I know, I know, I probably sound like your mother. Or your grandmother! Maybe you’re cringing at the title because you’re headed out the door to purchase yet another unpronounceable and unaffordable elixir guaranteed to prevent or stave off the ravages of breast cancer. Or maybe you’re trying to squeeze this article in between yoga class and a massage.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am a willing participant in countless methods of breast cancer prevention and treatment. Exercise, diet, stress reduction, spirituality practice – you name it and I’ve probably tried something. It’s like that when you have cancer. And there are many lifestyle changes we can make and products we can use that are statistically proven to help us in our fight against breast cancer. Anything we can do to reduce our risk or improve our odds is worth considering.
The point I am trying to make, though, is that it’s easy to become so overwhelmed with our new regimens that we lose sight of the big picture. We can end up spending thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to manage a plethora of products and programs we can’t really afford and don’t really have time for. In the beginning, a lot of us choose to fight with every means available, all at once. Vitamins, herbs, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, more enzymes, less meat, new recipes, old recipes, yoga, aerobics, meditation, visualization – all of these and more find their way into our daily routine.
For many of us, managing this lifestyle becomes a full time job, especially if we are making changes across the board. Even though we are making positive changes, any type of change is stressful. In my case, I was so intent on fighting the battle (using every “weapon” I could get my hands on), I lost sight of winning the war. I became so consumed with doing “this” or not doing “that,” measuring every one of my actions against a possible re-action, that I was missing out on life itself. I’d completely lost my focus and my connection with the world at large.
This subject came up recently at one of my support groups, and most of us had a story to tell about how wiped out we felt trying to maintain our new “health consciousness.” Our wise leader (and a breast cancer survivor) offered her solution to this very common problem: Take your three favorite changes and stick with them for several months. Once they’ve become ingrained habits, then add something new every month or two.
It’s impossible not to feel desperate when faced with a cancer diagnosis. By the same token, never is it more important to rely on your common sense than now. Is one cup of coffee or glass of wine going to cause breast cancer? I don’t think so. If you forget to take your melatonin supplement or can’t settle down to meditate, is the cancer going to come back with a vengeance? Probably not. Focus your energy in two or three areas that you really believe in, and allow your common sense to guide you.