#239 What is Your Survivorship Plan?

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In this episode, we explore the concept of survivorship plans and their crucial role in achieving and maintaining optimal wellness.  

I’ll share some of my personal experiences and reflections, emphasizing the importance of implementing strategies and tactics to support physical and emotional health after overcoming trauma or illness. This episode highlights the significance of proactive measures and lifestyle changes, such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep, in promoting overall well-being and preventing future health issues. 

Episode Highlights: 

  1. The Need for a Survivorship Plan: 
  • Recognizing that traditional medical interventions, while important, may not be sufficient on their own, the episode emphasizes the value of a comprehensive survivorship plan to support long-term health and wellness. 
  1. Implementing Strategies for Optimal Wellness: 
  • Explore the importance of creating a plan and seeking support to develop strategies to overcome obstacles and implement healthy habits in your daily life. 
  1. The Power of Emotional Healing: 
  • This episode touches on the connection between emotional well-being and physical health, emphasizing the need to address and process past traumas. 

Listen now and discover the strategies and tactics that can empower you to lead a healthier, more fulfilling life that’s even better than before breast cancer. 

Referred to in this episode: 

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership 



Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer  00:00

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life, health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, hello, welcome to episode 239 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. I am thrilled to be here with you today. And I am so excited to discuss this topic for today's show. Before I do that, I just really quickly want to remind you that you can go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com. And you can find free resources on that website to support you wherever you are, in this experience of breast cancer in this process of breast cancer. One of my favorite free tools is how to eat without fear and guilt after breast cancer, you'll find that right on my homepage. And it's a very easy to follow guide that will help you move past what I see are some very common barriers with survivors. When they have had a breast cancer diagnosis, there's so much fear around food. And there's so much confusion around food anyway, right? We have all kinds of confusion around food before we ever hear anything about having breast cancer, people can't figure out how to eat just on a regular basis, we have so many diet labels, it's just wild out there. It's like the wild wild west. So I want to simplify that for you. Because in actuality, eating is not that hard. And it can be very simple. But we've got to get through some of the thoughts and limitations in our head in order to get to the beauty of just connecting to our food and feeling comfortable with the choices we make. And you'll find all that in my free downloadable guide How to Eat without fear and guilt after breast cancer. You can also go to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash eat and you can find it there. And this leads right into what I want to talk about in today's show. And that is having a survivorship plan. So what does that even mean? What is the survivorship plan? And what the heck does that have to do with what you're going to eat? Well, it has a lot to do with it because as I've talked about before, so many times on this show. It's really not about what the right thing to eat is right? What regardless of how many diets are out there, and how many diet labels are out there. We know that there are some foundational principles to healthy eating and to healthy lifestyle, right. eat whole foods, cut out processed foods, cut out all of the sugar added or stay away from sugar, white flour, processed foods, basically eat whole foods, mostly plants, right? lean proteins, healthy fats. So this idea of a healthy diet crosses the boundaries of every single one of the diet plans out there. If you're a vegan, what do you do you eat whole foods hopefully. Sadly, I know a lot of vegans who don't eat whole foods and they find their sustenance in french fries and breads and a lot of processed foods so you can be a very unhealthy vegan to veganism has this health halo that oftentimes isn't earned. I truly know several vegans who don't even eat vegetables. Okay, so it's not always the epitome of health. Vegetarianism. What is that diet supposed to be Whole Foods? Mostly plants add in a little bit of eggs and milk and cheese right dairy products. pescatarian. What is that mostly plants add in fish. What is paleo? Mostly plants, healthy lean proteins eliminate the greens and the sugar in the dairy. What is a