I survived breast cancer (twice). Now what?

I survived breast cancer (twice). Now what?


State-of-the-art facility located on Magnolia Ave. in the Fort – complete with fitness center, nutrition and cooking demonstration facilities, workout rooms, consultation rooms and much more. 

Many cancer patients near the end of treatment wonder, “How do I move on with my life?” I had some of the same questions in my mind especially about what I could do to decrease the odds of any cancer recurrences.  I took all the necessary surgical steps and traditional treatments including a bilateral mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy to increase my odds of beating breast cancer and finally a hysterectomy to reduce my odds of ovarian cancer since I am diagnosed as BRCA1 just like Angelina Jolie and many, many other women.  I am so glad that she came forward publicly with her treatment and family history so more families will be more proactive facing the prognosis and take the preventive steps that we learned about through her case study.  The Jolie Effect has done a lot to change people’s attitudes about aggressive surgical procedures and options women have who are living with such a diagnosis.   Recently, I was asked to join Fort Worth’s first Survivorship Program at Moncrief Cancer Institute to help me navigate the complex terrain from being a patient to living as a survivor. Moncrief staff is working with me to develop both a dietary and physical training routine to help me become stronger and fitter after over three years of multiple chemotherapy, radiation and surgical procedures.  I am beginning to feel like the old, new me.

The first step was for me to meet with a nurse and complete an overall health assessment post-cancer treatment.  Next step was to meet with a physical trainer specialized in working with individuals’ recovering from cancer treatments.  My first assessment included a weigh-in and body measurements to determine where I am currently in my physical state and to share my personal goals for the next 12 weeks of individualized training and counseling sessions.  Yes, I would like to lose weight but I would also like to work on healing some of the areas the surgery and medical treatments have left me with painful scar tissue,  inflexible muscle use or neuropathy.  I am looking forward to the accountability such a program provides as well as the knowledge of the type of fitness steps I need to take to help me regain my strength, stamina and flexibility.

The second step was to begin a food journal in which I am to write everything I eat everyday for the next two weeks to then share it with a dietician and my trainer.  I am one week into the journaling and it has already helped me to be more disciplined about what I eat and drink especially the quantity of servings and the recognition of the need to eat many more fresh fruits and vegetables every day.  And I thought I was a veghead!  In addition to the individualized sessions with a trainer for one hour every Tuesday over the next 12 weeks, I have access to free:

  • Nutrition and interactive cooking classes
  • Genetic screening and risk assessment for families with a history of cancer
  • Massage therapy
  • Psychological counselling for survivors and family
  • Support groups
  • Social services
  • Medical bill assistance

I am very lucky to live in a large, urban metroplex that offers such services for free to cancer survivors.  Please encourage others you know who are dealing with cancer to seek out assistance if you live in the Fort Worth area or look for similar services in other cities and communities.  All of the services are optional so if you don’t feel like meeting with a counselor or a dietician, you don’t have to.  If you don’t want to join a support group just let your opinion be known.  Advocate for yourself and your loved ones and get back on the road to enjoying life each and every day.  Ironically, the Moncrief center relies heavily on grant funding for what it is able to offer.  As a professional grant writer, I appreciate their services even more knowing the hard work that went on behind the scenes to open this place and keep it running with professional staff to provide such great services to clients in need of life saving programs.


6 thoughts on “I survived breast cancer (twice). Now what?

  1. Tracy, you have to be a wonderful inspiration to others in your shoes! From what I see yours is an abundant life in spite of and because of… Keep on keeping on!!

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