Today there are 14 million cancer survivors living in the United States. Today is National Cancer Survivors Day and the goal is to increase the quality of life and have healthier and happier survivors. The American Cancer Society has compiled a great list of resources here.
For me as a breast cancer survivor there are certain things that I try to do (some more successful than others) on a daily/yearly basis.
Maintain a Healthy Weight This means keeping my BMI between 19 and 24.9. Last years visit to my PCP for my annual physical where my weight had creeped up 10 lbs since finishing treatment was a good wake up call. My weight was still within a healthy range, but if I kept eating cookies like cookie monster I was headed for 10 additional pounds each year. It helped me refocus on getting back to the 80/20 rule. Eating well for 80% of the time and allowing for whatever (cookies!) the other 20% of the time. And, it's always helpful to just keep running.
Following the 80% When I eat like the dietitian that I am it means 5 to 7 fruits and veggies per day. Organic if they are on the Dirty Dozen list. Currently, cherries are in season and I take about a cup with me to work every day. Ideally, I eat them in place of having chips with my lunch. But, sometimes I'll have both. I have organic or at the very least rBST free dairy, daily. Usually in the form of skim milk and fat free yogurt. And if my gut has been out of whack, I enjoy some Kefir to help re-establish my gut bacteria. Whole grains, the whole time. Even my cookies are made with white whole wheat flour. I eat mostly lean proteins: chicken, fish, chicken, chicken, nuts, peanut butter and chicken.
At least 4 hours of exercise per week I've been a little more tired than I would like. I think its a combination of tamoxifen and getting older (or so I've been told). In order to keep myself from just coming home and sitting on the couch when the weather and schedule allows I've been taking the bus halfway home and then running the rest of the way. They are not the prettiest of runs, but they are getting the job done.Sometimes, however, my body is not willing to run. In order to get my "steps" in for the day I'll walk home from where I usually pick up the second bus. It takes about 30 minutes (if there is no snow!), but again I can be done working out by the time I get home.
Practicing Gratitude Even though I may not write it down each day, I like to recognize something I am grateful for each day. Sometimes it as simple as as being grateful for my individual co-survivors, sometimes it is as silly as being grateful for chocolate (which is needed) and sometimes I am grateful for concepts such as supportive colleagues.
And today's daily gratitude is pretty easy. I am grateful for all 14 million of my fellow cancer survivors!