ketogenic diet? Mostly plants with healthy fats. And if it's clean, then without dairy, but oftentimes grass fed organic dairy people do incorporate into a ketogenic ketogenic diet, healthy fats, lean proteins, right all about Whole Foods. So it doesn't have to be that confusing. And still, it's extremely difficult for people. Why? Because we're just thinking at a different level when it comes to approaching food. We're thinking that it's got to be a certain way. It's got to fit into a certain niche and it really doesn't. But the bigger problem is it's not part of an overall strategy. There is no understanding of why Do I want to adopt this? What does this mean to me? How does it fit into my life, we don't have a plan to support our survivorship. Now, as I study more and more in all of these amazing metabolic pathways to support our health, and support our healing, and support our ability to just feel really good, to have energy to not have digestive distress, to get good sleep, to release negative emotions to embrace joy in life, there are so many wonderful tools available to us. But what happens oftentimes, is we get a breast cancer diagnosis. And then we get finished with treatment. And then we just want to get back to living, right, we want to be as normal as possible, we want to go out for pizza and beer. And we don't ever have someone who sits down and works with us and says, Okay, here's a survivorship plan. We think we have to live with the things that come from breast cancer treatment, like joint pain, and fatigue, and whatever else dry skin and all of the really severe side effects of menopause. And we don't realize that our metabolism and our body is saying to us, hey, I need overall support. Like we can look at the bigger picture and realize, oh, something's wrong with my metabolism. And I think that idea comes from, you know, our, the way that medicine is practiced in the United States, which is the only experience I have is in the United States today, that it's a symptom relief type of thing. So even when we're going through menopause, we're looking for symptomatic relief, how do I relieve hot flashes? How do I relieve night sweats? How do I relieve joint pain, and we fail to stop and look at, oh, something's gone wrong in my body, something metabolically isn't working well. And as a result of that, I'm experiencing all of these really uncomfortable side effects from chemotherapy that can also be like nerve damage, nerve pains in the hands and feet and end in the legs. I know, after I finished my IV chemotherapy, I had an incredible amount of pain and nerve damage, which was repaired through acupuncture and through different herbal remedies. So there are different things available to us. But most of the time, we don't know that. Right. And it isn't really the job of our oncologist to inform us of that, because it's not the field that an oncologist is trained in. They're trained in medications that hopefully destroy cancer and keep you alive. So when it comes to this idea of a survivorship plan, what that means is how do you move forward now in your life, supporting yourself in the best way possible? What are the resources available to you? What are the experts that are out there that can shorten your learning curve and actually give you a plan, but then help you work through your thoughts about that plan? Because just like I just talked about food, we all know this thing about food. So why don't we all eat that way? Because of all of our thoughts about other things? I think it was a couple of weeks ago, and I did a podcast on wanting to be the good girl, right? So you may know that there are certain foods that you want to eat, but you don't want people to think certain things of you. So you'll eat bad foods, and you will suffer at your own expense in order for someone to think that you're not high maintenance. I mean, we have so many thoughts. So one, we don't really understand the complimentary and supportive therapies that are available to us. And two, we have a lot of thoughts about them. Like is it okay to do and you know, if my oncologist says one thing and someone else says another thing? How do you make sense out of it. And we really want to have a cohesive team of knowledgeable people and knowledgeable resources for us to turn to, to support ourselves. Because here's the thing. This is what really gets me thinking about the survivorship plan is what I see most commonly and what I experienced myself for a long time, was not that we come out of breast cancer treatment and say, Okay, now it's time for me to step in and take charge of how I'm going to support my body so that I can feel good, so I can have energy, and so that I can feel confident knowing that I'm doing all the things I can and I'm doing the testing and I'm getting the data and I'm seeing the information that tells me I'm on the right track to supporting my health. We don't do that. What we do is say now I live in fear of recurrence.


