The Bad News is, You’re Going to Survive
June 22, 2011 Leave a comment
There is a common tendency on the part of cancer patients, upon receiving their diagnosis, is to act as if their life is over and that there is nothing they do to affect it.
Given the dismal outcome for many solid tumor patients, the tendency to give up is understandable. What often happens is the patient starts bingeing, eating and drinking too much, gaining weight, and foregoing all the lifestyle changes they had worked so hard to incorporate before the diagnosis. They’ll stop exercising and continue to smoke, figuring it has no impact.
But, what if you’re not dying? What if your first anniversary passes and you’re still well? How about your second, or third?
This has been the experience of several of my patients, who jokingly now admit that they’ve never been in worse physical condition, largely due to “letting themselves go” after the diagnosis. In response, we suggest that patients maintain a normal lifestyle even in the face of the most difficult diagnoses. Appropriate nutrition, physical activity and emotional well-being all contribute to good outcomes.
Like our pancreatic cancer patient,who I need to put on a diet, many patients over indulge. In a way, this is a new wrinkle in the old adage, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.”