Kicking Cancer

Prevention Through Healthy Living

Cycling to Spread Awareness for Cancer Prevention

I rode against the wind north to Hiller Park through the Arcata bottoms with my good friend Tera this morning.  Ran into a friend who told us he just celebrated twenty years of being cancer free.  Testicular cancer. The more I share my story, the more I learn, am encouraged and inspired.

I took time today to reflect on my upcoming ride, it’s significance for myself, my family, and a broader community.  My story is simply the story of one woman, one family, facing a life threatening illness.  It is a form of suffering.  Spiritual teacher, Pema Chodron reminds us that all of our suffering is part of a collective suffering of the world’s suffering.  When I read about other mothers and children dying of starvation, lack of sanitation, conditions in inner cities, rural areas, war ravaged villages and refugee camps, my suffering seems so small.  I am educated, of supreme health (minus cancer), living comfortably with medicine, incredible doctors, comforts of a family and home, a huge community of support, a nice road bike. My suffering seem so tolerable.

The upcoming KickingMyCancer ride is first and foremost for myself — I am treating myself to an epic adventure to build strength and face chemotherapy head on.  I feel like if I cower from it and fear the treatments that I will not fare as well.  Bring it on.  Rid my body of cancer please.  Thank you. How fortunate I am for the “elixir”.

But also, more and more, this ride is about BUILDING AWARENESS about cancer and “kicking cancer” collectively.

OK here goes….In an affort to not sound preachy, but I am feeling the need to just say it.

The key to kicking cancer as individuals and a society is awareness, detection and prevention.  We are fortunate to be living in a time with cancer screening capabilities.  All women over forty should be getting yearly mammograms (some say 50 now, but I am sticking with forty(!), if high risk, more frequently–find out if you are high risk).  Women over twenty  (to 65) need to have regular pap tests and pelvic exams.  MEN!  You need screening for prostate and colon cancer beginning at fifty or sooner (40-45) if high risk (family history, African American).  There are many more types of cancer, including skin, lung, esophageal, brain…sadly the list goes on. Become aware and vigilant about your own health. No one else will do it for you.  Spread the word.

Tips to reducing your risks and hopefully preventing cancer include:

1.  Improved diet (Mostly plant based diet with a lot of leafy greens.  Limit intake of sugar, processed foods, and high-fat foods).  Not only will you reduce your risk of developing cancer, but you will feel great and easily lose unwanted pounds.  Check out the Paleo Diet–I love it.

2.  Exercise and stress reduction (walk, yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, cycle, swim, sports…something daily!)

3.  The obvious ones….smoking, alcohol, and sun exposure.

Alas, there are many other reasons and causes for cancer, but doing as much as possible to live a healthful life is something that is within our power right now and every day.

If you have trouble improving your diet, reducing your stress, making exercise a priority for YOURSELF….then do it for your CHILDREN.  We are role models and we need to model right livelihood.  Monkey see, monkey do.

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6 thoughts on “Cycling to Spread Awareness for Cancer Prevention

  1. Barbra Fortier on said:

    Right on, Nicole! In addition might I add one very important thing——self-exam! In both your cancer and mine the machines didn’t find it. As my surgeon told me, the only reason mammogram’s are done yearly is because they are quanitative. Self-exam (done while watching tv or reading a book or talking to your spouse—-so the sub-conscious fingers can come across something out of the ordinary) is the optimal method of detection!

  2. Jennifer Christian on said:

    You are handling this all with such grace. I’m rooting for you along with all of your other friends and fans! I wanted to share a group that I find amazing and supportive. It’s the Bay Area Young Survivor’s Group. It’s a support network for women under 45 with breast cancer. If you have any interest in joining, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

  3. Trisha on said:

    Hi Nicole,
    I love that you are biking to chemotherapy! I second what Jennifer said about BAYS–it’s an amazing group of women. Melinda contacted us and I plan to call her today so that we can make sure you are connected to this community. I was 28 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer (in Marin) and am now 5 1/2 years out. In reading your posts, you might appreciate the book Breast Cancer, Breast Health The Wise Woman Way by Susan Weed. I found it really helpful as I was going through treatment. Enjoy your adventure. Thinking of you.

  4. Barbara'sCancerJourney on said:

    Hi Nicole, wishing you the best of luck and praying for you daily. I am a breast cancer survivor and removed with a lumpectomy but a different type than yours. Amazing how testing can determine all the specifics how to blast it out of you. I have a 10 yr old boy and we made it like a Star Wars experience and wish I made a customized tshirt for him about Blasting out the cancer. Had to talk at his level at the time it was happening or else overwhelming. God bless you that you followed your intuition about that lump. Unfortunately I had ignored mine as was chaotic in my life and was quite large when diagnosed. Looking forward to following your blog and be sure to let us know what you need on the ride and afterwards as good outreach to your support network. Encourage your friends and family to post on FB to get more people to follow your blog. I found you on our Healdsburg Patch and shared on my FB today to encourage my cancer supporters to join in support of you. Your journey will be none other than yours and your alone; ups and downs but moving ahead to rid the cancer and accept all the help you can offered as you will need it at some point. Start a fresh large lined notepad (advice from another cancer survivor) to write down everything in one place about phone calls, appointments you go to and notes during, phone calls, offers of help, phone numbers so when you are not feeling the greatest can always go to the notepad. Every so often request copies of your records from your providers as a good way to keep track of what the directions and advice from all your doctors notes and if any discrepancy can clear it up sooner than later. check out CaringBridge.com also. Feel free to friend me on FB as have posted many topics and support for cancer issues there the last two years. You encouraged me to start my blog and get them all in one place of resources, etc. When coming thru Healdsburg? let me and Healdsburg Patch know so can get community support for food and lodging. I know the folks at Patch have big hearts and very helpful last year too for Relay for Life. Can appeal to our community ahead of time and is going to be shortly too. Talk to Kerrie Brenner, editor and say I referred you. God Bless, Barbara Tuscany.

  5. Thanks for the effort in creating awareness for cancer prevention.

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