Laura Lummer  09:58

And that is probably the most common thing I hear. And I truly believe 100% that the fear of recurrence gets duller and duller and duller. The more you step into your power to manage your survivorship plan, when I speak to someone, which I do often about the fear that they're living with, and trying to process around skin xiety, around potentially having a recurrence, and they're just forward forecasting into their lives about what they might have to endure and what might be happening to them. And I'll as tell me what you're doing. Tell me what you're doing to support yourself, and to lower your risk of having that recurrence. And oftentimes, I'll hear things like my No, I should exercise and I know I should cut out sugar. And I know I should make better choices with food. But that's not what's happening. And so when we're talking about having a survivorship plan, it isn't just knowing the right things to do. But it is having an actual strategy. How will I implement these things into life? How will I process the trauma that you've just gone through with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment? How will you integrate back into the life you choose to create after that treatment is over. And then how will you take the steps and manage all the energy that it takes to also support yourself in having a survivorship plan, which means the healthiest possible lifestyle probably healthier than you've ever had before, even if you were an avid exerciser, and a great eater before and you had a great unhealthy diet, I'm willing to bet that there are some suppressed emotions, that there may be things in life you were holding back your voice on. And these things also that need to have support. And that needs to have guidance. So that we can look at the subtle pieces of what contribute to our risk of recurrence, increased stress, and negative emotions. And we can look at the tangible pieces of diet, exercise asleep, elimination habits, and what's actually going on in our body at any given time. So when I talk about a survivorship plan, I think that the importance of it, it just cannot be understated, that it's literally the most important thing we can do after breast cancer, in addition to you know, following and having a discussion and following the advice of our oncologist and doing your own research and advocacy for yourself. But this is a part of that advocacy, right? Understanding what things support a healthy metabolism, a healthy microbiome. And then understanding how to have a strategy to implement these things into your life is critical. So stop and think about it for a second, when you hear me discussing this. What thoughts come to your mind, when you think about how Yeah, I know I should be eating those things. But I just don't do it. Or I know I should be exercising more, but I'm just not doing it. Do you think that whatever is holding you back now is just the way that it's supposed to be? Or do you think it sounds overwhelming, or I don't know where to start, or I'm not sure what is safe. And this is why it's important to approach the survivorship plan from a level of first creating a strategy and a system of support so that you can implement those things. And here's another thing that I often hear from women. And I think that this when I think about a survivorship plan is so important because the way that we approach health today, the way that we approach disease today is really from a wait and see kind of mentality, wait and see. And when you're sick, then we try to get you better. But we put off this let me stay well, let's have preventative medicine like mammograms are awesome. But by the time a mammogram sees cancer, you already have cancer. So what can we do before we are 40 years old and we start doing mammograms? What can we do and we're 23 years old and already experiencing joint pain are too tired to get up and go do things on the weekends. Right not have the energy level that a young person should have something that I hear a lot about recently, and I even have a few young people in my family that struggle with this are essential tremors. This is some buddy's body saying something's not right here. Right? A body shouldn't just have tremors, it's not okay. So we need to be able to look at what is happening in our bodies and the bodies of our loved ones and come together to support that survivorship plan. And what I mean by that is a lot of times survivors will tell me why I want to do these things, but my family He likes to eat these things. I want to do these things. But then I have junk food in the house, and then I eat it. But I have it there because my kids want it. And we've got to really reframe that and start thinking of it a little differently in that, wow, what I'm teaching my children to eat now is a part of their survivorship plan, whatever loved ones are in the house with you, they too, can have this wonderful plan that not only supports you in having the healthiest body possible, having the healthiest train possible, but also learn more about themselves. Because otherwise, we're just saying, well, you're young, you can handle it right? Well, you don't have any indication that something's wrong now. So you can keep eating preservatives, you can keep eating sugar, you can keep over drinking, you can keep overeating, you can still be overweight, until something goes wrong. So a survivorship plan is so important to understand the strategies how do I implement these things? How do I overcome some things that I perceive as obstacles in my life, maybe financial obstacles, support obstacles, family members in the House, and how to take these tactics of food, exercise, sleep programs, like, you know, thinking about going to bed at eight or nine o'clock, my husband and I we go to bed early we are pretty much always in bed by nine o'clock, he gets up at an ungodly hour, he's probably up at 430 Every day, I get up around 536 o'clock. And, uh, used to think that was really boring, right? I used to think, Oh, my God, this is crazy. Why are we going to bed so early. But then I started to realize how important this is, like going to bed early and getting enough sleep is literally a cornerstone in supporting your overall wellness. And then what's the benefit of staying up late? What's the benefit of being a so called Night Owl? Watching more TV? I mean, are we really doing anything after 10 o'clock at night that's benefiting our wellness in some way. