Sarah Duncan is a participant in Great Shape, a six-month wellness program offered by Hendricks Regional Health that gives personalized support for healthy lifestyle changes. Sarah is among the current class of "Great Shapers," and will be a guest blogger as she chronicles her journey to a healthier life. When she's not blogging, this breast cancer survivor is busy learning how to make her health a priority.
I was officially a one-year breast cancer survivor on February 18, 2012. My pink journey began on May 28, 2010, the day before I turned 44. I was scheduled for my annual routine birthday mammogram that ultimately led to me receiving the earth shattering news that I had breast cancer. Talk about a shocker! I never expected that sort of birthday present.
Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy were the three prongs of my treatment plan. While it was no picnic, I feel like I was one of the “lucky ones” that went through the journey fairly well. They say it is mostly your attitude that gets you through it. Well, that and a lot of drugs. I did not let it get me down too much, after all, I wasn’t dead yet! Sure, I cried and I felt sorry for myself. But I did it and I survived, because “HERE I AM!”
My treatment is now over and I found myself with extra unwanted pounds that I could not seem to shed. As a child, I was fairly skinny. My parents used to tell me, “Sarah Jane, if you don’t eat something, you are gonna dry up and blow away.”
As I grew into a young adult, I discovered food and developed the tendency to be a little overweight for most of my adult life. Many past bad eating habits had crept their way back into my life again during my treatment. I ate what I wanted and how much I wanted, never keeping track of calories.
I mean, I had cancer. Wasn’t one of the side effects supposed to be weight loss? Not so, with breast cancer, I found out. Many breast cancer patients actually gain weight.
In the past, I have lost weight, gained weight and lost it again with about every kind of diet one can imagine. I spoke to my oncologist about my concern with my weight gain. I wanted to know what he felt about me going to one of those “Fat Doctors” and getting some meds to get the weight off. He told me,“You just need to eat less and move more.”
Really? Like so many other Americans, I was looking for an easier fix. I am hopeful that through Great Shape, I will be able to rekindle that fire to eat less and move more, just like my oncologist told me that day.
I am excited to be transitioning to the fourth and final prong of my treatment plan, and on my way to living a better life!
Editor's Note: Sarah chronicled her nine-month breast cancer treatment journey on a personal blog if you would like to learn more.