- Question from Miss Julie: I always took excellent care of myself BEFORE breast cancer, but now I don't seem to do so well. I guess that's because it doesn't seem to make any difference. How can I get back my motivation?
Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D.
I'm sure the fact that you took good care of yourself before being diagnosed with breast cancer DID make a difference. First of all, we know that women who weigh less have a better prognosis, so anything you did in the past to keep fit and keep your weight down will translate into a better prognosis, even though you did develop breast cancer.
Whatever you did before that was helpful to you will also be helpful in the future. What you can realize now is that if you keep your weight down, exercise, and eat healthy, you will improve how you feel and may well improve your outcome. Just having that knowledge will, hopefully, stimulate you to get back to where you were before you were diagnosed.
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
It's very normal upon a diagnosis of breast cancer that each woman struggles with this new reality and asks herself why this happened, what she did "wrong," and what she can change in the future that's going to make a difference. Many women also get frustrated with mammography, for example, if they were getting mammograms every year and the mammograms didn't find the breast cancer early.
We're hoping that with all the research Dr. McTiernan is doing with her colleagues, we can come up with better answers as to why this happens and what you can do to be in the best health in the future. But try not to knock yourself and be too self-critical. Your personal energy is precious, and if you can channel that into healthy eating and exercise in the future, that would be a step in the right direction.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Taking Care of Yourself featured Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about exercise and nutrition, and other things you can do to nurture your body, along with strategies for finding emotional support, boosting your mood, and feeling good again.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2003.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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