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say know that everybody I know who stays up late is watching something that you will we've got electronics and blue light going into our face and into our eyes when our mind is supposed to be tuning down and getting ready for rest and restoration. And our bodies are getting ready for cleansing most of the time. Are we allowing our body to have that space between the last thing we ate and cleansing and detoxing through the night? No, we're having snacks. We're eating something later than normal, which then we go to bed and they have indigestion and heartburn and issues and then wake up even more hungry because more than likely at some kind of carbohydrate close to bedtime. And that's going to cause your body to work hard and to digest while you're sleeping. And you're going to wake up hungry. So how important is it for you to stay up late at night? Something to consider? Like how do you start rolling back that clock a little go to bed 15 minutes earlier here 15 minutes earlier there until you have implemented a healthy plan of good sleep hygiene that really supports your ability to be well. So I want to share a little personal story. This is really what got me started on this. Well, there's been several things that have gotten me started on this tangent of survivorship plans and thinking about supporting ourselves in our wellness. One of them is of course the work I do with the metabolic approach to cancer. And when I see this, just powerful change, amazing things that can happen with just small tweaks to your life and think about, you know, being in this place where you have cancer, you're trying to dig yourself out of a hole versus a place where you don't have cancer. And you can embrace these lifestyle changes and work through the difficulty. Like even now as I work to manage stage four metastatic breast cancer. There are times where lots of thoughts come up that pull me right that's kind of like gravitate me and pull me back to giving into an urge or an old habit that I know doesn't support me when I see that when I stick to the plan. Metabolic markers are changing faster than I ever really knew that they could. Right so this makes me think about it. And it makes me think gosh, I just want everyone to be able to see and to be able to embrace and be able to dig deep into this understanding how to support their metabolism and implementing these strategies in their lives. So they never have to find themselves back in that position of having a recurrence and I say that it's not 100% guarantee, but so that you feel very empowered, and live with a whole hell of a lot less fear knowing that you're in the driver's seat of your metabolism. That's such a great place to be. And the second thing that makes me think about this is, when I'm recording this, it's actually April 11. It's my dad's night, it would be my dad's birthday. My dad died in June of 2012. He was 73 years old, he died of comorbidities of type two diabetes. And, you know, my dad, he was the epitome of health. To me growing up, he was a deputy sheriff, he practice karate, he lifted weights, he was super strong, it was just one of those people who had a lot of natural muscle. And I just always admired that. And my dad kind of gave up, you know, when he, when we lost my brother, I think it was just such an emotionally devastating thing for him. He couldn't recover. He just could not recover. And he couldn't recover because he wasn't willing to deal with the emotional aspect of the trauma that he had been through. And those deeply painful emotions showed up in my dad physically, right, he didn't take care of himself physically, because what happens when we're in an emotional pain, we're in emotional, dark place. We don't support our bodies in the best way possible, when we've had trauma, and we shut ourselves down to trauma, and we don't have a plan for how to treat that and how to process pain, we kind of turn against ourselves with the things we put in our body and the things that we do to our body. And I can recall, as my dad got heavier and heavier, and the diabetes got worse, and he had a heart attack. And you just saw him deteriorating, literally just killing himself with food. He would buy all of this equipment, like every infomercial piece of equipment, there was a room in my mom and dad's house, and he had AB rollers and weight benches, and he'd buy all these quick fix, you know, roll out chest press things I don't know, he had all this wild, different equipment that he pick up on infomercials or QVC, or seeing a catalog. And to me that said, like, he wanted to feel better, he wanted to be stronger. And this takes us back to this tactical approach to wellness, I should eat better, I should exercise more. But he had no plan. He had no strategy, he didn't know how to move past the thoughts that kept him stuck. He didn't know how to move past the thoughts and get the support that he needed to implement the tactics that he knew would help him to be healthy. And as a result of that, he was one of the youngest people in his lineage on his side of the family to pass, my grandparents and all of their siblings were well into their 90s. And my dad lost decades of his life as a result of trauma, and not processing and not having that strategy and not turning to a support system, to get what he needed to work through those negative emotions, those painful traumatic emotions, increase the joy in his life and allow himself to love himself again. And I see that just too, too much. I see it too much in survivors, we've come through so much at the trauma of what we've been through, and then the self judgement about what happened even before we went through breast cancer because we often have many ideas about what our life was what we put up with what we did in life before breast cancer, but then we don't know what to do with it after the fact. So when I talk about the importance of a survivorship plan, my friends, I cannot emphasize enough that when we come out of treatment, and we have no evidence of active disease, it is critical. To find someone to support you find some thing to support you, or know for yourself to start doing the education and the investigation to understand how to have a strategy to implement the healthy lifestyle and healing factors that will support your metabolism and your body's ability to perform at its optimal level, to have energy to be engaged, to have endurance, to have joy in your heart, and to enjoy living a healthy lifestyle of good food and exercise. And these are a must these things have to be a part of our life. So I just wanted to put that bug in your ear because today as I think about the sadness, the loss that we all suffered as a result of someone who just didn't have the plan to move forward in life after a traumatic event, I think of all of us and the trauma that we've been through, and how difficult it is. And that sometimes we get lost in the weeds with the idea that all we have to do is this thing and eat that thing. And, and then we just don't know how to do it. So I wanted to give you this thought to play with and to think about and to explore for yourself and ask, what is your strategy? What is your plan for yourself? How will you support that plan for yourself? And how will you implement it in your life? Because just saying, Well, I'm going to eat better and exercise more. It's not a plan, and it doesn't work. Right. So ask yourself, gosh, what's my survivorship plan? How do I want to feel in a year in three years in five years? And what's my plan to get there? And what's the supports helped me keep on that plant because it will require a lot of change and a lot of energy. So I encourage you to give that some thought. If you have questions or comments on it, kind of find me on Facebook as Laura Lummer on Instagram, DM me, you'll find me as the breast cancer recovery coach, or join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group and ask your questions there or even better yet come to work with me join the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, where we dig into all of this stuff, all of these thoughts, and all of this strategy and the tactics to be able to support yourself to live the healthiest emotional and physical life that you possibly can. All right, my friend. Take care and I will talk to you again next week.

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