Ask Goldie - September 2007

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

Three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Normally, I am a 66-year-old widow running my own life independently. Suddenly, with surgery and heaven knows what else looming ahead, my world is falling apart.

I have a son, daughter, and grandchildren, all very caring, but I am fiercely independent and want my own space to deal with all this. I love my family but they are hovering. How can I make them understand without hurting them? R.Y.

Dear R.Y.:

I am sorry to hear about your illness. While I understand your need to maintain your independence, there are times when it is acceptable and necessary to lean on others. This is one of those times. You are so fortunate to have a family who is offering love and support - the greatest gifts on earth.

It is extremely important you acquire all the information you can about your illness and the impending treatment. Cancer is constantly being researched and the rate of success is improving. Contact the Canadian Cancer Society and talk to people who have been through the experience you are facing. Knowledge helps to erase fear of the future.

Incorporate the help of your loving family. You do need them; try not to let your independence be a wall around you as you face the surgery and treatment ahead. Love is as essential as medicine for your return to good health.

Best wishes for a full recovery.

Dear Goldie:

For some reason, I can't exercise continuously. I start out with great intentions but, in a few days, I lose all ambition and stop. I am about 30 pounds overweight, so need to do this for better health.

What advice do you have for a lazy person? O.N.

Dear O.N.:

Perhaps you're not lazy. Perhaps you don't enjoy the exercise programs you've tried. There are many ways to get active and shed unwanted weight. If you choose an activity you consider fun, you're more likely to stick with it.

Evaluate what you've done so far. Do you love it? If not, it's time to try something new.

Begin the process with a visit to your doctor to be sure your health is satisfactory. Then set about acquiring knowledge about various exercise plans and weight-reducing diets. Seniors' centres, community centres and the YMCA/YWCA offer a number of different activities to get your heart rate up. In addition to these activities, offered a few times a week, you can walk every day. Make a commitment to yourself to make walking part of your daily life. Figure out what time works best for you and go, rain or shine. Invite a friend, borrow a manageable dog if you don't have one, or go alone. Walking is not only good for your body, by reconnecting with nature; it's good for your mind and soul.

Start out small and increase your efforts as you get stronger.

To be sure you're getting sufficient nutrition for your needs, visit a dietitian, who can assist you in planning your diet.

Don't underestimate your intentions. Adequate diet and daily exercise can only improve your health and daily life. You need to be congratulated for making the difference.

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