Monday, April 29, 2013

Changes because of cancer


  I had a reputation. I was a well known chocoholic and could put a bag of candy away like very few others could. I was often teased about the bags of candy that I brought in to work to munch on during the day. Usually by day's end, most of that bag was gone. It was the same with coffee. Whether I was at work or home, I had that ever present cup of coffee near at hand.
 I will never be a world class chef, or even live up to my own mother's cooking. There for a while I relied heavily on those micro-meals. They were okay as far as mystery meat goes, but I wasn't reading the ingredients. Easy does not necessarily mean healthy. On top of all that, I had become rather sedentary.

All ingredients for disaster.

Being diagnosed with cancer has a way of making one look closely at oneself.  Maybe not right away. The first thing you have in mind is getting healthy. You do what ever it is you need to do, you go through the tests, the questions, and the surgeries. Then, there are the treatments. It may be radiation, chemotherapy of both. For me it was radiation. It didn't take very many treatments before my energy levels began to fall. I found out that my beloved coffee and the processed sugars in the mounds of junk food that I ate made it worse. Sugar is said to give one an energy rush, but there was also the crash. I never got the rush, I only got the crash. Coffee began to taste metallic. I sat the coffee cup down and turned away from chocolate. To satisfy that sweet tooth that haunted me I began to eat fruit. Lots of fruit. And it worked.

After the radiation treatments ended it took a while before my energy level began to return. Ever so slowly I went from feeling like the walking dead to returning to life. As my strength returned I began to study. I was determined to learn what I could to prevent the cancer from returning. I learned that some of the stuff that I was calling conspiracy scare tactics.. weren't. All of the many chemicals that were being pumped into so called food, was a potential carcinogenic. Too much sodium, too much sugar (of any type), too much additives that only added to the danger. I began to shop for the ingredients that went into real food. Raw vegetables and fruit or frozen without sauces. I completely quit buying the micro-meals. I'm still evolving from micro-mom to a more down home cook, but its a slow process for me. I still eat the fruit and not so much candy or junk food. I scour the information pages seeking out which fruits and vegetables are best and which ones are best for what health aspect.

I also got up out of the chair. I began to take longer  walks. Trying to get more active. To live life and not just sit on the sidelines and watch it pass me by.

 I also became a part of Relay for Life. I learned of the many things that Relay has to offer. Not just the fighter, not just the caregiver, but also those who simply want to know so they too can help in the fight. Thinking of getting involved? Jump on in- find an event, find a team and join up. Can't join up for various reasons? Find a way to help anyway..provide a service to Relay, provide a hand, support through donations. Don't just think about that change of mind, of heart, of attitude- just do it. Cancer never sleeps- cancer doesn't care who you are, what you are, whether you're young, old, rich, poor. Cancer, is an equal opportunity destroyer. It is the American Cancer Society's desire to rid the world of cancer. It is their hope to create more birthdays, more survivors through willing the battle against cancer.

I went from no involvement in Relay to it becoming a full blown lifestyle. Changes, we all make them. Lets all change for the better, for the healthier and for the determination to end cancer. 

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