Although it was just a couple of weeks ago when my doctor looked me in the eye and called me cured of the breast cancer that had almost ended my life, I’ve actually considered myself free from cancer for quite some time. When I was diagnosed, Alan and I took a serious look at our lifestyles and our environment and made significant changes that last through today. We share many of our insights on the benefits of healthy living here on DrGreene.com, and we’ve come to embrace our good health and to enjoy our good days.
Alan, Austin, and Cheryl in Washington, DC
the day after the Obama Inauguration. Austin is 13
I fully believe that some of the healthiest people in the world are those who are living with a chronic disease and managing it well. Those of us who have gone through a life-changing threat to our existence have sought out information about the world we live in, the food we eat, the air we breathe… we want to do anything and everything we can to regain and maintain our health. People with diabetes who watch what they’re eating and control their disease with diet and exercise are healthier than most disease-free folks who eat junk food and spend their evenings on the couch. People with asthma who avoid second-hand smoke are exposed to fewer toxins. We survivors of diseases just seem to be more aware of what keeps us healthy and what will make us sick because if we don’t pay attention, the repercussions could be very serious.
Some days I’m really angry about what cancer stole from me. I was breastfeeding one day and, thanks to chemotherapy, two months later I’m in full blown menopause, complete with intense hot flashes. It was insult to injury because I hoped to have another child. During my treatment I opted to do everything I could to keep my breasts because I fully believed I would nurse again.
But the anger about the cancer doesn’t come close to the happiness about the cure. I was diagnosed with stage three inflammatory breast cancer. The chances that I would survive were very, very small. But survive I did, and, as another cancer patient once said to me, “Today is a great day to be alive.”