Lifestyle changes

Double Whammy
Double Whammy Member Posts: 2,832 Member

PJS2005 asked about whether we survivors have instituted any lifestyle changes since diagnosis, so I decided to start a separate thread to hear what others have done and tell you what I've done.

I have indeed changed quite a few things, not only because of my breast cancer diagnosis, but it certainly played a significant part. I'm doing this primarily for general overall health issues.  I'm 66 years old and I want to dance at my granddaughter's wedding.  She's 7.

After treatment, I really thought I'd instituted some positive changes.  I was exercising pretty regularly (I'd skip some weeks, some weeks I'd only go 2 days, etc.) and primarily eating healthy (but too often not).  My mindset was I wasn't about to give up everything and after,all I WAS doing something!  The biggest change I made was about alcohol.  I seldom (I won't say never) drink anymore.  Anyway, most of my weight came back (you know, the weight I said I'd never gain again!) because I wasn't being consistent about anything.  Heart disease runs rampant in my family, I have hypertension and high cholesterol, and my weight is primarily in my belly.  Not a good thing for heart disease nor for estrogen related cancers (both my breast and endometrial cancers were estrogen positive).  I started to pay attention to how my smaller friends ate vs. my fluffy friends.  My smaller friends simply don't eat as much as I was and they consistently eat healthy.  I also considered myself active, but I really wasn't.

So, Nov. 1 I had an epiphany and decided to really change and not just pretend change.  My ephiphany was that my body provided the right environment for 2 primarily cancers to grow and while they may now  be gone forever (that is what I believe), it really doesn't mean that this same environment can't grow another one!  I'd read "The Anti Cancer Diet" during treatment and knew about "managing my terrain", but I wasn't managing mine.  And then there was the heart disease thing . . . So, for the past 15 weeks I've exercised 5 days a week (missed only maybe 3-4 days total) and am keeping calories under 1500 per day, and not eating white stuff (bread, sugars, etc.).  I  don't think I've ever worked this hard and consistently for this long in my entire life.  I discovered I was in really horrible condition.   I've lost 18 lbs. which averages 1.2 lbs. per week.  I'm on Tamoxifen, and am postmenopausal and probably more sedentary than I wanted to admit.  It will come off, but it is really hard.   The biggest deal for me is that I feel so good.  For years, I could not get off the floor if I was sitting on it without crawling over to a piece of furniture and helping myself.  Now I can sit in the middle of the floor and get up without even using my arms.  That is improvement in strength that I can see and feel.  I typically get the winter blues.  This year I didn't have them.  Maybe that was due to our California drought and spring-like weather, but it doesn't matter, I got through the winter without being a blob. 

I don't know if my cancers will come back, or if I'll grow another one, or if I'll have a heart attack or stroke.  We don't know these things and at 66 things start to happen and we can't turn the clock back.  I know that I feel really good and a whole lot of folks my age (i.e., my husband) can't say that.  I accept that with age, health issues will pop up, but I don't have to encourage them! 

Anxious to hear what others have done.  I could not have done this if I were in active treatment, but I did walk as much as I could while in treatment.    


  • PJS2005
    PJS2005 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks, for this information

    Thanks, for this information it is very helpful. I was diagnosed with DCIS in situ high grade stage o, and had lumpectomy Jan 7 , I am now taking radiation, once I complete the radiation, I will go on Tamoxifen.  I was sure that I needed a lifestyle change as I am over weight and carry most in my stomach and breast, I wanted to hear from other survivors and how they were doing , and get input on lifestyle change that could help me and otners that are just starting this Journey , I am 60 years old and this has been a true lifestyle change , I appreciate all the help and information from others as I begin this Journey into a new lifestyle. Thank you and god bless each and everyone who walks with us. !

  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
    Basically the same.

    Basically - my 'lifestyle' is till the same.  I was 63 when DXd IBC and 67 now.  I have always been an 'outdoor woman' anyway and still am.  I still ride our horses, bike, garden, mow my yard (and several others for neighbors who need some help) with my push mower when the grass is growing.  I have a couple of new 'hobbies' since DX.  I've always fished but I am now into flyfishing.  

    There is a program (Casting For Recovery) for women BC survivors to learn flyfishing at a cost free weekend a retreat. Problem is it is so incrediably limited if you live in some states (can't apply to a neighboring state).  IF I had  been accepted, it would have cost us close to $1,000 for me to fly across the country and get to the one site I might be able to go to.  Hubby decided to buy me a cheap rod/reel and get me some lessons with the owner of the local fly shop.  I got hooked.  Took a few classes at Cabellas in fly tying and got what I need to tye my own flies.  I then found out about Project Healing Waters - it's for veterans.  So I have now built my own 5 wt fly rod and am working on a 3 wt that Hubby got for me.

    I recently took a Flint Knapping class at Outdoor Campus West - didn't do as good as I wish Ihad but I'm signed up again for the next class.

  • 24242
    24242 Member Posts: 1,398

    Well I guess I am not like most people who have cancer.  I actually was a health nut and boy builder who was an athlete my whole life.  Smoking and drinking were the two things that I played with from a young age and finally quit smoking after all my treatments were done.  No sense quiting smoking in case I didn't make it lol.

    While I was ill I was unable to eat so ended up sustaining life with booste for many years.  While I battle my own disease two faces came across the tv at me.  One was Linda McCartney who was loosing her battle with her disease and there was a woman who ate right and didn't abuse her body and had all the money in the world which couldn't save her.  The other was the singer from my favorite childhood band, The Belles and she was battling breast cancer for the 4th time even though she had mastectomies.  Both these women were beautiful and lived healthy lives and it struck a nerve with me.

    So I have gone another way and quit worrying about what I put in my mouth and stay away from processed foods never really got into them.  I work out and work hard as I always have and still drink for some courage lolol.  I havne't been able to drink much because my body doesn't tolerate it so that saves me from allot of poor feeling days.  I learned living in the moment and caring about others was the change in my life that must take.  Looking outside of myself and helping others has truly changed the person I have become.  Life is short for us all and if I can hep one...

    Worry and stress are the worst things going for us and coping is the best that we can do.  My problem child is grown and now I can just LOVE and surround myself with LOVE something more important to me than ever.

    Keep on Keeping on


  • RozHopkins
    RozHopkins Member Posts: 578 Member

    Just love the 'fluffy friends' comment.  I don't think there is one answer to halting cancer or not getting it etc. etc......


    If you have/had cancer every individual must make their choices.  I think to feel good is generally a good thing, to feel strong in body and mind a good thing, de stress is essential.  If you are as well as can be you deal with life better when it goes wrong, like dealing with cancer the first time and reoccurrences and other things that crop up.


    Alcohol, smoking, depression are all very dangerous things.  There is always the good old genes, no getting rid of those.  I still think if you eat well, exercise, don't suffer from the above you can still get cancer.  But I think if you improve your lifestyle we feel so much better and deal with what life throws at us.  


    You look at the many morbidly obese every day and they don't appear to have a major illness like we do but most of them I am afraid won't live much longer than middle age.


    I exercise more more now AND ENJOY IT, eat much better AND ENJOY IT.  Never smoked, stopped drinking, and I did drink.  I have suffered from depression my whole life Yoga and my lovely husband helps me control that.  But I stopped my meds and decided to feel better and enjoy life, rather than battle the weight, uterine problems, have a body with pain everywhere, stopped by jaw bone disease in its tracks.  I have no illusions.  But I feel better than I have since I started menstruation.  Hormones.............. Oh yea.