Healing With Words: A Boomer Writer's Journey

A short time ago, the food media celebrity Sandra Lee shared that at the age of 48, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both she, born in 1954, and I are smack in the middle of the booming age. So she joins me and others, such as Martina Navratilova and Wanda Stykes, as women afflicted with DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ), a relatively common form of early breast cancer. Since my own diagnosis in 2001, my life has never been the same. The first thing my oncologist told me after the diagnosis was, “If this does not rivet you, nothing will.” He was so right. Some women opt for the double mastectomy, but I opted to keep my healthy breast. I was also warned that because my DCIS was so widespread in the one breast, a lumpectomy would leave me severely deformed, so I chose to have a mastectomy. Having a double mastectomy meant that I would never again feel any nipple sensation and as a sexually-active boomer, I did not want to forego that pleasure, so I opted to leave my healthy breast intact. I viewed my diagnosis as a wake-up call to take care of myself physically, psychologically, and emotionally. I advocate self-breast exams and maintaining healthy physical and emotional health is vitally important in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to breast cancer. Some suggestions: maintain a healthy body weight avoid cigarettes and recreational drugs avoid processed foods avoid unrefined sugars minimize alcohol intake eat a plant-based diet of cruciferous vegetables be aware of your genetic history minimize stress remain active meditate and/or do yoga be educated about your health do daily journaling Diana Raab, Ph.D. is a transpersonal psychologist and she is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, and BrainSpeak.
Diana Raab, Ph.D.
Santa Barbara, CA