Editor’s Note: The Women Survivors Alliance is thrilled to announce that Shannon Miller will be back for the 2014 convention in a really exciting way, so be sure to stay tuned!
What an incredible experience to have been the Honorary Chairperson for the nation’s first ever National Women’s Survivors Convention in August 2014! The event was a huge success and I’ve enjoyed staying in touch with many of the survivors.
The Women Survivors Alliance continues to transform survivorship from a mood to a movement by empowering, educating and connecting women whose lives have been touched by cancer.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of cancer. It might be time for my next blood test. Maybe I brush my hair and simply appreciate the fact that I now have hair. I might be speaking to a group of folks affected by cancer or reaching out to an individual who is just beginning their journey.
One thing I know for sure is that I am so incredibly thankful for my sister survivors, those who have continued to help me through the process and have shown me how I can reach out to others. One of the ways I enjoy reaching out is helping women focus on the things they CAN control.
Fitness and nutrition are certainly an important part of a healthy lifestyle; however, it’s even more important during cancer treatment. While going through chemotherapy I found that diet and exercise were things I could control…to some degree. I had to stay focused on getting enough protein and calories, staying hydrated even while dealing with incredible nausea.
When I talk to women about fitness during chemo, I remind them of the importance of moving. There are so many different treatment regimens and not everyone is going to keep up the same pace. I was an Olympian used to training 6-7 hours a day and all of the sudden a 5 or 10 minute walk was a really good day. And that was okay. Because that walk or 10 minutes of yoga was empowering. It gave me strength physically and emotionally. It helped fight back against the fatigue and depression that typically come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Each survivor is at a different place in their journey, but most will, at some point, want to reach out and help others. By helping someone else you are also helping yourself heal. I’ve just partnered with “shubeez” and launched a campaign called “Lace Up to Beat Cancer.” It’s a great way to help raise funds and awareness with the ultimate goal to … BEAT CANCER! Every time I lace up my shoes to go for a walk I see the words BEAT CANCER and I know that by walking for myself, walking at fundraisers or simply wearing my “shubeez” shoe tag or Heads Up Headband I am fighting back. And that feels really good. I’m excited about the survivor network because I know what a powerful force for good that it can be. I can’t wait to see everyone again next year!