This year, I decided to participate in my first Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I want to bring hope to those living with cancer and the people who surround them. I was given three to five years to live, and today I am living stronger, healthier and happier then ever, five years after my diagnosis.
In 2010, our five-year-old daughter, Lily, was diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Whenever Lily was released from the hospital, and the weather cooperated, we headed outside. We really started to depend on these adventures, these outdoor excursions, to get us through the bad days and help Lily along her road to recovery. According to the National Environmental Educational Foundation, exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by as much as 28 per cent in children. Health benefits of nature may include reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy and immunity, decreased stress and improved mental health.
Today it seems that we're bombarded with news about some great new medical hope or fear of the moment, and I worry that we are all suffering from health-information overload. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps we can take when reading medical news that will help us to put it all in perspective.
That is, indeed, an astoundingly expensive drug. It's bad enough that you have to deal with cancer, but these financial concerns must be adding to your stress. You can rest assured there are various programs to help Ontario residents who can't afford the price of their medications. And each regional cancer-treatment centre has specially-trained staff to guide patients and their families through the various application processes.
As someone who has had both leukemia and measles as an indirect result of chemotherapy, I'm a firm believer in Western medicine (though I do enjoy organic kale juice from time to time). Watching the vaccination furor from afar, I've been thinking about the connection between this debate and the two First Nations girls from Ontario who opted to have "natural" therapies to treat their Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia instead of proven chemotherapies.
Young women with breast cancer present our healthcare professionals with difficult cases. They are often diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer that require tough therapies. And the powerful treatments needed to stop the cancer can cause many complex side effects for young women, including early menopause.
For 70 to 80 per cent of Canadians, palliative care is not available and hence, not a real choice. A dear friend of mine recently died of brain cancer. She spent her final months in hospice, where she received exquisite end-of-life care. How might this kind of scenario play itself out in the many Canadian settings that do not have adequate palliative care?
Though cancer made me see my mom in her worst physical state, I will always remember her as a strong businesswoman and a dedicated banker. She was a woman who paved the way for many in my family who wanted to pursue traditionally male careers, encouraging them to chase their dreams and show the world that women are powerful, too.
I wanted to learn more about how to keep your breath fresh (for such occasions) and also my teeth white (for all those blueberry smoothies I love). So I spoke to Jo-Anne Jones, RDH International Lecturer, President, RDH Connection Inc. and Key Leader for Philips Oral Healthcare. Jo-Anne shared with me her top tips to keep breath fresh and teeth white.
If a person continued to supplement bacteria with our health in its best interests, such as probiotics, mutiny may be prevented or at least belayed. With more research, we may be able to prove this point and find a means to offer the elderly, the sick and even the brokenhearted a way to prevent the onslaught of virulence and live a happier, longer life.
Health is health. One disease does not trump another. But support goes a long way in raising spirits and causing one to feel less alone; less isolated. Depression is a state which has for its purpose to gnaw away at your mind bit by bit, until you have given up completely. And when that happens, the outcome is the same for someone battling from depression as someone fighting cancer.