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Survivors empowered through physical activity


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"I was told in August to get my affairs in order, that everything now would simply be experimental. Several doctors said I probably have weeks to months. I walked out of the office and said 'No, I will show you. I will live much longer.'" ~ Kathy Bandol, USA Today, 4/19/05

I just found this quote. Kathy Bandol was a 41-year old skiier who was dx's in 2003 with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She belongs to an organization called Ski to Live. The following kind of summarizes their philosophy. I like it!

Empowerment as a solution

Michelle Dabrowski, a licensed clinical social worker, says Ski to Live and other such programs can enhance patients' lives. She has worked with cancer patients the past eight years at the University of Utah Hospitals and the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

"A common theme with most cancer patients is the sense that 'I am suddenly out of control,' " Dabrowski says. "They say, 'I need to get a sense of empowerment.' For some patients, they also want some semblance of what normal was."

Kenneth Pelletier, an expert in mind/body medicine and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco and the University of Arizona, says this attitude on patients' part is "not denial or delusion."

"These people know they are sick, but at minimum the quality of life is enhanced through exercise and being active," he says. "You can have six months of life expectancy and you can spend it depressed, or you can be pro active and take charge."

And doctors say that non- traditional therapies, such as yoga and meditation, offer more than relaxation. They also can lower blood pressure and heart rate, says Adrian Dobs, a doctor and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Baltimore. Such "mind/body interventions" may give patients the strength to get through grueling treatments.

A note of caution, though, is expressed by Andrea Farkas Patenaude, director of psycho- oncology research in the department of pediatrics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

"While exercise can enhance many people's coping with cancer, I draw the line at the notion that exercise is what keeps the cancer at bay," she says.

"I don't think we know enough to say that. The downside for me is seeing people who blame themselves when cancer comes back as not having done enough."

QUESTION: Have you found a physical activity that helps you - mind, body, and soul?

Mine is yoga. I do it at home with a DVD every day. I had done it years ago and forgotten about it until recently. Now I do not want to miss a day doing it!


You can find the article about Kathy and other survivors here:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/200 ... usat_x.htm

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's me, replying to myself! 8)

Dear better-part-of-Leslie,

I am so glad you love doing your yoga and have the discipline to do it every day. It really DOES feel good, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, I, the lesser-part-of-Leslie, don't have very good self-discipline. I hate to tell you this, but we haven't done the yoga for over a week! :oops:

Thought it was a good idea to come clean and not leave people thinking you're always in charge! Today is a new day. I'll roll out the yoga mat. We'll see about tomorrow.

Lesser-part-of-Leslie :wink:

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