A Charged Word

Mara B | Administrator |

When it comes to cancer patients, the word Healthy is a charged word, much like survivorship.  I am not sure if cancer patients ever…

feel healthy as there is always the thought that the cancer may come back.  Also, it can be very irritating when  you have cancer and people say  “but you look so healthy.”

On the flip side, the concept of living a healthy lifestyle can be very empowering because its something patients can control that may have a positive benefit!  I hear from our nurses that they often get questions from patients about whether they should go on a macrobiotic diet, take herbal supplements, or stop using shampoo that isn’t  organic.  The response to these questions is  generally to follow the same rules that apply for general good health — don’t smoke, wear sunscreen, eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, have a good support network of friends and family, and laugh with great frequency.  Basically, everything in moderation and a juicy steak once in while is fine.

Unfortunately, the Internet is loaded with all sorts of remedies, cures, and advice for cancer patients.  Patients need to be careful as much of this is not evidenced based and could lead to becoming unhealthy

Healthy is a state of mind for some people even in the depth of cancer treatments.  A positive attitude can do wonders and a little broccoli certainly can’t hurt!


  1. Since my cancer diagnosis I have work hard to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into my daily routine. I have found working out daily to be the best thing I can do. It helps me feel reconnected to my body. It makes the side effects of Tamoxifen less of an issue and it helps me put my mind in a better place. The fact that I’m toning up and starting to look better an added bonus. Most days I feel good. Most days I feel healthy. Then when something comes up that requires investigation, a doctor visit, a test, its a reminder of cancer uncertainty. A reminder that challenges that healthy image I have in my head. Something that conflicts with how my body feels most days. I struggle at these times with my definition of healthy or with the reality of the situation. The uncertainty, the lack of control, being vulnerable, people’s opinions and judgement. I know this stuff is making me stronger helping me regain the fearlessness I had when I was younger. I just wish when things come up that need investigation that I could navigate it without being pulled back down to a place of fear. I think I’m getting better. I think I’m in a healthier place. I’m closer to accepting uncertainty and living in the moment. I am happy and grateful for what I have today. I’m regaining my confidence that I can and will navigate whatever tomorrow holds. My version of healthy.

    M | | 5:20am

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