun, and since replicated in a range of settings, the majority of people who experience trauma report a sense of new opportunities, improved relationships, greater personal strength, more appreciation for life, and spiritual development.
Stacy Hurt, MHA, MBA – “Moving Through and Beyond Stage IV Colorectal Cancer”
My mantra to patients fighting cancer is simple: you have one body that has to fight the deleterious effects of both the cancer and its associated treatments. Make it as strong and resilient as you possibly can through nutrition and exercise. There was no explanation for what happened to me, but if I wasn’t as fit as I was going into this, I wouldn’t be alive today to come out of it. It’s never too late to take charge of your health.
Xenia Rybak – “Running: Fuel for My Body and Soul After Cancer”
Running might not be your thing, but find your thing. Find the activity that makes you rediscover the parts of your body that cancer silenced. Even if it is laying on the floor and stretching. Whatever you do find, start small. A few minutes a day. Work it into your schedule—while watching TV, lift a water bottle above your head. Don’t worry about what it looks like, you beat cancer. Now you have to take control of your health and live the rest of your life the best way possible.