June 2016-Father’s Day and Cancer Survivorship Month

Uncle Jack

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June is a special month first because of Father’s Day…a day to honor the important role and connection that Dad’s have  in the lives of their children and also because it is Cancer Survivorship month!!

One of the people that I most admire in this area is my Uncle Jack…he was found to have a Coarctation of the Aorta when he was 19 years old…in 1958 he had open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital in Boston.  Those were the early years of Open Heart Surgery and my Uncle was one of the fortunate ones to have such a fantastic team of doctors and nurses and an amazing spirit of survival!!

It turned out that he was allergic to the anesthesia.  He became acutely ill at the start of the surgery but was stabilized and brought back to “ward for 24 hour observation”.  There were no ICU’s in those days…just lots of open wards.  The next day he went back to surgery, had a different anesthesia and came through the surgery successfully!!  He recovered and spent the next year recuperating at home with his mom and dad and our family, because my mom (his sister) and dad and I lived with them.  We then went through a transformation in my family where we started on the “Healthy Heart Lifestyle” because of the experience with my uncles medical condition.  It was the best thing for our family to learn to eat well and go outdoors and exercise each day!

My uncle though is the real hero because he was the one with the positive attitude and gratitude spirit.  He went on to get married and become a dad of his own and had 4 beautiful children.   He has been an amazing dad to his children, who are all now grown adults.

While my uncle did not have cancer, he was a true survivor.  There are many parallels between heart disease and cancer.  Those who have survived heart disease or cancer have so much wisdom to share with us all about the strategies to help with Survival….attitude, exercise, nutrition, and making each day count!!

If there is  one secret that I have found with many survivor’s of heart disease and cancer, it is that WHAT YOU EAT, HOW YOU EXERCISE and how you STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR PURPOSE are some of the keys to survivorship.  What has helped you to stay healthy and heal or prevent future cancers?

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