Living Well with Cancer
Last updated: September 2023
Disclaimer: What follows is just what has worked so well for me that it has taken me from essentially being bed-ridden for the better part of nine weeks (including four hospital stays!) to running on a treadmill for 40 consecutive minutes! It is not construed as a substitute for sound medical advice.
I have developed a nine-point plan that I follow faithfully. This plan has enabled me to feel healthier (both mentally and physically!) at 70 than at any time since I stopped playing hockey at age 28.
The nine steps to health
Following these nine steps has made a dramatic impact on my physical and mental health.
1. Get the best medical care possible (get a second or third opinion if necessary). This may sound obvious but it actually happened on one of my first Myeloma Coaching calls. This gentleman started off our very first conversation by telling me how displeased he was with his doctor’s treatment. I strongly urged him to get a second opinion. He said that wasn’t going to because he did not want to offend this doctor. I told him that it was done all the time and that his doctor would not take offense. I told he owed it to himself, his family and everyone else who loved him to get the best care possible!
2. Surround yourself with family and friends who will help (and provide a support system) when necessary.
3. Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter regarding your prescriptions. This to me is the most important of all.
4. Get proper nutrition-I eat lots of fruit and vegetables with every meal.
5. Get lots of exercise-walking and swimming are great.
6. Vitamins and supplements should only be taken after discussing them with your medical team. If you don't you may be taking something that is in conflict with your existing cancer medications. By taking something that you have not discussed with your doctor you may conceivably be doing more harm than good! I was taking five vitamins a day but have cut back to two (two B12 and one Iron pill/day! and have never felt better!!
7. Hydrate, hydrate and then hydrate some more! Medical experts say you should drink 64 oz. of a clear liquid like water (but not Vodka!) per day!
8. Sleep-get some! Again, experts recommend 6-8 hours per night. I shut off my phone and all other electronic devices an hour before bedtime. I then take a long hot shower, shut off all the lights and am off to la-la-land until morning! Michael Phelps gets 7 1/2 hours per night and if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me!
9. Cultivate and maintain a positive mental attitude. I have a very dear friend who is a retired cardiologist and says that my positive attitude has been instrumental in my beating cancer twice recently.
What blood cancer were you diagnosed with?